Networking and entrepreneurship tips, as well as advice on how to expand yourself on social media without affecting your mental health, were given at the Be Fearless Summit held in Gerri C. LeBow Hall of Drexel University March 15.
The 21-year-old blogger and entrepreneur Alexa Curtis came up with the idea of creating the summit a year and a half ago to bring entrepreneurs and college students together so they could find inspiration and get the tools to leave college and land in their dream jobs.
Within the eight panels of the conference, “How To Crush It in Corporate (and Beyond): An All-Star Executive Panel Gets Real about the Real World” was one of the most highlighted. Moderated by the editor-in-chief of Girl’s Life magazine Karen Bokram, the panel filled with female entrepreneurs included Diana Liberto, CEO of the app WalkMyMind; Christina Tancredi, COO of the music programming content for cable television Music Choice; Josie Brown, director of culture and innovation for Hulu; Amanda Rantuccio, director of brand marketing for Hulu and former WW of marketing communications for Apple; Luci Rainey, senior vice president of consumer marketing and marketing technology for Comcast; and Michelle Cordeiro Grant, CEO and founder of lingerie company Lively.
When asked about what should people do when they do not really know what they want to do for the rest of their lives, Rainey suggested to find the things you like and start asking people within your family and friends’ contacts, through volunteering or internships, and you will surely find a job, as rare as it may be, involving those things you are passionate about.
“I know we are in the world of technology and Instagram but, in the end, what matters are relationships, who you know and who are you gonna meet that are going to further your track in life — may it be personally or professionally,” she added.
After that, the panel was more focused on questions about interviews and how to stand up in a job or internship.
Brown said that the best way to stand out in an interview without being gimmicky is to talk about a passion or a hobby because all resumes that get to her desk for interviews will say around the same things.
“I’m looking for something that I don’t see in anybody’s résume … because I can translate that passion into culture. I can translate that into how you will work with me and my team,” Brown said.
When asked about the most significant mistakes people make when applying or interviewing for a job, all the panelists highlighted different things.
Liberto said that during the interview process she looks for the person, not the robot; because most times people do not show themselves and how they truly are because of nervousness or because they pretend to be a perfect hirable individual that does not really exist.
Tancredi said she dislikes it when people do not ask questions about the job or the team they will be working with because she wants her future workers to have interest in getting along with everyone else in the company in order to move the team forward.
Brown agreed with Tancredi’s point and also added that she highly dislikes when people forget what they wanted to say in an interview because it is unprofessional and shows loss of focus.Rantuccio said that she really values authenticity and the lack of it could be a decisive factor when applying for a job.
“When I ask what your favorite advertisement campaign is, don’t say the ones I’ve worked on, or if your do, tell me why. I wanna see people that bring different perspectives, their own perspective. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know everything. We’re looking for someone that is thirsty to learn,” Rantuccio said.
Rainey said she has a “no drama policy” in her workplace so during the application process she is looking for someone that would keep that aspect with everyone else in the team.
Furthermore, Rainey added that she likes to ask unconventional questions like “how many pizzas do you think are sold in the U.S. every year?” She is not really looking for the correct answer — she does not know it herself — she does this just to see people’s thought and creative processes. She also likes to ask emotional intelligence questions such as, “if I met someone who doesn’t like you, what would they tell me about you?” and she doesn’t like it when people answer dishonestly just to look good. For example, some people have answered her by saying that they are workaholics, but no one is going to say they do not like you because of that, she said. Rainey makes these questions because she wants to empathize and see the human level in her future workers.
Cordeiro Grant, however, said the thing she dislikes the most is when people answer with negativity, especially saying that they want to work for her company because they hated their past boss or co-workers because in Lively they have a “no negativity policy.”
Regarding the perfect way to “seal the deal,” the experts emphasized on sending a follow-up or thank you card or email. They said is important to bring something new to the table to this card by adding an article about something that was talked about in the interview, expand or something that you did not get the chance to say at the moment or to answer something that you could not during the interview; and, besides being pretty obvious, they talked about not sending the same thank you card to different interviews, especially when you have different interviews in various departments of the same company because they compare thank you cards.
Moreover, the panelists encouraged to ask for the job and show interest in getting the position because they were really surprised on how few people do that, as well as asking at the end of the interview if there was something that happened that day that would cause them not to hire that person for that position because it gives people an addressing opportunity and a suggestion for improving the next time.
Regarding negotiating the first salary, Rantuccio suggested researching the market, to know the basic salary and see if you fit into that.
“Be able to, in your mind, articulate salary versus experience because in my own career I got hung up a little when I was moving through the different ranks that I was going through,” Cordeiro Grant said. “I had opportunities where I could make a lot more money that I actually declined for experience and it actually propelled me to make more money later.”
Later on, a freshman student from the audience asked what would be an experience that was necessary to have in order for them to hire a person. Immediately, Rantuccio recommended to research or write something smart and have it published somewhere where you can talk about something that you are really passionate about and connect it to the ideals of the brand you are being interviewed for.
Another of the highlighted panels in the summit was “Mindful Matters.” Moderated by Alexa Curtis, the panel included Gabby Frost, Drexel student, founder and CEO of the suicide prevention non-profit Buddy Project; Rachel Gersten, co-founder of the therapy program Viva Wellness; Brandon Christensen, CEO of the therapy service Modern Therapy; and Daniella Mohazab, founder and CEO of the blog Happy Pill.
The panel had a primary focus on how social media may affect one’s mental health.
Frost emphasized that social media gives people resources, education and a community where they can find out that they are not the only ones going through these struggles and can find strength in like they do with Buddy Project where they pair people as buddies and raising awareness for mental health.
“I first started to know about mental health because of the internet and not in school, which is really messed up. I think kids should hear about mental health in school first and they shouldn’t have to dig up online to get the information they need,” Frost said.
Additionally, she said that it allows people to tell their stories, not only regarding mental illnesses but also other issues and that helps break the stigma around those subjects.
However, Gersten and Christensen talked about how sometimes social media can be toxic because it gives the opportunity to have access to a little part of other people’s lives — including celebrities. This makes people think that everyone they follow is living a glamorous life except them and people tend to forget that what other people post is not 100 percent what their lives are like because people only post the good things, and this perception is extremely toxic.
Consequently, Mohazab said that it is important to understand how to find a balance to use social media in a way that it could be beneficial for your mental health and inspire you without hindering your life.
Likewise, in the panel “How to Build Your Brand on Instagram” where the Head of Content and Beauty Director of Girl’s Life magazine interviewed the host of “Press Send” podcast and influencer Chinae Alexander, a similar topic was touched.
Alexander said that everyone is an influencer in a way, but there is a difference between someone who has a following and someone who has an influence. She pointed out that is important to use the power of having an influence responsibly so issues like toxic social media accounts that have a negative impact on their audience’s mental health do not keep happening, however, this is also partly a job from its public.