Three people stand together networking in business casual attire at the Leonard and Helena Mazur Networking Event held at the Logan Hotel

By: Audrey Kurtyan

On October 3, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Office of Alumni Relations, partnered with the CLA Center for Professional Development, hosted the Leonard and Helena Mazur Alumni Networking Event at The Logan Hotel in Philadelphia.

As a senior global studies and French major with pretty undefined career goals, I've recently been interested in "informational interviews," in which you meet with someone who has a career you're interested in and simply ask them questions, listen to their story and be open to any advice they might have for you. I knew the Mazur event would be a great opportunity for me to meet interesting people with whom I could conduct mini versions of these informational interviews. Especially because I'm a senior, it feels like the time is "now or never" to get involved and take advantage of valuable Temple University resources like this.

Walking into a fancy hotel in the required business casual attire felt intimidating, but the Center for Professional Development staff gave students a lot of tools to feel more comfortable. The event started with an icebreaker activity where everyone had a card with a question on it, so there was no need to panic: we had the first topic of conversation provided. This helped us get through the beginning of our conversations, which often feels like the scariest part of networking.

We also heard from Brittany Newton, CLA '17, an inspiring recent alumna who shared her tips for networking, encouraging us to share our full names, to follow up with the people we meet and not to neglect networking with our peers! I was surprised by that last tip and after hearing it, I made an effort to speak to some students as well as alumni. I had a great conversation with an intelligent history major who had career goals of transforming historical education policy! We're often so concerned with making connections with older, successful people that we forget we're constantly surrounded by peers who have their own networks to share and who could be great business partners, sounding boards and motivators.

I think the most inspirational part of being in a room with so many College of Liberal Arts alumni was the realization that successful people, especially those who majored in the liberal arts, often have non-linear career paths. For example, I met someone at the event who majored in psychology at Temple, went on to culinary school in Europe, then started his own restaurant chain and now owns a hemp farm in Pennsylvania. It made me realize I don't have to have everything figured out right now—I just need to take one step at a time and keep connecting with people who know more than me.

I know many Temple alumni who came before me were just as unsure as I sometimes feel. But the Mazur event was networking with training wheels. After attending, I now feel ready to take those training wheels off and take on networking, and even my career goals, with confidence and poise.