On Monday, March 23rd, female students from Catawba College were exposed to a unique forum entitled, “What You Need to Succeed” where successful individuals from the community served on a panel and offered advice on various areas of professional success. The panelists were willing to answer any questions and eagerly shared their own personal experiences and how they got to where they are now.
Gary Blabon ’91, Director of Operations for Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, illustrated how to do the right thing when faced with adversity, even if it means losing your job. He urged the students in the audience to know what’s important to them and to be educated about the company’s mission, vision, and values prior to applying and interviewing for the job.
Dr. Raquel Ingram, the new Nursing Program Chair and Associate Professor of Nursing at Catawba, spoke about being confident in the workplace and beyond. She encouraged us to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses and work on turning those weaknesses into strengths, and to dare to be different. She spoke on self-love, self-trust, and self-respect. “Every day is not a confidence booster,” she said, but advised that you can always turn your day around by remaining positive and finding the good in any situation, even when feeling like nothing is going your way.
Elaine Spalding, President of the Rowan Chamber of Commerce, provided us with five tips of successful networking. She proposed that we always put our “chamber cheeks on,” to practice our “ten second commercial,” to have our name tag on and business cards prepared, to mingle effectively, and to follow up appropriately.
Ted Goins, President and CEO of Lutheran Services Carolinas, revealed that although we can make our own future, that does not mean we are entitled to it. This was a beneficial message to hear as college students, because so often there is a misconception that a college degree alone will set one up for success. He shared that any work can become a vocation. He summed up his message by giving some remarkable advice: “Love, honesty, and integrity covers it all.”
Lynne Scott Safrit ’80, President of Castle and Cooke North Carolina, discussed balancing work, home, family, and self. She advised us to set priorities and boundaries and shared past experiences that reiterated the fact that some days it is not possible to balance all four things, and some days you will master just one or two of them, but that is typical. She stressed to never stop learning and to not wait forever for the “perfect job;” she encouraged the students to gain experience and build resumés, because one never knows what one might find out about his or her self.
After the panelists concluded speaking and answered questions, students proceeded to a dessert reception where they were able to mingle and network with the panelists and to thank them personally for taking time to provide with such valuable information.
Sponsors of the event providing door prizes included Belk, Carolina Lily, I Promise Project, Hair Associates of Salisbury, Catawba College Store, Darlene Ball ’62, chair of Catawba’s Board of Trustees, and the Catawba College Institute of Business & Accounting.
The Delphinian Society members served as hosts for the event. Robin Perry, Catawba College’s Director of Career Services served as moderator of the panel discussion.