TGP Brings back Athlete Networking Nights in 2017-2018
by Ruvimbo Mushavi, Program Manager
It is nearing the end of the Fall semester of the 2017-2018 academic year, and one thing is for sure, college students are already on the lookout for summer internship opportunities. As part of The Grassroot Project’s efforts to provide student-athlete volunteers with the professional and leadership development they seek, the staff at TGP decided to host a Grassroots Networking Night on Tuesday, November 28th. The event was open to all student-athletes who have ever been involved with The Grassroot Project or wish to volunteer with the organization in the future. We specifically marketed the event as a “non-traditional” networking event, allowing student-athletes to dress casually and come straight from practice or class. In addition, we made the event informal so that student-athletes did not feel the pressure of having to bring their resumes or business cards with them. The idea behind this was to make sure student-athletes were comfortable enough to come as they are, talk to our invited guests freely and learn as much as possible from a variety of professionals even if they were not specifically looking for a job in one of the professionals’ fields of work.
Our guests included professionals from a variety of sectors, including medicine, law, business consulting, software engineering, education, government and nonprofit organizations. We started off the event with some introductions, during which our guests shared stories about how they got to where they are in their career today. One such story was that of Dr. Meena Raj, who spoke about her unique career transition from Finance to Medicine, showing student-athletes that it is never too late to find one’s true passion. In another key component of our introductory session, we asked our guests what piece of advice they would give to their younger self. Charles Rominiyi, a Health and Physical Education Specialist at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), so fittingly stressed the importance of networking because you never know when or where you will meet your next boss. (Aside: It looks like we will be having more student-athlete networking events from now on!)
For the rest of the night, student-athletes and professionals were free to mingle amongst themselves. It was amazing to see student-athletes connect with all professionals, discussing a variety of topics including career life, current affairs, work-life balance and even workout routines.
All of the student-athletes who were able to attend the event provided us with extremely positive feedback. Jon Mabie, a freshman on the Men’s Rowing team at GW, said,
“The event was awesome! The fact that most of the guests were within 10 or so years out of college made it very impactful. Hearing that so many of them could accomplish so much, often not even in the field they majored in, in so little time was great as a person who is already looking to switch majors. They were all very approachable and seemed to want to talk to us as much as we wanted to talk to them.”
We cannot be more pleased to see our student-athlete volunteers benefit from being a part of TGP as they give so much of their time and passion in pursuing the organization’s mission.