Students and alumni to get career savvy at conference

The beginning of a year is when many people make resolutions and set new goals such as hitting the gym more often, losing weight or paying off debt. For recent alumni still getting their feet wet in the job market and students about to graduate, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on what shape their career path is taking and how best to land their dream job.

“A new year is an excellent time to make decisions, especially career decisions,” says Shirley Gossack, special projects manager of student engagement in the Centre for Student Success, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. “A lot of students and alumni tell me that it is a time when they really put their professional goals and choices – present and future – under a microscope.”

Gossack and her colleagues in the centre have developed a networking and career event for high-achieving soon-to-be graduates and recent alumni that will be held on Thursday, Feb. 25, from 5:30 to 9:30pm in Atkinson Building. The goal of the event is to provide invitees with the space to ask critical questions about their career paths. “We want to empower participants and to provide students and alumni with the tools and strategies needed to brand themselves effectively and to make informed career decisions,” says Stan Taman, executive director of the centre.

The first-ever Alumni Connections Conference will offer a series of workshops on topics ranging from how to find a job to adapting to change in the workplace; inspiring career stories; and the chance for attendees to hone their networking skills over a dinner and a “mocktail” session that will connect them to successful alumni and industry professionals.

Philosophy graduate David Peck (BA Spec. Hons. ’03), executive director and founder of SoChange, will present a keynote speech on taking what you love and turning it into a career. Peck’s new organization envisions a world where poverty is eliminated, human rights are respected and there is unlimited opportunity for those in need. He has been brokering relationships with charitable organizations, community leaders and individual donors to help make that world possible.

Left: David Peck

For those budding entrepreneurs, Sarah Prevette is a speaker not to miss. She is founder of Sprouter, an online collaboration tool that facilitates networking between startup businesses and leaders in industry. Prevette will discuss the common pitfalls of early startups and offer tips and tools that can help to foster success.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from networking and career guru Tim Cork (BA ’81) through a special plenary session. Cork is an active York alumnus and president of NEXCareer, an international provider of career transition and coaching services. He is also the author of Tapping the Iceberg, which promotes the hilosophy of attitude, aptitude and action.

Right: Sarah Prevette

And what better time to get some financial savvy? Gerardo Cappelli, a senior investment adviser and financial planner for Wellington West Capital Inc., will facilitate a workshop on how to manage and reduce debt, invest to reach goals and save long-term in preparation for retirement.

“We’re very excited about our speaker lineup,” says Professor Marilyn Lambert-Drache, associate dean students in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. “Staff in the centre have really worked hard to make this evening as relevant and meaningful as possible. Interactive and informative, the evening will in no doubt be a wonderful opportunity for graduating students and recent alumni to gain the confidence they need to succeed in the workplace and in their careers.”

The conference has been made possible thanks to the generosity and support of York Alumni & Advancement Services.

For more information, e-mail Diane Stadnicki, key organizer and special events coordinator in the Centre for Student Success, at