Future of Work event connects students with industry mentors

By Moustafa Elhadary, April 20, 2021

Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya Coley was joined by ASI President Lucy Yu on April 13 for the Future of Work event, allowing CPP students the opportunity to meet and interact with industry leaders in a virtual environment.

The event hosted 46 participants featuring an array of qualified professionals from different companies, including several CPP alumni who answered questions from students seeking guidance about the workforce.

Victor Simmons (’09 hotel, restaurant and travel management), vice president of human resources and head of diversity, equity, and inclusion for Ace Hotel Group recalled his mentorship during his time at CPP and saw this event as an opportunity to pass along his guidance.

“As a grad from CPP I had a great experience while I was a student and I enjoyed when speakers came in to share their wisdom and experience,” Simmons said. “Naturally, I want to pay it forward, and I enjoy being a mentor and coach to others.”

courtesy of David Porges.

Naman Pandaiya, a first-year business administration student, is attending business oriented events like the Future of Work event to learn more about the workforce and to find a COVID-19 safe summer internship.

“I am hesitant about several jobs being online because I want to know that my job is a secure and a stable job and not have to worry whether companies will want to continue having online positions or just diminish them once COVID ends,” Pandaiya said.

As reported by The Poly Post, during its Academic Senate meeting on April 14, CPP approved in person internships for both summer and fall 2021.

Several other mentors chimed in to answer student questions throughout the event, like Rockette Ewell, vice president and community affairs manager for U.S. Bank’s Southern California region, who expressed how the company is transitioning to be more online friendly to its users.

“U.S. Bank has had long standing philanthropic support for Cal Poly’s Renaissance Scholars Program, which provides support and family for former foster youth who are making the transition to college,” Ewell said. “Curiosity is an asset; and I believe all questions are good ones. The questions raised during the panel were exactly what students — especially those close to graduation — should be thinking about.

In Sept. 2019, Gov. Newsom appointed CPP’s president Coley to serve on the Future of Work Commission. The event was created to promote jobs and career paths as well as highlight technology and innovation in the field.

“The event as a whole was phenomenal,” Pandaiya said. “All the panelists were very open to sharing experiences about the job market and how one can stick out from the crowd. The event was very well planned and left a perfect amount of time for audience members like me to ask questions.”

As part of the Future of Work series, the more recent events have been set to guide students through the current job market during uncertain economic times.

“For me, what I am looking for in a leader is someone who can build relationships, lead with empathy, be authentic, ethical and has the cultural competence to be an inclusive leader,” Simmons said. “If you don’t have those things in place as a student you will not be very successful in the classroom, around campus let alone in the workforce.”


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