Southern LEAD-Delta Sigma Pi

This past weekend I had the privilege of traveling with nine of my brothers from the Iota Omega chapter of Delta Sigma Pi to the Southen L.E.A.D Provincial conference. L.E.A.D. stands for Leadership and Excellence Academies for Deltasigs. This conference was a great way to meet new brothers and pledges and to network.

I met some amazing brothers that I plan to keep in contact with. I also had the privilege of meeting and speaking briefly with our Grand Chapter President Mark Chicchiari from the Beta Nu chapter.
I really need to work on my elevator speech because that’s where I personally meet our Grand Chapter President, although it was a quick elevator ride so I can’t blame myself for that.

I’m lucky to be a part of an organization that gives me the opportunity to meet all types of business people. My networks are unlimited!!!

College done differently

For the past 3 1/2 years, college has consumed most of my life. Now that I am two months away from graduating, I realize that there are so many things that I would have done differently. It is too bad that there is not a such thing as a time machine because I would have had the perfect college career, in my eyes ;).

As a freshman, I would have become more involved with on-campus organizations as a freshman. I dabbled in a few activities but I was never consistent with any of them. The only thing I was worried about was classes and my work-study job. Coming from a family of limited means, money meant a lot in my life. I refused to go through college without having the means to buy the things I wanted. I did have a minor marketing internship with a company called OnPoint Media Group as promoting local artists at local venues as well as via social media. After my advisor for my internship left the company, and so did I.

After my first year, I did not do anything to help with my career as a future marketer. I went home for the summer hoping to find a job. That was THE ultimate fail. No one hired me and I ended up spending a lot of money but had no way to earn it back during those three months.

When my sophomore year at UNCG was completed, I successfully obtained a marketing internship with the state of North Carolina. I was the summer travel counselor at The North Carolina Welcome center off I-95 in Roanoke Rapids, NC. This was great because this was a full-time position over the summer while still having quality time with my family. I have to interact with different types of people all over the world. I met two WWII veterans and people from countries such as Canada, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, India, and many others.

All of these tourists would want something to do while they were either in NC or on their way through NC. They had options such as visiting our state capital of Raleigh, where there are many historical buildings and museums to choose from to visit. North Carolina is known for our great bar-b-que so there was is bar-b-que that our tourists could go on or if they were into pottery, they could visit Seagrove, which is our pottery capital. North Carolina has the best of worlds, mountains and sea. Being a marketing major, I could look at a particular party of people and guest the best attraction for them to visit. If there were a mom with three kids running around our center, I would tell them about a local water park in Fayetteville just off the I-95 corridor. If they an older couple were way to Tennessee I would tell them to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway where they would get amazing views of the mountains of NC, especially during Fall when the leaves change colors.

After my first official internship experience, which I got college credit for ;), I realized that there is more out there than just going home from college. My junior year was when I moved out on my own and located in Greensboro. I was more active in college, joining the Legal Professions Association for aspiring lawyers as well as an Iota Omega chapter member Delta Sigma Pi, an international fraternity organized to foster the study of business in universities. Delta Sigma Pi really opened my eyes up to getting more involved within the Greensboro community. I love to volunteer.

As a senior, I recently completed a semester long internship through a company called EdVenture Partners. This company collaborates with universities across the nation to help students get hands-on real-world experience in the marketing field. Our class did a marketing campaign for Terry Labonte Chevrolet for the new Chevrolet Cruze. I was the marketing research coordinator and my group conducted qualitative and quantitative research. We also conducted a focus group that I moderated. Now I am working with two different groups on two different marketing projects. One project, we found a company to market and sell their product to a foreign country. The other project our group is assigned the task of developing a yearlong marketing strategy for a local Triad commercial printing company.

To wrap up my posts I would like to suggest a few things for future college residents to do:

1) Utilize social media for your career. Although social media has been known to be for social aspects, companies now look at your Facebook or Twitter to see if you are conducting yourself in a manner in which the company would agree on. What you post and what you tweet is all being stored by the Library of Congress, even if you erase it later. Once it is on the internet, it is no longer private.

2) Start a blog. I had another blog through another website but I never got the hang of it so I left it alone. To me a blog is like a virtual journal but it is not as intimate because it will be for the public to see. Blogs should be as professional as possible but you can be creative in designing the layout so have fun with it. Express yourself!

3) Always find something productive to do in your downtime. Try to be as productive towards your degree as possible. This could be getting a summer job or summer internship. Traveling could even be productive, but as long as you are learning, to me you are being productive.

4) Use your school’s resources. I really need to listen more to this one myself but it’s too late for me know that I’m graduating in two months. UNCG offers a variety of products and services free (well it is not free, because your tuition pays for it) and many people do not use them. My school’s career services center is a great resource for students interested in obtaining an internship, part-time and full-time jobs, temporary positions, etc. They hold etiquette dinners that I wish I had signed up for and career fairs that I went to every time one was held.

5) Get involved on campus. Going to just classes while you are in college can be boring. It says the only thing you have to look forward to is a quiz or an exam. College life can be fun if you let it! One organization that I would really recommend joining, no matter what school you decide to go to, is your school’s campus activities board. The name can vary (student activities board, campus activities committee, student activities and programs, etc.) This organization is responsible for holding fun activities on your school’s campus such as inflatables, game shows, concerts, comedy shows, hypnotists, and so much more! It is a great way to network and meet great people. It is also a great way to become a leader on campus. I know many people that are in a social fraternity/sorority. My advice for joining those is to do it early on in your college career. This is because you will want to put as much time and work in the organization as possible. In addition, the process of pledging may be time consuming and as an upperclassmen, your core classes are during the last two years of your college career and those two may not mix well.

As I look back on the few years of college, yes I would have done things differently. I would have made more mistakes and gotten lost more but I’m happy with my life and as I look to the future, I know the decisions I’ve made has made me a better personal as well as business woman overall. I’m happy with how I came to be and excited for what the future holds for me and my mistakes I’ve made 😛

National Association of Campus Activities Convention

The 2011 National Association of Campus Activities (or NACA) National Convention was held last week February 19 (my birthday!) through February 23 in St. Louis Missouri.  The theme for this year was “Swing for the Fences.”  The purpose of this convention is to bring different forms of talent together in one building for the potential of being booked on college campuses.  This trip would be a bittersweet experience for me.  This trip would be my first and last NACA nationals for I am a graduating senior but let us get back to the trip.  This trip was an interesting one to say the least.

Let me start from the beginning.  The first day of NACA for our CAB was not starting well.  Our delayed flight to Chicago made us miss our connector flight to St. Louis.  That mistake on behalf of United Airways gave us a chance to experience Chicago while we waited 5 hours for our flight to St. Louis.  I was so excited some of our executive board members did not want to spend the next 5 hours in the airport being bored.

Four out of 11 of us took the tram to downtown Chicago.  As we got off the train, the music of the Djembe drums greeted us.  The man playing the drums saw our jackets, which had “CAB” on the back and started sing just that.  He got us pumped to see the windy city.

Boy was it windy!  As we emerged from the depths of the subway tram, the strikingly cold wind current astounded us!  We could see the heat coming from our mouths!  Now this is coming from southerners who left 60-degree weather back in North Carolina.  Our jackets were not made of fleece so we felt those 33 degrees all too well.

Our journey lead us to the public library of downtown Chicago We went on the ninth floor to see an exhibit of the late Mayor Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago.  We soon left to head back to O’Hara airport before we miss our flight.  As we were walking back to the subway, we took a different route that leads us in clear view of John Marshall Law School.  I was so excited to see it because I was planning a trip there last year with a friend to attend a law forum at that very school.  The law field is an interest of mine but I am now only focusing on the marketing aspect I wish to pursue.

We finally made it to St. Louis but we had missed all of the events for the first day.  Our executive board checked into the lovely Hampton Inn located near the beautiful Gateway Arch.  As we were checking in, the front desk attendant informed us that our rooms were not ready.  To make up for this mix-up the hotel gave everyone complimentary gift cards to the wonderful restaurant “The Drunken Fish.”  They also gave me chocolates, a card, and another gift card to the restaurant the Tigrin just because it was my birthday and we had been through a lot of trouble just getting to St. Louis.

Over the next three days, we saw some fresh talent such as John West, an amazing singer, Joe Wong, a hilarious comedian, and Carlos Robson, the best poet I’ve seen at NACA, and those are just a few of the great talented people I’ve met during my experience in St. Louis.  Our keynote speaker for NACA was Collins Tuoghy, who is the adoptive sister of Michael Oher from the book-made movie “The Blind Side.”  She gave a very inspiring address about how we should approach the world with an open mind and not be afraid to speak to people whom we pass by every day.

At NACA, we just do not view showcases of different roving artists.  We also attend educational sessions.  I attend several educational sessions but one really stuck out to me the most and also inspired me to start a blog.  That Ed session titled “Social Media’s Impact on My Job Search: Connection, Validation, and Perspective.”  The presenters were Rebecca Flick and Mike Severy from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  This was an amazing session.  They spoke about using social media in a professional way.  Your twitter name should be as close to your real name as possible.  That is why I changed mines to @Johnson_Cassie.  Your bio on twitter is also an important aspect to alter if you want potential employers to look at you outside of the workplace.  Basically, keep everything professional as possible but be yourself!

Even though I got to ride to the top of the Gateway Arch, the tallest man-made structure in the United States (630 feet tall), I was still not fully satisfied with my experience in this beautiful city.  On my last day, I got up early and decided to explore the city just to myself.  My camera died so I twicpic everything I took pictures of including the Gateway Arch, Busch stadium, center city park, the old courthouse, beautiful city hall, and the St. Louis Soldiers Memorial Military Museum.  Exploring on my own was perhaps the best experience I had in Missouri.

Even with a great trip, United Airways once again messed up our flight.  We flew from St. Louis to Washington D.C.  Our flight to Greensboro was canceled as we were about to board the plane back.  We decided to drive from D.C. to Greensboro, a five-hour drive, and it was already 8pm.  United Airways was the reason I did not make class the next day.

I will be forever thankful for all of the experience I had with the duration of my trip to NACA, good and bad.  It will help shape me to be a better person, personally and professionally.