Career KickstartAug. 24, 2006
Need to get some job advice? Want to network with others to build your business contacts? Alumni looking to advance in their careers have a new outlet. The Baylor Network introduced U.C.A.N. -- University Career Advancement Network -- in Houston this summer and in Austin and Fort Worth this fall.
Brenda Morris, director in the Baylor Network, says that the new program, which is an extension of the Baylor Business Network, is different from what other schools have to offer their alumni, but it meets a common need. "Career help is the number one thing graduates say they need [from their alma mater]. It comes up every time we have a survey."
U.C.A.N. gatherings offer alumni an opportunity to meet other Baylor graduates in their region, get advice and discover job prospects. Although events vary depending on the needs of the alumni in the area where they are held, most feature a talk by an experienced alumnus from the Baylor Business Network. Lecturers cover topics such as constructing effective resumes, interview tips and what types of things their companies look for when hiring. Sessions are followed by a question-and-answer time.
"In addition, it offers [alumni] an opportunity to build a network of contacts and build business relationships. The person they meet might not have a job or a business opportunity, but they may know someone else who does," Morris says.
An alumnus with proven workplace experience is stationed at each table to give advice or discuss job-related topics with attendees. These "business partners" may form mentoring relationships with their tablemates and follow up with them after the meeting.
Chris Arend, BBA '96, account executive at CD Group, became a business partner this spring because he wanted to pay forward all of the direction he received on his way to becoming a successful businessperson.
"Being a Baylor grad, [I can say] we like to think we are all well-rounded and we want to leave an impact on our society. I think U.C.A.N. can help us do that," he says.
He likens the function of the new group to that of professional career coaches, who personalize their services for each client. "Whatever members ask for is what U.C.A.N. will be. It's still changing."
At his first meeting, he witnessed the benefits the networking group offers alumni. "I came across an old friend who was looking to work for a smaller company that needed a self-starter to grow with their business. I came across a business that was looking for just that person," he says. Arend helped his friend make the connection he needed. "Both sides are thrilled to have found each other."
Laura Burk, BBA '02, MA '03, volunteer chair at Houston U.C.A.N. branch and senior associate at Axia Resources, became involved with the program because of her passion for helping people find a satisfying career. After being in a career that didn't fit and moving to a new one, Burk discovered "the importance of being happy at what you do and how much of a difference it can make in your career.
"Our vision for U.C.A.N. is for the events to be a place where alumni can come together after graduating and be exposed to people who have been successful in their careers so that they have an idea as to what it takes to be successful," Burk says. "You can help each other be an asset."
Programs like U.C.A.N. are designed to meet Baylor 2012's goal of enhancing the involvement of the entire Baylor family.
For more information visit https://network.baylor.edu/events or contact Morris at Brenda_Morris@baylor.edu or (866) 281-9444.