6th Annual Student Leadership Conference Features Mentorship and Networking Webinars

Speakers conducting the CUNY SPS Student Leadership Conference's keynote address webinar

The Student Association and the Office Of Student Life at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) sponsored the 6th annual Student Leadership Conference, a student-organized eight-event webinar series that took place from April 8 through April 11.

This year’s theme for the student leadership series focused on mentorship and networking as strategies to extend numerous personal and professional development opportunities for students.

Reshma Jaigobin, student development and leadership coordinator, explained how the event’s theme developed. “We saw the need to delve into the evolving job search and networking scene.” Jaigobin said, “We urged our students to proactively prepare themselves, emphasizing the importance of not waiting until after graduation to do so.”

Kay Excell, MA in Psychology ’24 and member of the Student Leadership planning committee, introduced the keynote speaker, Emily Jimenez (both pictured above). Jimenez, a first-generation college graduate with two degrees from CUNY SPS (BA in Communication and Culture; MS in Business Management and Leadership), delivered an upbeat keynote address titled “Mentoring Matters.”

In her address, Jimenez stressed the importance of establishing a whole team of mentors. She called this team a “personal advisory board,” suggesting that the group should include several people, each bringing distinct and essential skills to impart.

Jimenez also spoke of the important give-and-take nature of mentorship. “Show genuine interest in [the mentor’s] experiences, aspirations, and expertise,” Jimenez noted. “Look for opportunities to offer support, advice, or resources when you can. Remember, it's all about reciprocity.”

Other Student Leadership Conference webinars featured personal development topics, such as “Building and Maintaining a More Holistic Support System” and “Queer Wellness and Joy,” as well as professional tips and advice, including “Navigating Networks: Crafting Your Advisory Board for Success” and “Careers in Business and Technology.”

Because of the Conference’s emphasis on career-related issues, the Office of Career Services joined forces to assist both behind the scenes and onscreen. Shannon Gallo, manager of career services, shared details of this collaboration.

“We partnered with the Conference organizers to host the closing webinar ‘Careers in Business and Technology,’ which allowed attendees to network and meet potential employers, alumni professionals, and classmates,” Gallo said. “It worked as a wonderful way for participants to use the skills they learned throughout the week.”

With approximately 100 students attending the various webinars, the event drew a robust audience. As Associate Director of Student Life, Anthony Sweeney observed, “I am impressed with the continual growth year after year. Each year, more and more students take advantage of this great opportunity to showcase their leadership skills and experience professionalism through networking.”

Another student member of the Conference’s planning committee, Nasreen Quadir (BS Business ‘25), spoke of how motivated she felt after the series of workshops and webinars. “The speakers provided valuable industry insights and offered access to a range of tools to support someone's professional journey,” Quadir said. “It made me appreciate the significance of my time in college even more and understand its role in shaping my future endeavors.”

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

As New York's leading online school since 2006, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) offers the most online bachelor's and master's degree options at the City University of New York and serves as the University's first undergraduate all-transfer college. With 26 degrees and numerous other non-degree and grant-funded workplace learning programs, CUNY SPS meets the needs of adults who wish to finish a bachelor's degree, progress from an associate's degree, earn a master's degree or certificate in a specialized field, and advance in the workplace or change careers. Consistently ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report for its online offerings, CUNY SPS has emerged as a nationwide leader in online education. The School's renowned and affordable online programs ensure that busy working adults may fulfill their educational goals on their own time and schedule.

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