By Brett Kinzel, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, The Ohio State University
Night for Young Professionals at The Ohio State University is a valued tradition for students in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) club, in cooperation with Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal, organizes this event for an evening to discover new opportunities, network and grow professionally. The room was full of about 110 students in attendance who got to enjoy a dinner from City Barbeque and to speak with the events sponsors, Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.
Ashley Tate, ACT leadership committee chair thanked everyone who showed up “dressed for success and ready to discover a field of opportunities,” during her welcome. Joel Penhorwood, video manager for Ag Net Communications introduced Julia Brown from Ohio Soybean Council to give some advice on professionalism.
“Always come with questions,” Brown said. “It’s always awkward when you get to the end of the interview and the interviewer asks, ‘Do you have any questions for us?’ and the person doesn’t have any.”
Brown reminded students to always come prepared to an interview whether it be with questions or information on the company.
Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Dr. Cathann A. Kress served as the kickoff speaker for the event.
“This college is the cornerstone of The Ohio State University that has a significant legacy,” Kress said. “It’s going to be this college that figures out when others start to worry about what’s happening next because these are the people who roll up their sleeves and they get to work. We’re enormously proud that that’s our legacy.”
Kress said her biggest hope is that the students go out and recognize that we need each other and can’t do anything alone as an industry.
“Your careers are going to be long, and they are probably going to take some twists and turns,” Kress said. “I promise you that what will help you will be all those friendships, relationships, the networking that you’ve done throughout your life.”
Kress ended the kickoff by reassuring each student that the college and the dean are all rooting for them. Following Kress’s speech, attendees were dismissed to breakout rooms of their choice.
Breakout rooms included:
• Entrepreneurship panel — Advice from professionals Kevin Wendt, the president of The Wendt Group, Inc., Stacie McCraken, founder and CEO of McCraken Consulting, and Phillip Farmer, Chief Innovation Officer of Tennessee Farmers Cooperative.
• Build your brand — Advice from Meghann Winters-Rowe, Senior Account manager at Inspire PR Group on how to professionally brand yourself.
· Resume and LinkedIn workshop with Katie Brown, Senior Recruiter for AgHires and Taylor Embry, Recruitment and Engagement Manager for AgHires
• Personal finance for emerging professionals — Tips on to manage your finances as a college student with Micah Mensing, Customer Education Manager for Farm Credit Mid-America.
The night ended Penhorwood asking attendees something that they learned from their breakout rooms and Tate giving one last thank you before ACT handed out giveaways.