On Thursday, April 9 I went to a “Lunch and Learn” networking event that was put on by the Griff Center at Canisius College. This was the first official networking event I had ever been to and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it…okay, I was pretty sure I felt like that adorable puppy in the meme. But, I somehow mustered up enough enthusiasm to put on my “adult” blazer and make my way to the event.

It was a small, intimate setting held in a conference room with roughly 15 students in attendance. At this session we got to hear from Jill Bond, General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Rich Products Corporation. Jill graduated from Canisius and is currently on the Board of Regents. While we enjoyed lunch and desserts, Jill told us about her duties and responsibilities at Rich Products and how she had gotten to where she is today. She opened up the floor for questions and a natural flow of conversation ensued.

Surprisingly, there were no Pre-Law or Political Science students at the event. A large majority of the students were Communication Studies or Marketing majors which (thankfully) steered the conversation away from legal jargon and focused more on the HR aspects of her job. The most helpful piece of advice that I gleaned from Jill was “your first job is not your last; if you aren’t happy with what you are doing, then do something else!” This small piece of wisdom resonated with me as I look towards graduation next year. Jill’s outlook on work really put my future goals and aspirations into perspective. You do not have to be stuck with your first job out of college for the rest of your life. If you are not happy, find something that makes you happy and run with it.

Participating in this networking event was a worthwhile and valuable experience. I not only felt like I was bettering myself, but I got to use my business cards! Can you say professional adult?! In all seriousness, networking is a crucial component of any career and is particularly important in small cities like Buffalo. In a place where everyone seems to know everyone, you never know how these connections you make early on will benefit you down the road.