Career Development Center, Trinity Alumni Help Students Prepare for Life After College

Nearly 90 Seniors Return Early from Winter Break to Participate in ‘Bantams and Beyond’

From left: Gerald Antoine '11, Sarah DiCorpo '16, and Kevin Finefrock of the Career Development Center

Hartford, Connecticut, January 26, 2016 – The Trinity College seniors attending a Friday afternoon session on workplace communication weren’t surprised to find that one of the co-leaders was a Trinity alumnus. Several Trinity graduates came back to campus to be part of Trinity’s first “Bantams and Beyond” program presented by the College’s Career Development Center (CDC). Gerald Antoine ’11, a pricing team manager at Hartford-based insurance giant Travelers, immediately put the students at ease with his congenial manner as he recalled being in their shoes at Trinity a mere five years ago.

But the 16 seniors gathered in Mather Hall’s Wean Terrace Room did not anticipate that Antoine would kick off the session by introducing one of their own classmates, Sarah DiCorpo ’16, as a newly hired Travelers employee.

DiCorpo, who admitted to a vested interest in hearing workplace communication tips from Antoine and his colleague, Ryan Jaswell, will begin her Travelers position shortly after graduation. A mathematics major from Middlebury, Conn., DiCorpo will join Travelers’ Product Pricing Development Program that Antoine and Jaswell help manage. The gist of her role, DiCorpo said, “will be working on the math behind determining how much insurance should cost.”

The January 22 session was among more than a dozen optional workshops for seniors that the CDC offered on the last Thursday and Friday of winter break. Altogether, 89 seniors returned to campus a few days before the official start of spring semester to participate.

Once the students in the workplace communication session had all introduced themselves, Antoine and Jaswell began a discussion about ways that a professional workplace differs from life on a residential campus and several “dos and don’ts” to keep in mind. The “dos” included learning from mistakes. As Jaswell put it, “It’s okay to make mistakes, but my policy is once I make one, I never make that particular mistake again.” Among the “don’ts” was texting on a smartphone during a group business meeting. “That’s not a great way to demonstrate respect for the executive leading the meeting,” said Antoine, pointing out that “in any sort of office environment, there are simple things that could derail a career.”

The group talked about the importance of building one’s personal “brand” and played an interactive, Family Feud-style game, “8 Ways to Tarnish Your Personal Brand,” with students raising their hands to guess the workplace faux pas to be avoided. Among the positive habits that were identified to help avoid missteps were punctuality, showing respect for everyone in the office, and thinking before speaking.

Trinity seniors attend a talk in the
Washington Room by Chris Ayala '00

 Other breakout sessions were offered on topics such as writing strong résumés and cover letters, preparing for interviews, connecting with alumni through LinkedIn and MyTrinNet, planning for graduate school, personal finance, creating one’s own brand, etiquette, negotiation skills, entrepreneurship, and pathways for international students.

Alumni participating as workshop leaders included Jeff Devereux ’12, entrepreneur and director at The Brothers Crisp; Bret Boudreaux ’04, CDC assistant director, alumni career development; and Melissa Bronzino Regan ’87, associate director of alumni relations at Trinity. The program also featured full-group presentations by tech entrepreneur Chris Ayala ’00, CEO of Vertisense, a Techstars company; Jacquelyn Santiago ’00, chief operating officer of COMPASS Youth Collaborative in Hartford; and Lisa Iannone ’86, vice president and senior partner of executive search firm Hobson Associates.

Visit the CDC website to learn about upcoming career development programs.

Written by Kathy Andrews.