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by Amirah Karim

KING5.com

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 7:01 PM

They say, “It's not what you know, but who you know.”
 
Everyone has an awesome story that begins, a friend of a friend, told me…I’m no different and this is definitely one of those stories!

Throughout college, my peers knew me as the “go-to-girl” when it came to knowledge about free resources and social events on campus. But you see… my college experience was a little different from most. As an athlete, I had coaches and faculty support to ensure I had access to those resources whenever I needed them.

After graduation, I quickly discovered what it was like to be in the “real world.”

With my Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Minor in Community Development from Portland State University, I returned home and hit the pavement in search of a career pertaining to my degree.I did what most post-graduates do and posted my resume on every online job board! But my only lead came from a staffing agency that offered me a potential marketing opportunity with a company I never heard of.

I felt so stuck!

Then one day, a friend sent me a text about a free speed mentoring event hosted by the YWCA Gen-Rising committee. I was intrigued by the fact that the mentors were so diverse, and they all worked for prominent corporations, nonprofits and retailers around the city.

I’ve always been the type of individual to value social interaction and the pure bliss that the sweet universe can generate. So, I threw on a semi-casual dress and headed out!
 
Upon arrival I knew CONNEXT would be a different type of networking event.The environment was so welcoming! At the beginning of the event, I signed up for sessions with the mentors I wanted to meet and rotated from one to the next as each session concluded. It was awesome. I connected professionally with mentors but alsobonded with the other attendees.
 
During the last session of the night, I shared a booth with a woman describing her experience working at a local tech company. Coincidently, the staffing agency that contacted me was recruiting for that same company! Based on the positive experience she shared about the company and their product,I felt comfortable accepting the interview with the staffing agency. If I hadn’t attended CONNEXT, I probably never would have accepted the invitation to interview and would have missed out on my current position: contracted with an influential local tech company within the marketing department—a job I love!

I hope my experience enlightens all graduates who feel the real world has no resources! Sometimes you have to put yourself out there to meet new people and receive what the universe is trying to deliver! Since my great experience, I started volunteering with the YWCA Gen-Rising committee because I want to help provide other young leaders with meaningful opportunities to connect, develop and engage, both in the community and in their professional lives.

Be sure to check out our next CONNEXT event! Who knows? You may find your next career! Visit us at our website for more details.
 

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