Being remote might have its drawbacks but one silver lining continues to be the access to people and their diverse input, whether they’re halfway around the world or in the same city. This virtual accessibility was on display at the Flintridge Prep career networking event held on Zoom on December 21, 2020.
Co-hosted by the Parents Internship Network (PIN) program and Director of Alumni Relations Jacqueline Epley Tegart ’97, the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Career Networking Mixer brought together 35 career mentors with 30 GOLD alumni and current Prep seniors, giving unfettered access to parents and alumni mentors working in a variety of fields ranging from law to consumer products, science, education, engineering, technology, government, and architecture.
Usually held on campus during the blitz of winter alumni events, this evening was successfully recast in a virtual setting, with attendees getting the chance to speak directly with mentors in intimate virtual breakout rooms.
“We always love seeing our alumni who travel to our winter events on campus, but this year, with everything being virtual, our networking event had alumni and parent mentors attending from all over the country, from Colorado, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania, to New Orleans and Santa Clara,” Tegart said.
“What’s behind this event is the PIN program, which is parents’ and alumni’s commitment to Prep for Life and our role in assisting the community in their career endeavors, whether they’re starting out or changing careers,” said Head of School Jim Pickett in his opening remarks that evening.
Now in its eighth year, the networking program has helped Prep alumni obtain more than 100 internships through a wide network of alumni and parents.
Charles Ginn P ’21 ’24, chair of the PIN Committee, thanked alumni and “near alumni” for their interest in learning about career fields and practicing the art of networking. “Whether you’re still in college or are thinking of a career change, it’s never too early or too late to take advantage of the Prep network,” Ginn noted.
Age really is just a number when it comes to offering career advice.
Take Grady Willard ’14, who joined Najeeb Khoury ’95 P’26 and Trina Unzicker P’19 ’25 in discussing careers in government, public policy, and politics.
Willard works for Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, a Democratic political consulting firm. Khoury, a lawyer by training, is executive director of the City of Los Angeles Employee Relations Board and a state fact finder. Unzicker has worked in various capacities for the City of Los Angeles, and is currently commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Audit Division.
Recent graduate Ryan Waldheim ’20 asked the trio about the communication skills needed for their jobs. Each panelist brought a unique perspective to the question, with Willard noting that sometimes data needs to be “spun” to further a campaign’s larger goals. Unzicker, on the other hand, must avoid spin in her job. Because her responsibilities lie in accountability and transparency, it is important to be quick and efficient. “The more words you say, the more it can seem like you’re trying to avoid a question,” Unzicker noted.
Over in the law breakout session, Richard Jefferson P’26, a partner with Metal Law Group, and Uzzell Branson ’00 discussed the importance of written communication in law, working in large firms versus boutique ones, and finding variety and stimulation in the legal profession.
“Lawyers are slow as a whole to adopt new technology and new ways of thinking,” Branson shared, but added that the law allows you to constantly learn something new. “When you have a long career, you want to enjoy what you do every day.”
Within all of the various sessions that evening, each of the speakers reminded their younger counterparts that there is no single path to career success and happiness. Andrew Crowell P ’18, who spoke at the banking and finance session, offered sage words: “Whatever you choose, it should be something that gets you out of bed every day with a sense of purpose.”
If you’re a young alumni or current Prep senior, check out the available internships at www.fpfcinternships.com. PIN is always looking for mentors and internship hosts. If you're a Prep parent or alumni, reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.