JSU Students Get Linked

November 2, 2012

The Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce held an event Tuesday, October 30th, at the Hampton Inn in Jacksonville. This event was created to help our local college students with their networking skills and or them to have an opportunity to meet with some of the local area professionals, asking them questions about the business world. The professionals included a five member Greg Brown from B.R. Williams, Tommie Goggans from CMA, Margaret Roberts of Wells Fargo Bank, Amie Hinton of Lagarde Properties, and Anna Marie Moore from ERA King.

The topic of the night was leadership, and students were encouraged to ask the panel questions they have about entering the job market, interviewing, and other business related topics they might have. After a brief introduction, the panel was asked to define leadership. Tommie Goggans response to this was, “Take initiative and solve problems.” Amie Hinton defined it as, “helping motivate people and others to achieve.” Margaret Roberts defined leadership as “taking that chance, even when you do not think you will succeed. Challenge yourself.” Anna Marie Moore’s definition was a quote from the former Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, “You cannot ask someone to follow you unless you know how to follow yourself.”

After each member of the panel gave a brief description of themselves and their definitions of leadership, the students were then given the floor and were encouraged to ask the panel questions they might have. One of the questions asked by an attending student was asking the panel to give them pointers on how to improve their leadership skills, while still in college. Mrs. Moore simply said, “Sit in the front of the class and be assertive.” Mr. Brown said “to be a lifelong learner.” Mr. Goggans encouraged students to “work on writing, communication and presentation skills,” Mrs. Roberts replied “Put forth the extra effort in clubs, groups, and extra activities. Do not settle for mediocre.”

The panel was also asked of, by the students, many of whom are soon to be graduates, an insider’s view on the interviewing process. The students wanted some helpful hints and lists of “Do’s and Don’ts” from a professional outlook. Greg Brown said, “Do your homework, think ahead about the types of questions the interviewer will ask you, and have intelligent questions to ask them.” Amie Hinton replied, “Dress appropriately, do not chew gum, know your weaknesses, and be prepared to talk about them, but most important write a hand written thank you note to the person, who interviewed you.” “Be prepared to give specific tasks and the end results of things you have accomplished in the past, which  make you qualified for the job”, said Mrs. Roberts. Mrs. Moore added, “Pay attention to the news and world events, so you can make intelligent small talk.” Mr. Goggans responded, “Be professional in your attire. Shoes need to be shined, use Listerine, don’t do or wear things that will create a distraction, start off with a “clean slate,” and a good first impression.

For upcoming juniors and seniors, another topic that was discussed was when would be a good time to start applying for jobs. The students wanted to know if there ever was too early of a time to get started in their job search. Mr. Brown’s comment to this was “the sooner the better.” “I don’t think it’s ever too early to make those connections, with internships and doing things to make you visible to potential employers. Start building your skill sets,” replied Tommie Goggans.

After the question and answer section of the gathering was finished, and students were given the opportunity to meet and mingle with our panel and enjoy our appetizers, some of the students met with our intern to answer some questions about what they thought the best part of the evening was. Michael Bradford, a junior at Jacksonville State University, said it was when Tommie Goggans said to “admit when you are wrong, “and that there is nothing wrong with not knowing everything. Brandon Clark ,junior at JSU, said he learned about leadership, and some tools to help him in better refining his leadership skills, and some “do’s and don’ts” about interviewing. Lazarious Hutchinson confessed that, after listening to the panel, he is no longer afraid to travel for a job opportunity. Alex Baker, junior at JSU, said he learned that it is beneficial to ask questions at the end of the interview. Last but not least, Casey Walker, a senior in finance, said the best part of the evening for him was being able to gather business cards from the panel and other chamber members that attended the meeting, passing out his resume to potential employers, networking, and to ask business professionals questions that students do not normally have the opportunity to ask.

One can watch the full video of this event online on the Chamber’s USTREAM channel at http://www.ustream/tv/channel/calhounchamber.com. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to have this event every semester to benefit the students and Chamber members on the panel to giving them a variety of networking opportunities. So, if you had a great time or didn’t get a chance to come to this meeting then we hope to see you at our next event! Thank you to the Hampton Inn for hosting this networking opportunity, JSU Career Services for providing drinks, and Heroes Grill for providing          hors d’oeuvers. Thanks to those contributors, our panel, and attendees, this event was a success!

For more information, contact the Chamber at 256-237-3536 or via email at info@calhounchamber.com.



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