Council Chair, CBE’s Young Alumni Advisory Council
Learn more about CBE’s Young Alumni Advisory Council and their popular Skills to Pay the Bills workshops from Patrick St. Clair, Council Chair of YAAC
Q: What is the role of CBE’s Young Alumni Advisory Council?
A: The Young Alumni Advisory Council strives to use our unique perspective as recent graduates to help the college teach and grow the next generation of business leaders. We also recognize that the connections we make in college don’t end at graduation and work grow a sense of community within CBE alumni and create opportunities for them to engage with their college.
Q: Who is a “young alumni” and how can they get involved with YAAC?
A: A “Young Alumni” is anyone who has graduated within the last 10 years from the CBE. For those who are interested in our group or in getting involved with the college in other ways. I encourage you to reach out to the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Lisa Michocki at email@example.com.
Q: How did you first get involved with YAAC?
A: I was fortunate enough to be one of the original members of YAAC when it was founded in 2016 and chosen to be its chair in 2017. As someone who was involved with the college as a student and remained connected as an alumni through mentoring students and guest speaking to classes, I was excited to give back to the community that had given me so much.
Q: What are your future plans for YAAC?
A: These past 5 years have been a learning experience for everyone. This group is a first of its kind not just for the CBE but for the University as a whole. And for many of its members, it is their first experience being on an advisory board. It’s been my priority to discover how a group of passionate young alumni can best impact the college, finding success in consulting on some of the CBE’s newest endeavors and planning events for both students and alumni. Looking to the future I’m focused on growing awareness of the group and recruiting the next generation of young alumni to take the council far into the future.
Q: Can you tell us more about the Skills to Pay the Bills workshop series?
A: Skills to Pay the Bills has been an annual event put on by YAAC since 2019. The event puts business leaders in front of students to facilitate interactive workshops teaching the soft skill that they think is most impactful to growth.
Q: What student needs do Skills to Pay the Bills workshops aim to fill?
A: The event aims to accomplish three things. 1.) Show students how paramount these skills are to their personal and professional growth. 2) Provide opportunities for students to work on these skills with their peers and industry leaders. 3) Provide resources for students to continue growing those skills after the event ends.
Q: What has been the most popular topic among students?
A: The Topic of Communication has been covered from many angles and is always a highly attended workshop. Some of the past communication workshops have included the power of word choice, how to de-escalate conflict, and how to communicate effectively with those you report to.
Q: What kind of feedback have you received from students who have attended a workshop?
A: Each year when students actually show up, actively participate, and stick around after the event to speak to presenters and YAAC members I am reassured this is a topic that students agree is important. The times that we have missed the mark is when we didn’t make the content engaging. With so many events for students to choose from, those that succeed provide more than a power point and free pizza, and that has been our goal since the beginning and remains our goal today.
Q: How have the workshops evolved since they started?
A: Our first year the workshops were led by members of YAAC and the Advisory Board, after seeing the success from that first year we have worked to grow its impact by bringing in the best and brightest from the Baltimore community to speak to students on what topics they feel are the most crucial for their personal and professional success. We also work to understand what the most relevant skills are for the current workplace. This year the workshops revolve around succeeding in a virtual setting and how to have your opinion heard as policies and changes are being made.
Q: What changes have you made to the workshop with the move to virtual job recruitment?
A: Obviously the event will not be in person this year and will held over Zoom. Our challenge is to not let that impact our ability to engage students. We have worked to find relevant topics to today’s challenges including a workshop all about how to start your career (or internship) virtually. Additionally we want students to realize that it wasn’t just students that were forced to move to virtual but professionals as well. So the event will be set up just like the trainings that many of us professionals now participate in to further our own education.
Q: What other resources are available to students through YAAC?
A: Every member of YAAC joined because they have a passion for the CBE and the students within it. And while we are usually working to create programs and events for the student population as a whole we also have a passion for having an individual impact through mentorship and leveraging our networks to open up opportunities. Students looking to connect can learn more about the members on the CBE’s website and can find all of us on LinkedIn!
by Elizabeth Bailey