The first event for the CWIB members was Hokies on Wall Street, which was hosted at the Citigroup Midtown building. Alumni and current students from Virginia Tech mingled as they chatted about experiences in the business world as well as their college days. A first-time attendee, Jennifer Lee, Consultant at Citigroup, said, “[Hokies on Wall Street] is such a large networking opportunity and when awesome [opportunities like this] come up, you just have to take [advantage of] it.” A group of CWIB members was fascinated by Jennifer’s story, amazed at how she achieved a position at Citigroup after graduating with a degree from the College of Science. She is a strong believer in “doing what you want to do as long as you work hard for it.”
Other alumni mentioned the reason they attended this event was that they could “really feel the Hokie Spirit.” Many women from CWIB would agree, there is just something special about going into the world and feeling at home with the people you’re around because they’re part of the Virginia Tech Community.
As the sun began to shine over the city that never sleeps, the group headed over to the Google Building, sporting blazers, and bright eyes.
After a tour of the 2.9 million-square-foot building (and plenty of pictures on the block-long balcony), CWIB members sat down in a room of the Summer section on the “Four Seasons” themed floor for a panel. The main topics of the Google panel were: finding mentors in college and the workforce, building a personal brand, and overcoming challenges of being a woman in the business world.
“Not all mentors are labeled,” said Ingrid Gonzalez, Head of Sales for Google Cloud. “They can be anyone who is there for you in doubt and gives you opportunities. You will have many challenges [in your career], so make sure you have the right people around you to help you through them.” Suzy Schumer, Strategy and Sales Operations Consultant, advised that “when it comes to building your personal brand, you want to make sure you leave an impact on your interviewer [or client]. Learn what makes you passionate and let them remember you.”
In a lifetime career, we’re bound to run into many challenges. Suzy said, “It is okay to fail. It is okay to cry. Give yourself a moment in private, then gather yourself and get back out there.” As a woman in business, Suzy knows the importance of embracing who you are. “There will be times that you may find yourself as the only woman in the room. Embrace it and be comfortable with yourself.”
After the panel at Google, the women headed to the Citigroup building for a presentation of the early career opportunities at Citigroup and a panel that focused on the recruiting process. When preparing for recruiting, Panelist Nancy Song advises to “Be passionate! Have an open and adaptable mind. Understand what you are being interviewed for.” She also stressed that in your career, “stereotypical networking is not the only way! Build relationships that you already have, like with those you already work with every day. However, don’t be afraid to talk to people, be proactive and look for ways you can help and connect.”
When asked what the best decision they’ve made for their career was, Christina Capitelli responded by saying, “Taking opportunities as they come. Don’t stay static, use opportunities to grow and develop.” Jennifer Lee’s best decision was “Keeping an open mind, you never know until you try.”
Next stop was Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Capital Markets, “a global investment bank that provides focused expertise in banking, finance and capital markets to [clients] around the world.” At RBC, CWIB members and the speakers had an enriching conversation about women and their impact in the corporate world. “The way we [women] respond to situations is different from men, but that makes us no less legitimate: our brains work the same,” said Cara. “We have strengths and characteristics that make us great leaders. You can’t have the same exact people sitting at the table looking at a problem.”
To wrap up the visit, the group was given the privilege of going onto the trading floor for a better idea of what happens at a company such as RBC.
If you haven’t been on a CWIB Trek yet, make a goal to attend next year! You won’t regret the invaluable experience and connections you build in CWIB as well as in the corporate world.