Developing a Diverse and Talented Professional Workforce

Through the Mentor Network program, the RBC connects over 145 business and engineering students with RBC executives each academic year. The Mentor Network program pairs students from universities in the region with executives who share career experiences, practical knowledge and insight into opportunities in our Louis region.

 We had the opportunity to sit down with Alexandria McCuien, who has participated as a mentee in the Mentor Network program.

  •  How did you learn about Mentor Network program?

I learned about the program from our Director of Operations of the Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, Caprice Moore, at Webster University during my sophomore year of undergrad. Caprice felt I would be a good match for the program and encouraged me to apply.

  •  Did the Mentor Network program provide you with impactful insight into the St. Louis business community?

Yes, it did. The Mentor Network program allowed me to see how large the St. Louis business community really is and has helped shape me into the professional I’ve become.

  • Can you share an important piece of advice from your mentor?

One of my mentors encouraged me to continue to be myself, work hard no matter what, and give back to my community. He said everything else will come together if I remember those three things.

  • What piece of advice would you provide to upcoming or recent graduates?

I would tell upcoming and recent graduates the three pieces of advice my mentor gave me (see above). Also, networking and branding are very important.

  •  Why would you suggest others partake in the Mentor Network program?

I met individuals who assisted in the development of my professional network, my professional support system and individuals who offered professional guidance.The Mentor Network program is a great opportunity that students should definitely partake in.

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Join St. Louis Area Professionals to Help Fight Local Hunger

T.C SlaterThe St. Louis Area Foodbank is hosting Friends of the Foodbank, a Networking Happy Hour, on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 from 5:00-8:30 p.m.

We had the opportunity to discuss Friends of the Foodbank with YPN member T.C. Slater and learn about his involvement with the organization.

  • What is Friends of the Foodbank?

Friends of the Foodbank is an organization that provides a great way to volunteer your time in small increments to a very worthy cause – hunger relief.  This group partners with the St. Louis Area Foodbank staff to help distribute hunger awareness information at fun events, including networking gatherings, concerts and happy hours.

  • How do the Friends of the Foodbank assist local families?

Hunger can be addressed. We can make a difference. The organization helps spread the word locally, encouraging individuals to become more involved in the cause. Each “Friend” brings something different to the table. Engaging them in the conversation raises awareness which is the critical first step. Many of the “Friends” events have a small fundraising element.  One simple factoid to remember: The St. Louis Area Foodbank can provide four meals for a local family with each dollar donated.

  • What is a surprising fact that local residents don’t realize about the St. Louis Foodbank?

When you say “St. Louis Area Foodbank,” people might visualize a small food pantry or soup kitchen.  Residents don’t always understand the size of the organization and the volume of food distributed. We try to schedule events at the Foodbank, whenever possible, to provide an opportunity to see just how massive the issue of hunger is in our community and what we are doing to address it. The Foodbank distributes food and personal care items to more than 500 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other nonprofit programs in 26 area counties (14 in Missouri and 12 in Illinois). Last year alone, the Foodbank distributed 35 million pounds of food.

  • How can YPN members get involved?

We’d love to see everyone at our first networking happy hour and encourage YPN members to sign up for the Friends of the Foodbank email list. This will keep you up to date on events and ways to raise awareness in our community.  http://www.stlfoodbank.org/friends

  • Do you have anything more you would like to share with YPN members?

Each week, more than 57,000 people count on the Foodbank for assistance. Kids make up the largest percentage of those in need (nearly 40 percent).  With the school year coming to an end, many children who were receiving free or reduced breakfast/lunch options will have to find those meals elsewhere or simply go without. This is a great time to become involved with Friends of the Foodbank!

Click here for more information or to register for tonight’s event

Advice for Upcoming and Recent Graduates

Through the Mentor Network program, the RBC connects over 145 business and engineering students with RBC executives each academic year. The Mentor Network program pairs students from universities in the region with executives who share career experiences, practical knowledge and insight into opportunities in our Louis region.

We had the opportunity to sit down with YPN Leadership 100 member Sameer Andi, who has participated as a mentor in the Mentor Network program.

His advice for upcoming and recent graduates:

  • Is social media an important tool for professional growth? How does your social media image affect career opportunities?

Yes, social media has an impact! Whether or not we like it, what we do, how we interact and how we come across is out there for everybody to see and analyze. Perception is key; our online presence makes it easy for potential partners and employers to scrutinize us.

  • Would you suggest seeking professional help to draft a resume?

Everybody should either use some sort of self-help guide or seek advice and feedback on resumes from people who work in the same area of interest. If seeking professional help is a viable option financially, then go for it.

  • When interviewing, what is one attribute that sets a recent graduate apart from other candidates?

As a recent graduate, I can see that many students have similar backgrounds and education, so evaluating a student only on that basis becomes difficult. I look for passion and a “fire in the belly” to prove that you have what it takes to deliver and be successful.

  • What are common interviewing or networking mistakes?

Interviewing is like taking a test; you should be prepared for it. Do your homework about the company and weave the company background into your interview. Remember, the interview is as much about the employer determining if you are a fit, as you are deciding if the company is a fit for you! Asking relevant questions of the interviewer is critically important.

  • When preparing for an interview, how important is proper company research? What can happen if a candidate doesn’t do the research?

I give high points to any candidate who has researched the company and brings up relevant research points in the interview. This indicates that the candidate is serious about the job and is willing to go the extra mile to learn more about the company.

  • How should an interviewee follow up after an interview?

Always send an email either directly to the interviewer or the recruiter thanking them for their time and consideration. If you feel the job is of interest to you, then follow up in a sentence or two about how you can add value to the position and how it fits your goals.

  • Is networking important to upcoming and recent graduates?

Huge! There is no substitute for networking. Your ability to network will not only help you in your initial years, but will stand you in good stead for the future.

  • Is there anything more you would like to share with upcoming and recent graduates?

Believe in yourself. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get an offer from each place where you interview. Employers decide on a candidate based not only credentials and capabilities, but also on cultural fit with the organization. Make use of all resources that are available to you in your job search – networking, social media and personal contacts. Seek a mentor who will guide you. Students who are part of the RBC have already shown the initiative and intent to be more than just graduates.

Career Advice for Upcoming and Recent Graduates

Through the Mentor Network program, the RBC connects over 125 business and engineering students with RBC executives each academic year. The Mentor Network program pairs students from regional universities with executives who share career experiences, practical knowledge, and insight into opportunities that exist in the St. Louis region.

We had the opportunity to sit down with YPN member Lori Eaton, who has participated in the Mentor Network program, and discuss her advice for upcoming and recent graduates.

  • Is social media an important tool for professional growth? How does a clean social media image aid in networking and career opportunities?

Social media plays a very important role in networking.  Your social media sites need to project the image you want others to see, as many employers review social media sites of potential applicants before making a hiring decision.

  • Would you suggest seeking professional help to draft a resume?

 Yes, I would encourage working with the college career center, an employment agency and/or anyone who is already in the field you are looking to enter.  They can help critique your resume, offer buzz words or suggestions to make your resume stand out, or suggest additional information to include.

  • When interviewing, what is one attribute that sets a recent graduate apart from other candidates?

For me, the most important attributes are passion, drive and motivation. I can train on many things but these characteristics are things I can’t control.

  •  What are common interviewing or networking mistakes?

 It’s important to remember that networking involves two people with different interests. I suggest always asking how you could possibly help that person now or in the future.

  • When preparing for an interview, how important is proper company research? What can happen if a candidate doesn’t do the research?

 I am a true believer that preparation is often the key to success.  Take the time to educate yourself about the company, the role you are interviewing for and the background of the interviewer.  It is important to show the interviewer how invested you are in the process and that you are motivated and interested in the role.   By taking time to learn about the interviewer you might be able to find some common interests, which could help ease the conversation flow throughout the interview process.  If you are not prepared, the interviewer will notice and will likely disregard you as a viable candidate.

  • How should an interviewee follow up after an interview?

A personal thank-you note (preferably handwritten) can help you stand out from the competition.   This is also a great technique to sell yourself on anything you missed out on during the interview, or a chance to recover from a stumble. You’d be surprised how many people don’t send a thank-you note.  This could truly make the difference between getting the offer and coming in second place.  Remember to thank the interviewer for his/her time, but also mention again sell why you are a good fit for the position and what you would bring to the role.  I would follow up with the person you interviewed with, but be prepared that you might be referred back to HR.

  • Is networking important to upcoming and recent graduates?

Employers receive loads of resumes and applications; your best chance of securing a position is through a personal relationship or a referral.

  • Is there anything more you would like to share with upcoming and recent graduates?

 Remember that you control where your future takes you and it’s your responsibility to invest in yourself.  As you look to progress in your future, make sure you are taking the initiative to be more and to learn more.

Local Transformation

Photo provided by: www.flancecenter.org

Photo provided by: http://www.flancecenter.org

The evening of Tuesday, May 6, 2014, members of the YPN Leadership 100 had a unique opportunity to learn about local transformation through engaging and impactful early childhood education.

Attendees learned the UCCC and LUME philosophy of building and sharing a holistic approach to education, as well as the economic vision for the newly built Flance Center.

Flance Center embodies the LUME approach to early childhood education, which is the core model at University City Children’s Center. The LUME approach focuses attention to understanding and nurturing the whole child, from the inside out in threemajor developmental areas: 1) Literacy and Language; 2) Emotional and Social; 3) Values and Character.

The Flance Center, located in downtown St. Louis, offers children and families a broad range of services and resources that are critical to promoting child development.  The Flance Center features a full-service demonstration kitchen to teach healthy eating and cooking habits, a playground to encourage physical activity, a community education room that provides parenting workshops and more.

To learn more about the Flance Center, visit http://www.flance.com.

 

Good News Tuesday

The Young Professionals Network is full of exceptional professionals from diverse backgrounds. We’re proud of the business and ideas you bring to the St. Louis region.

In our Good News Tuesday blog post each month, we highlight some of the accomplishments that members of our Young Professionals Network share with us.

We’d like to offer congratulations to these members of the RBC community:

New Jobs

  • Jordan Fowlkes, Supply Chain Analyst, Boeing
  • Chi T. Mathias, Communications Director, City of St. Louis License Collector
  • Dara Eskridge, Urban Planner, St. Louis County
  • Kiara Webber, Senior Business Growth Manager, Abstrakt Marketing Group

Please share your good news. Simply email the news to ypn@stlrbc.org by the last Tuesday of the month, and we will include it in the publication.

RBC Young Professionals Network members attend St. Louis Business Journal’s Top 150 Dinner

Photo provided by @natekjohnson and the St. Louis Business Journal.

Photo provided by @natekjohnson and the St. Louis Business Journal.

The evening of Thursday, May 1, 2014, the St. Louis Business Journal celebrated the Top 150 Privately Held Companies in the St. Louis area. The Top 150 dinner is a special night for the St. Louis business community and the RBC Young Professionals Network. The RBC YPN had ten members in attendance: Deanna Carroll, State Farm, Darcella Craven, Veterans Business Resource Center, LaShanda Barnes, Citi, Nate Johnson, Real Estate Solutions, Pam Weston, Salim Awad, McQueen Awad, Stan Williams, AXA Equitable, Jason Pierce, HOK, April Cole, Charter Communication and Katie Kaufmann, RBC.

Despite chilly temperatures in Forrest Park, most YPN guests had never attended this event and they enjoyed great food and networking all the way through the Dessert and Cigars post reception.

Tom Minogue, Chairman of Thompson Coburn was funny and engaging as the keynote speaker.  Technology and its importance in the regional business landscape was certainly a focus with sponsors Contegix and GFI Digital sharing stories of their rapid growth and value to customers. Additionally, “Tom’s 7 lessons” focused on Thompson Coburn’s significant investment in technology hardware and software as well as investing in technology focused employees and training to make sure the law firm is efficient and effective.

YPN guests enjoyed a beautiful informative evening and look forward to the opportunity to attend again next year. View YPNs at the Top 150 dinner from the St. Louis Business Journal here.