Believing in the power of education, Fulfillment Fund has helped students from high school to college through various programs such as classroom instruction, mentoring, and one-on-one counselling. The organization now serves over 2,700 students from economically and educationally under-resourced communities.
To help Fulfillment Fund Scholars land jobs and transition to professional environments after college graduation, the organization started a new program, the Career Accelerator Program.
The very first event of the program, Career Accelerator Workshop, was held on August 18th, 2017, at one of Fulfillment Fund’s supporters, Creative Artists Agency (CAA). The day-long event consisted of a series of career workshops, panels and a networking lunch. The event speakers included industry professionals: Founder of Braven Agency and the Los Angeles Google Coach, Roberto Martinez ; National Program Manager for The Walt Disney Company, Ankit Brahmkshartri ; CEO of BLKBX Creative Group, Frank Donner ; Attorney at Walker Stevens Cannom Yang LLP, Hannah Cannom ; Co-founder and CEO of Glimpulse, Paresh Shah; as well as Fulfillment Fund Scholar, Michelle Reyna. Fulfillment Fund’s Scholar Bridge Co-Chairs Brandon Chapnick and Lindy Huang Werges, also helped mentor the College Accelerator Scholars at the event. The Scholars learned important career takeaways, such as building personal brands, maintaining a professional social media presence, and managing time effectively.
The first session began with Fulfillment Fund Scholar Michelle Reyna sharing the importance of internships. From her own perspective, she shared how her internship experiences opened more career opportunities for her and was also a great way to decide whether she wanted to pursue that opportunity within that specific industry, Michelle explained. She also considered the mentoring relationships with her employer from her internships very valuable.
Elevator Pitch | Personal Branding
In the next session, Ankit Brahmkshatri, provided the participants with some important insights on how to develop an effective “elevator pitch.” An elevator pitch is a short persuasive speech that sparks interests of the receiver. Ankit stressed the importance of it in the career environment, he said, “Real work begins after we pitch. To prepare for it, first think about your receiver. It is the receiver that drives the results, so you need to think from their perspectives through research on industry news and your target company. For your pitch, think about the receivers’ possible problems, and address how you can solve it or help them advance, and what you can bring to the table.”
Besides the message, you need to drive call-to-actions in your pitch. It could be asking for advice, asking for an introduction to someone else, or even further, an informational interview.
A perfect structure for an elevator pitch would be:
- Starting with who you are. Tell your story, which is also your hook.
- What do you want to do? Where do you want to go?
- Why do you want to do that?
- How can that person help you do it. (This is the call-to-action part.)
Ankit’s daughter Abhaya also shared with the students the importance of focus. She shared with the students a lesson she learned from her Sifu, “Power and speed make Kungfu, and without those two things, it’s just a dance.”
Following Ankit, Paresh Shah spoke with the Scholars on self-branding from a professional perspective. Shah is the co-founder and CEO of Glimpulse, “the company that delivers happiness. He started the workshop with having all the students stand up and reflect on their “Awesomeness.” “Pitch in your Awesomeness. Always be more than!” He suggested that we should think about both companion and innovation, so that you can listen to others’ opinions and know how to improve. He went on, telling participants to always be present, as there are possibilities in every situation. Shah also reminded Scholars the importance of follow-ups after events.
In the next session, Roberto Martinez, the founder of a digital marketing company, Braven Agency and Google Coach for Los Angeles, talked about professional social media management. He warned participants how social media can harm their chances when applying for jobs. Besides resumes and interviews, some employers often use social media as a screener tool to see if the candidate is a good corporate culture fit. People have been turned down from job offers because of inappropriate content on their social media accounts. And private posts don’t mean they are “really” private, so always be careful about what you post on social media.
During the lunch networking, the students got the chance to ask professionals questions regarding to their career development. Including the speakers, about 25 professionals joined the lunch networking, giving advice to participants. The professionals were from various industries, including Jon Weisner from Microsoft, and Jonathan Tomback from Ernst & Young.
Michelle Reyna, Fulfillment Fund Scholar and current accounting intern at Integritas Resources, Inc., was able to address a fellow Scholar and Political Science major on how to obtain job opportunities or gain exposure to fields not related to her major. Michelle highlighted the importance of internships again and how internships can help you obtain hard skills that may not be offered in school. Michelle also suggested students search for people with similar degrees, and study what industries they are in now and their career paths.
With her own desire to pursue a career in public accounting, Michelle had the opportunity to meet a few partners and finance professionals during the networking lunch as well, including Ernst & Young, Armanino, LLP, and PMC.
Time Management Panel
During the afternoon panel, Ankit Brahmkshartri , along with CEO of BLKBX Creative Group, Frank Donner and Attorney Hannah Cannom of Walker Stevens Cannom Yang LLP, provided participants some advice regarding their transition from college to career. Frank shared his stories and reminded participants not to ignore the power of mentorship. “Seek out a mentor. We can’t do it alone. Mentorship, seek it early.” Hannah went over how to manage time effectively. She suggested identifying a time management tool that works for you. Ankit added, “Whatever you decide to use for time management, stick with it, be disciplined.”
Each Career Accelerator Scholar will be paired with a professional mentor. The mentor will provide Scholars with career guidance during the 9-month program.
To view the complete event gallery, please click here.