FIMS Career Conference 2018 draws positive reviews

On Friday, January 19, 2018, The Faculty of Information & Media Studies (FIMS), with financial support from the Undergraduate Student Fund (USF), held a career conference for 4th year FIMS students. The conference featured keynote speeches from alumni Larissa Laycock (BA’04), and Devin Golets (BA’15), FIMS Career Services Officer. A series of breakout sessions were led by other notable alum in a range of industries including Entrepreneur & Non-Traditional, Public Policy & Non-Profit, Advertising/Marketing/PR, Journalism/Media Production, Digi Comm & Social Media, and Print & Online Publishing. The conference was held on campus at London Hall.

Gallery: FIMS Career Conference

Photo credits to Josette Joseph, except for images 23, 24, 25.

Emma Coates, FIMSSC president, and Ryan Thompson, FIMSSC Alumni Relations & Graduate Representative, co-hosted the event and served as MCs during the keynote lectures.

The event was organized by a committee that included Emma Coates, Ryan Thompson and Devin Golets, along with Susan Knabe (Associate Dean), Kathie Hess (Manager, UGSS), Meaghan Skinner (Undergraduate Program Assistant), Tracy Fawdry (Alumni & Development Officer), and Becky Blue (Communications & Information Resource Officer).

The event ran smoothly thanks to assistance from Lindsay Sommerauer and Kelly Baxter (Academic Counsellors), and Rachel Ivanyi, Kaitlyn Han, and Sydney Dubin (FIMS Ambassadors). Josette Joseph, Production Coordinator for the FIMSSC, was also on hand taking photos throughout the afternoon.

Kathie Hess, Senior Academic Counselor and Manager of Undergraduate Student Services, conducted an online survey after the event to gather feedback from attendees.

“There were 32 responses to the survey, and the question ‘Would you recommend this event to a third year student for next year?’ received a 100% positive response, which is fantastic. So we’re looking at future possibilities, now, for other events,” said Hess.

Twelve alumni guests attended the event, including:
  • Mike Bickerton (BA’01) – Senior Producer, “The Amazing Race Canada”
  • Erika Casupanan (BA’11) – Communications Strategist, Kijiji
  • Melissa Cheater (BA’06) – Digital Content Manager, Western U
  • Bryan Gold (BA’14) – Entrepreneur, CEO of #paid
  • Jordan Gracey (BA’05) – Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, Volkswagen Group Canada Inc
  • Ann Lamanes (BA’00) – Communications Officer, City of Hamilton
  • Larissa Laycock (BA’04) – Production Executive, Corus Entertainment
  • Alex Paterson (BA’08) – Director, Communications & Operations, Canada 2020
  • Monica Rossa (BA’13) – Account Supervisor, DDB Public Relations
  • Shobhita Sharma (BA’08) – Marketing Communications Specialist + Podcast Co-Host, 3M + Towards London
  • Rob Stewart (BA’08) – Assistant Vice-President, Retail Channel Strategy, Invesco Canada
  • Jennifer Stranges (BA’12) – Corporate Communications, Cystic Fibrosis Canada
  • Dave Thornhill (BA’05) – Publicity Director, Penguin Random House Canada
With the conference over, Ryan Thompson and Devin Golets revisited their experience and provided some thoughts in a brief Q&A.

Question 1: In your role as a member of the planning committee, what were you hoping to achieve through this event?

Ryan: My goal prior to the event was simple: to bridge the gap between FIMS alumni and graduating students to show that amazing people have graduated with a FIMS degree and are out in the real world accomplishing anything they put their minds to. I feel that, especially in FIMS, we are constantly worried about what will happen after graduation, and the question of "What are you doing next year" really haunts people. This event was designed for graduating students to feel a sense of relief about graduating and realizing that there are people out there in the working world doing what they love and utilizing their FIMS degree each and every day.

Devin: My hope was that every student would leave the event with more confidence in their career path, whether that be a better idea of the route they want to take, a discovery of an idea or opportunity they did not realize was available before, or a better understanding of what they need to do to reach their goals. Ultimately, my goal was to hear a reaction that was positive from both the alumni and students, which would indicate that the event was successful and worthy of organizing again next year.

Question 2: Do you feel like the event was a success?

Ryan: Absolutely. I think the success of the event speaks for itself when there were alumni sitting down with graduating students into the late hours of a Friday night, especially when the event officially ended at 9pm. It really just goes to show that our alumni are ready to share their wisdom with current FIMS students, and that our faculty is truly engaged with our alumni and are ready to be inspired at what these grads have already accomplished. I have heard nothing but positive feedback from both the participants and the alumni. The alumni were not only thrilled to be back on campus and reconnecting with each other, they were also excited to share their advice with current FIMS students.

Devin: I think it was. The alumni were thrilled to come back to campus, and they indicated they want to be invited back again in the future. Registration for the event filled, and anecdotally, every student I heard from after the event said that it was very helpful and inspiring. Logistically, things went well too, aside from a few minor tech issues we will resolve for the next time around. We learned a lot through this experience that we can bring to our future events.

Question 3: What was your favourite part of the day?

Ryan: My favourite part of the event had to be sharing the stage with Larissa Laycock, a production executive at Corus Entertainment, when she and I engaged in a "town-hall" style keynote. At first, I was nervous about this style of keynote, but it seemed that the participants really took away the key points of her message. Her insight into "pitching" was truly phenomenal, and gave us really good suggestions on how we should be pitching ourselves both in interviews and while on the job. Pitching yourself/your brand is something that is very under-rated in today's workplace, and is often poorly executed. I think Larissa gave us some helpful tools on how we, as media studies grads, can stand out to employers.

Devin: My favourite part of the day...hard to pick one! Seeing so many students lined up to participate was awesome. Greeting each alumni for the first time was special for me too. I had been in contact with the alumni for weeks, so it was really nice to finally put a face to the name and speak in person rather than email. I sat in on three presentations by the alumni, and it made me so happy to know that our alumni care so much about what they do and how FIMS helped them do it. It gave the students so much confidence, and re-instilled my belief that this faculty is truly special. There's something about the people that come through this program - they are proud of FIMS, thankful for FIMS, and believe in what we're doing here. The personal connection between the alumni and the current students was really obvious, and it seemed like everyone involved was positively impacted by the experience.