Student attendees will gather virtually on Feb. 19 for a “career conference that celebrates being unstoppable and authentically you” at Drake University, according to the university’s event calendar.
“I feel like it’s gonna be a lot of time on Zoom, so it may change on Friday, but as of now I want to go to as many [sessions] as I can,” said Drake student Connor Oetzmann.
The online conference schedule includes opening and closing keynote speakers, a series of breakout sessions with various professionals, and breaks for lunch and wellness. Session topics range from stress and time management to panel discussions with Drake alumni who are members of the Black or LGBTQ+ communities.
Oetzmann and fourth-year accounting major Sophia Revord both said that they plan to attend a session titled “Creating a Culture of Dignity in an Era of Social Discord.”
“It’ll be about having those difficult conversations in the workplace instead of just stepping over it,” Revord said. “Like sometimes we are guilty of doing. And kind of exploring the need and awesomeness of diversity and inclusion in all aspects.”
Revord said that she sees the focus on diversity and inclusion in the session as a response to a societal problem that has gathered significant attention.
“I think that Drake especially is really trying to make a change within the community it’s surrounded by, and especially nowadays, with everything that’s come to light,” Revord said.
“It’s really important that we learn what privilege is, and that we kind of figure out what we can do as a society to help those…who grow up different than us with different backgrounds, and how we can serve them the best.”
Drake junior and entrepreneurial management major Emily Hedgecock called the conference “a really empowering way to reach out” by the university during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hedgecock said that she is interested in attending a session called “More Success with Less Stress.”
“That one sounds really great because I do, indeed, stress. A lot,” Hedgecock said. “I think being successful is really important to me.”
Another session that Hedgecock is interested in is about dealing with personal resistance to change. According to the description on the conference schedule, participants will learn “how we can minimize the threats and maximize the rewards related to change.”
“I feel like, just, there’s been a lot of events that have happened recently, last semester even, in my life that have been big changes, and I think having some tips on how to manage that better would be great,” Hedgecock said.
Oetzmann said he plans to attend the panel of LGBTQ+ professionals.
“I just think all these conversations with other people in the community is always just so important, it’s always really insightful,” Oetzmann said. “So I’m really excited for that one as well.”
Revord will be assisting with the moderation of two of the breakout sessions, including a session titled “Flexible and Fearless Virtual Interviewing” on the conference schedule.
“It’ll be just coming together and kind of figuring out the best way to really land your opportunities out in the workforce,” Revord said. “How to really get that promotion, or get that application to graduate school done, or your dissertation for doctorate school, stuff like that.”
Revord was one of a small number of students who were part of the planning board for the conference, along with a few professors and the dean from each college within Drake University.
“What we really wanted to know when getting all together was, ‘What do students feel like they need, and how can we give it to them?’” Revord said.
To learn more and register for the conference, visit the Eventbrite listing.