By Omar Aquije ’02 and Bridgit Kasperski
When 306 students and alumni gathered for Cardinal Networking Nights in Plattsburgh, Albany and New York City this winter, they heard from alumni in a variety of career fields. There was an attorney; a staffing and operations director; a portfolio manager; a sales manager; the director of a Head Start program; a technical production supervisor for a TV network; a head of private equity; and a financial planner.
Their career journeys were different, yet each hit upon one theme.
Phillip Baltz ’88 — president of public relations firm baltz & co — put it this way: “The most important thing is to have extreme determination and to follow your passion.”
Echoed at all three events, that message moved students like senior finance and economics major Asher Kennedy.
“It’s nice to see our alumni come back and encourage us to do what we love,” Kennedy said.
A joint effort by the Plattsburgh Alumni Association and the college’s Career Development Center, Cardinal Networking Nights were designed to connect Plattsburgh alumni with Plattsburgh students — through panel discussions and networking over refreshments.
"You are here tonight educating yourself on networking. No one can take that away from you ... you're part of us because you are a cardinal," Jody Carpenter ’92 told students. The vice president for marketing and business development at UFirst Federal Credit Union and Plattsburgh Alumni Association board member was a panelist at the Plattsburgh event.
Ann Marie Resnick ’79, vice president of marketing and promotions at Scholastic, found herself in demand, with a crowd eager for a piece of her time.
Resnick, who originally wanted to teach, said students should prepare for a winding road.
“You have to make a commitment that you are going to pursue your own personal way in life,” she said. “It’s not necessarily going to be a straight line. Just because you majored in biology doesn’t mean you may do something in biology right away.
The events also offered a glimpse of the diverse Plattsburgh students and alumni living in the three regions.
Griffin Burnett ’10, who majored in marketing, is now working as a financial adviser for New York Life. He said he was worried as an undergraduate that networking with Plattsburgh alumni was only possible in the North Country and Albany. But he has seen many Cardinals migrate to New York City.
The event was a great way to reconnect with people from Plattsburgh, he said.
Rebecca Zwerling, a hotel restaurant and tourism management major from Brooklyn, also attended the NYC event. There, she turned to Baltz for advice and came away looking forward to more opportunities like this.
“The college should definitely do more events like this,” she said. “Any way to do networking is really fantastic.”
Director of Alumni Relations Joanne Nelson was more than pleased with the turnout.
“It is further proof that our alumni genuinely care about students and each other,” she said. “Cardinal Networking Nights give graduates yet one more way to contribute to student success.
“But students are not the only ones finding value in the exchange,” Nelson said. “Young and underemployed alumni are also benefitting from these programs. The encouragement and advice given can really make a difference.”
Interested alumni and students should stay tuned. According to Nelson, the college will be offering Cardinal Networking Nights and some smaller networking events on an annual basis.
For more information about the SUNY Plattsburgh alumni newsletter, please contact:
Michelle Marasch Ouellette
Director of Public Relations and Publications
Phone: (518) 564-3095
Alumni can subscribe to Calling Card by joining the Plattsburgh Alumni Community (PAC).