Alumni shared their experiences and insights with students at the inaugural McDonogh Network Conference and Senior Celebration April 30.
The McDonogh Network provides networking opportunities for African American and other black alumni and students. Themed “Connecting You to Me: Building a Personal Brand,” the conference included sessions on the power of mentorship, the power of leadership and campus involvement, and “negotiating your first experience.”
“The conference was great. It gave me the chance to network with successful black alumni who are excelling in their fields,” says Brandon Ellis ’12, an economics and business major who aspires to a career in the sports industry. “They answered all my questions and gave me honest feedback about the challenges and opportunities after Lafayette.”
Jiselle Peralta ’13, a psychology major who is thinking of psychology or education for her career, said, “I received a lot of motivation and encouragement to follow my dreams despite obstacles. Hearing from successful alumni who started out just like me helped me realize that we must all start somewhere in order to grow into future leaders.”
Panelists included Gina Arias ’93, senior community partner coordinator at Bronx Teens Connection; Carlton St. Bernard ’86, vice president of U.S. sales and marketing at Cordis Corporation; Terese Brown ’07, designer and owner of Terese Sydonna, a contemporary and couture women’s-wear design company; Crystal Burey ’10, freelance photo editor; Otis Ellis ’89, vice president and investment solution specialist at Key Private Bank; and Isaac Esseku ’05, research associate at Consumer Edge Research.
Also, Ashley Gray ’09, graduate hall director at Cedar Crest College; Rawle Howard ’96, vice president of the Real Estate Debt Group at BlackRock Inc.; Treyvon Jackson ’10, analyst at Goldman Sachs; Justin Kidwell ’00, MBA candidate at Columbia Business School; Jason Mills ’09, engineer at PHI Asset Strategy & Planning, Delmarva Power; Brandon Stanford ’06, Ph.D. candidate in African studies/Africology at Temple University; and Danielle Weaver ’07, alumni-relations assistant at George Washington University.
Faculty members who moderated the sessions were Miranda Teboh-Ewungkem, assistant professor of mathematics; John McCartney, professor of government and law; and Yaba Amgborale Blay, visiting assistant professor of Africana studies.
“It was inspiring to see so many alumni go out of their way to give back to Lafayette,” Peralta says. “They had unique experiences and made an impact on and off campus. I look up to them and hope to accomplish as much as they have.”
On the same day, the McDonogh Network held a celebration honoring the achievements of black and African American members of the Class of 2011.