2024 Student Leadership Conference
Mentorship and Networking

Mentorship and Networking are valuable assets for individuals seeking personal and professional growth. They provide guidance, open doors to opportunities, and create a supportive community that can significantly impact one’s career trajectory.

Topics include: Career Preparation, Professional Development and Mentorship. Building and Maintaining a More Holistic Support System.


Building and Maintaining a More Holistic Support System
Monday, April 8, 2024 • 12:00 – 1:00 PM EST

We are each whole people and deserve to be treated as such. What I mean by this is that we are more than the sum of our “parts” while also acknowledging that without all of our “parts” we could not whole. With special attention to those of us who are of marginalized communities as well as intersections of these communities, I find that an especially important part of this practice includes ensuring that we are empowered to seek and feel worthy of being supported as a means of ensuring that we feel validated as well as a sense of belonging while also challenging us in a supportive way to continue to exist in our evolving greatness. Join us as we reimagine, reframe and revamp the idea of mentorship. While I hope this will serve as a strong starter foundation you can also expect a resource packet with various activities and templates to help support your ever-evolving mentorship journey.

Presenter: Crystal “CD” Dilonez (they/ellos, she/ella)
Crystal is a radically passionate person doing their part to make this world a more just, accessible and equitable place by way of honoring my humanity and celebrating the ancestors. With a special note towards their “day job” as an Opportunity Programs [HEOP & CSTEP] Student Counselor, they are currently doing-so one college student at a time. Crystal is very honored to be able to come full-circle and now serve the community that supported them; Crystal is the proud product of OP as a CSTEP SUNY alumni.


Keynote Session: Mentoring Matters
Monday, April 8, 2024 ; 6:00 – 6:45 PM

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the significance of mentorship in personal and professional growth cannot be overstated. In this keynote address, Emily Jimenez will delve into the transformative power of networking and mentoring relationships and the invaluable role they play in shaping individuals’ lives. Through engaging anecdotes, practical strategies, and inspiring insights, Emily will demonstrate how cultivating meaningful mentorship connections can pave the way for success in school, work and beyond.

Presenter: Emily Jimenez (she, her, ella)
With two decades in non-profits supporting women and youth, Emily Jimenez, Assistant Director of Career Development at Macaulay Honors College, connects employers with emerging talent, organizes events, and coaches students and professionals. A first-gen college graduate and child of Dominican immigrants, she passionately advocates equity, mentors, and workplace wellness. Her goal is to empower first-gen students for success, fostering mutual aid in their communities. She holds degrees in Culture & Communication, Business Management & Leadership, and an Executive Education Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership. In 2020, she launched The Manifestation Mami, guiding busy professionals to prioritize wellness for balanced lives through ceremonies and coaching.


Career to Calling: Leveraging Passion Projects for Career and Professional Development
Monday, April 8, 2024; 7:00 – 8:00 PM

In the interactive workshop “Career to Calling: Leveraging Passion Projects for Career and Professional the presenter guides attendees through the transformative journey of aligning their career paths with their personal passions. This session uniquely illustrates how personal projects and interests can be skillfully woven into one’s professional narrative. Key topics include mastering LinkedIn to create a robust personal brand, strategic networking for building authentic relationships, and developing a compelling resume that reflects one’s passions and potential. The workshop will also explore leveraging LinkedIn connections for professional growth. Participants will learn to craft an effective elevator pitch and respond to common interview questions to make a lasting impression. Hands-on activities will enable attendees to apply these concepts in real-time, ensuring practical takeaway skills. This workshop is a must-attend for those seeking to transform their careers by integrating their passions and interests to ensure their pathway is not sure just a Career but also a Calling, offering a roadmap to not only professional success but personal fulfillment.

Presenter: Laura Hand (she, her, hers)
Laura Hand, Assistant Director of Career Services at Hostos Community College of CUNY, earned her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees at Columbia University. Prior to serving as Assistant Director, she was a Workforce Development Coordinator and Program Manager at Hostos as well as a Lead Teacher Coordinator at Columbia University. She is a current member of CEANY, NACE, and the ALA and has written and published work on diverse topics such as healthcare, multimodal learning, and AI.


Mastering Networking: Unveiling the 5Ws and 1H for Career Advancement
Tuesday, April 9, 2024; 12:00 – 1:00 PM

The 5Ws and 1H for networking will explore the fundamental questions of ‘What’, ‘Where’, ‘When’, ‘Who’, ‘Why’, and ‘How’ pertaining to networking. While the concept of networking is familiar, navigating it effectively requires a deeper understanding of its components. This session aims to highlight these aspects, empowering individuals to chart a more informed and strategic course in their career path.

Presenter: Catherine Law (she, her, hers)
Catherine Law is a CUNY alum from Queens College with a degree in Accounting and Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Bridgeport in Business Administration. Catherine has over 30 years of corporate, non-profit/government and academic/student affairs work experience.


Mentoring to Advance Students’ Academic Success and Career Readiness
Tuesday, April 9, 2024; 7:00 – 8:00 PM

This session will highlight an innovative career development and mentorship program model, Mentor/Mentee Jobs on Campus (MMJOC). The program is designed to provide student mentees with meaningful workforce experience supporting campus operations, ensure mentees are making academic progress, support mentees’ transition from college to the workplace, and develop career readiness competencies in students, faculty, and staff by leveraging mentoring best practices. Participants are paired with faculty/staff mentors who support their academic and career goals. MMJOC provides students with access to skill-building experiences and mentorship, effectively equipping them to navigate work in a professional environment. Mentors also receive guidance on how to strengthen mentoring relationships through focused mentoring sessions that address students’ academic performance, professional development, health, and life skills development. Career development events are held every semester to help students further develop their career readiness skills and promote peer bonding. In this presentation, MMJOC and Career Services staff will discuss the impacts of the program and facilitate a panel discussion with mentors and mentees who will share about their experiences and how the program has influenced their personal and professional growth.

Presenter: Dr. Sofia Oviedo (she, her, hers)
Dr. Sofia Oviedo is the Research Programs Director at Hostos Community College, providing management and oversight for Mentor/Mentee Jobs on Campus, funded through the Ms. MacKenzie Scott’s Gift: President’s Initia tives for Student Success, College Growth and Stakeholders’ Engagement. She works collaboratively with senior leadership, faculty, and staff to ensure alignment of college-wide initiatives to Hostos’s mission. In this capacity, she manages administrative processes and develops evaluation methods to assess the implementation and impact of initiatives. She earned a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the CUNY Graduate Center, Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College, and BFA from New York University.


Queer Wellness and Joy
Wednesday, April 10, 2024; 6:00 – 8:30 PM

This innovative mini-conference aims to advance the concepts of queer joy and queer wellness, bringing together students, faculty, staff, researchers, advocates, and other CUNY SPS community members to discuss the latest research, innovative interventions, and effective strategies for improving LGBTQ+ health through focus on queer wellness and joy.

Student speakers will share stories on queer joy, resilience, and well-being. Discover personal triumphs within the LGBTQ+ community, strategies for mental and physical health, insights on unique health challenges, and the impact of activism.


Navigating Networks: Crafting Your Advisory Board for Success
Thursday, April 11, 2024; 12:00 – 1:00 PM

In this workshop students will learn how to build a network of individuals that they can draw on for career advice and support. An advisory board is a small group of people that your go to for support and advice on advancing your career. The board can advise, give feedback, broaden your network, brainstorm, and cheer you on. The workshop will emphasize how having a diverse group of advisors with different experiences is beneficial to the student. We will take an inventory of the student’s current network and think about any missing gaps and future aspirations. The workshop will introduce students to a roadmap of how to identify people and reach out. We will also cover the difference between mentorship and the advisory board of directors.

Presenter: Marlen Fernandez Herrera (she, her, ella)
Marlen is the Assistant Director for the Peers for Careers Program at the Starr Career Development Center at Baruch College. She has experience working with undocumented, first-generation, and nontraditional students throughout CUNY. Marlen focuses on career development, job search strategies, and training students to learn resume writing. She is experienced in student program management, building strategic partnerships, team build- ing, community outreach, and grant management. She is a proud first-generation double CUNY alumnus. Marlen earned her bachelor’s degree from Lehman College in Anthropology and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She received her Master of Science in Education at Baruch College in Higher Education Administration.


Careers in Business and Technology
Thursday, April 11, 2024 ; 6:00 – 7:30 PM

Career Services in collaboration with the Student Leadership Conference Committee invite you to explore opportunities in your career field, connect and engage with industry professionals, and build your network. Meet hiring managers and recruiters, learn first-hand about their organizations and job and internship openings, and get pointers on how to position yourself for success. Each online career meet-up session will focus on a specific industry but will be open to current students and alumni from all majors and programs. Sessions will be hosted by the career services team, featuring employers, alumni, and others from around the CUNY SPS community. Join this session to flex the skills you’ve learned throughout this conference.

Presented by: Career Services at CUNY SPS
Career Services assists the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) students and alumni who are seeking a new full-time job, considering a career change, or exploring internship opportunities. They also offer programs to address on-the-job issues, professional development and career assessment needs.