On Thursday, April 24th, I had the opportunity of attending the networking event held by PRSSA.  The event was held in Montante Cultural Center from 6:30-9:00.  I had never been to a networking event prior, so I must admit that I was slightly weary of the process; I was unsure of what to expect.

The event consisted of an initial half hour of arriving, mingling, and eating the free food provided, and then the true networking began.  After arriving, there were two professionals who spoke: Zach Schneider of 15 Fingers, and Therese Hickok of Buffalo Niagara Partnerships.  Both discussed how they got to where they are today and had extremely impressive stories.  Mr. Schneider started his own business when he was just 19 years old, sold the business when he was 26, and eventually started another company of his own, 15 Fingers, and has achieved great success.  Ms. Hickok told us of her many jobs she has been fortunate enough to have over the years, and essentially told us that you never know where you are going to end up.

After these individuals spoke, there was a speed networking session: there were a number of tables with professionals at them, the students were encouraged to sit around the table and ask the professionals whatever questions they had, for about eight minutes each, and then were able to switch to another table.

My networking session turned out to be even better than I had anticipated.  I was able to not only ask the questions that I had, but was able to hear what other students had to ask, questions that I hadn’t thought of, and was able to hear the advice they were given as well.  The professionals were extremely welcoming and encouraging, insisting that no question was insignificant or stupid, and giving truly honest and helpful answers.    Being able to talk to a professional really allowed me to understand what they are looking for when they want to hire a young employee.  I learned interview tips and, not to sound completely corny, life lessons from these individuals.

This networking event was not what I expected: it was better.  I was able to leave the event with the promise that I could send my resume to an individual and meet with them to discuss the opportunity for an internship!  I believe that I learned not only about what professionals are expecting and what to do and not to do, but that I can be more outgoing and assertive than I had originally thought.  I truly enjoyed attending this networking event!