By Nikayla Goddard, October 28 2020—
The Haskayne Networking Café allows for the crafting of mentorship between students and industry professionals to kickstart connections and offer students real advice and insight.
Kimberley Dart, manager of the Haskayne Career Development Center, spoke of the value of this new networking service that acts in partnership with Ten Thousand Coffees, a matching mentorship program, and with the help of a donation from RBC.
“With the move to virtual learning and COVID, it was very important for us to find a way to help our students continue networking,” she said. “Networking is a big part of the job search process, especially in business, but really for everybody.”
Haskayne students, alumni and employer or industry partners create a profile on the platform, add their majors, interests and industries and then indicate whether they are seeking to ask questions or there as a resource. Monthly, the platform matches students with an alumnus or industry professional, and they are then able to connect.
Dart says that it’s a longstanding platform that she has personally also used in the past and enjoyed.
“From a personal level, those discussions have been so enriching. Meeting other people who understand what I do, the challenges that I have, and being able to bounce ideas off of them […] has been fantastic.”
The industry professionals consist of previously-involved people with the Haskayne Career Development Center, including employers, volunteers and networking event attendees to continue their engagement with the mentorship process.
“They were very keen on joining to help us out,” Dart said. “We currently have about 80 industry professionals already registered, some are alumni, some aren’t. Some of our contacts have passed out [the invite] through the organization, so it’s been really well received.”
The program was launched to industry professionals in September, and once the program has met their target goal for industry professionals they will open it up officially to students. A soft-launch with an initial round of matching took place last month as well, resulting in six connections of fifteen introductions.
“I’m more impressed with the resiliency of our students this year,” Dart praised. “How open-minded they’ve been, accepting the changes and their engagement with us has increased, and I think it’s because it’s easier for them to connect with us now that they don’t have to come into an office. […] I know it sucks for so many people having to do virtual, but I think it’s fantastic that we’ve been able to continue on with all our programming despite that huge change.”
For more information on the program and updates on the official launch, check out the Haskayne Networking Café website.