The Launch - FIMS Career Conference 2020 Recap

On Friday, January 17, 2020, The Faculty of Information & Media Studies (FIMS), with financial support from the Undergraduate Student Fund (USF), held its third annual career conference for graduating FIMS students. The conference featured a keynote speech from alumna Liz Trinnear (BA’10), followed by a Q&A with Trinnear and fellow alumna Monica Rossa (BA’13). A series of breakout sessions were led by other notable alumni in a range of industries such as Entrepreneur & Non-Traditional, Public Policy & Non-Profit, Advertising/Marketing/PR, Journalism/Media Production, Digital Communication & Social Media, and Print & Online Publishing. The conference was held on campus at London Hall. The whole event was kicked off with opening comments from Associate Dean Susan Knabe and FIMS Dean Lisa Henderson, who provided a warm video welcome to alumni and students.

Gallery: FIMS Career Conference

Photo credits: Max Shay (photos 3, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25). Kathie Hess (photos 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 19, 20, 21)

Student Aleah Balas, FIMSSC Alumni & Graduate Representative, feels the event was a success, though she admits she may be biased, as one of the conference organizers.

“Quantitatively, it was a huge success as proven by our registration being sold out and having so many alumni speakers with us, but in a qualitative way, it was evident that students enjoyed themselves and were really engaged with the speakers,” Balas says.

“Since the event I have had so many classmates who attended tell me about connecting with alumni on LinkedIn or implementing advice that they were given into their career search; to me, that makes the work on this event worth it. Giving my classmates the ability to establish connections and discover new perspectives was my goal and I think that we definitely achieved that.”

Gratitude is owed to this year’s alumni guests:

Howard Fremeth (BA’03) – Director of Communications, Business Council of Canada
Danielle Kelly (BA’03) – Strategic Communications Lead, Government of Ontario, Children, Youth & Social Services I&IT Cluster
Eugene Gutierrez (BA’06) – Account Director, Cineplex Digital Media
Antonia McGuire (BA’04) – Web Communications Advisor, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (BA’12) – Senior Researcher, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Monica Rossa (BA’13) – President, Rossa PR
Andrea Stranges (BA’16) – Account Executive, BBDO
Max Specht (BA’15) – Associate Creative Designer, Artifakt
Thaly Tapia (BA’12) – Manager, Corporate Partnerships, Toronto International Film Festival
Liz Trinnear (BA’10) – TV Personality, ETALK, Bell Media
Cat Williams (BA’15) – Digital Producer, Entertainment Tonight Canada
Ari Zilnik (BA’11) – Lead Product Designer, Gradle, Inc.
Rachel Wong (BA’16) – Field Sales Manager, Uber Eats

Balas feels that personal contact with the alumni, and hearing their career-oriented stories, was particularly valuable for graduating students who will soon be out in the job market.

“In a classroom setting for the past four years, many of us have become aware of the types of careers that we might be interested in, but to have an actual graduate of our program be able to tell us first-hand about their experiences adds another dimension to our understanding of what we will be entering in the next few months. For many students, the value was in the potential careers that they had not even considered and the conference was a window into how they can use their degree in unanticipated ways,” she says.

The event was organized by a committee that included Balas, Maddie Asta (FIMSSC Advocacy Commissioner) and alumna Monica Rossa, 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 Ally Dawson (Academic Counsellors), Ava Thompson and Katie Marnoch (FIMS Ambassadors), Matt Ward (Computing Services), Paul Buckley-Golder (Production Specialist) and Ellen McGran (Broadcast Support Assistant). Thanks also to MIT student Max Shay, who served as conference photographer, and former Career Services Officer Devin Golets (BA’15), who returned to offer his support.

Planning has already begun for next year’s Career Conference 2021.