During hard economic times like these, everyone can use whatever help they can get. Whether it’s tips and tricks from the pros, a little networking and elbow-rubbing with bigwigs, or simply educational courses and seminars, people all over the country are embracing different job trainings and development opportunities.
In Memphis, college students have been able to do just that at the Black Executive Exhange Program. The program, created to instruct students on the nuances of networking and marketing themselves to local and national businesses, was held on the campus of LeMoyne-Owen College last Wednesday.
Students were able to dress in business suits in order to get a feel for business attire and conduct. The program, which took place between classes, also gave them the opportunity to hand out their resumes to corporate executives who were in attendance.
The Black Executive Exchange Program included various local black entrepreneurs and professionals giving out tips, tricks and advice to the students who attended the event. Even the director of the CIA’s science and technology division, Harry Coker Jr, was a member of the panel.
Rather than chasing after a passion, Coker said, students should follow the things that they discovered themselves to be good at. “You have to find a balance between the two that can pay your bills,” he advised the attentive students.
Other successful business leaders in attendance included executives from the Memphis Redbirds, UPS, the U.S. Coast Guard, Phillip Morris USA, and Hyundai. Fifteen business leaders were on campus altogether, serving as “visiting professors.” Each delivered a seminar or lecture on various career advice, such as interview skills and business etiquette. They also spoke of subjects directly related to their own business fields.
The event wasn’t limited to just business talk and note-taking, however. Founded in 1969 by the national Urban League, the program also included a mixer to show students how to network, an interviewing competition (with a local internship as a prize), and a musical performance featuring gospel songstress Sheri Jones-Moffett and rap singer Al kapone, as well as his son, Young AJ.
Created to help black colleges and universities have access to successful black professionals from various arenas, the program is the longest-running program in the history of the National Urban League. It has made LeMoyne-Owen the “Best Campus of the Year.” For more information on the Black Executive Exchange Program, visit the National Urban League website.