Hartford, Connecticut, February 4, 2017 – The Career Development Center at Trinity College hosted the second year of its “Bantams and Beyond” program for members of the senior class just before the start of the spring semester. More than 100 Trinity seniors participated in workshops covering topics such as personal finance, networking, and salary negotiation. The sessions on January 19 and 20 were run by Trinity staff members, alumni, and parents.
Featured guest speakers were Jay Acunzo ’08, vice president of platform at NextView Ventures in Boston; Adwoa Dadzie ’04, vice president of human resources at Comcast; Cathleen Graham P’17, P’19, executive vice president for people & engagement at Ruder Finn; and Nancy Davis ’79, senior vice president and chief information officer at United Technologies. Each speaker shared insights into his or her professional success and gave practical advice to the future graduates.
The introductory speaker, Acunzo, started the program off with a jolt of energy, exclaiming, “If you want to be exceptional, then you must be an exception.” The former Google employee structured his presentation on what advice he would have given to his younger self and noted that it is harder than ever to be exceptional because it has never been so easy to be average. “If you don’t know how to do something, you can easily Google it,” he said. In contrast, it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd, and Acunzo urged the audience members to push outside of their comfort zones to do so.
Acunzo’s advice was mirrored by Dadzie in her workshop, “Horrible Bosses & Coworkers: Workplace Communication.” When asked about a skill she did not have when she graduated but now realizes was crucial, she said, “I was too busy following the vision others had of me rather than forging my own way and trusting myself.”
Trinity parent “Cat” Graham explained in her “Networking” workshop that being self-aware and confident, not cocky, in your intelligence is the key to making a good impression as you transition from college into the job search. In a post-workshop interview, she said that emotional intelligence was a skill that she had not cultivated in her college days and she would suggest that Trinity students take the time to improve that critical – but frequently overlooked – skill.
The program’s final event, attended by students, faculty, staff, and alumni, featured dinner at the Pond House Cafe in West Hartford. During the cocktail hour, attendees mingled and networked before Nancy Davis ’79 wrapped up the event by challenging the future graduates to take risks and to accept failure, which can often turn out to be a wonderful learning opportunity. Reflecting upon the technological changes that she had encountered during her career, she endorsed the value of being flexible and adapting to new technology as the world changes.
Key ways to achieve success, according to the presenters, include developing self-awareness, improving emotional intelligence, and cultivating the confidence to find the path that will bring happiness. As Acunzo put it, “The journey is not about the destination; it’s about finding joy in the journey.”
Written by Marina Pappas ’19