SOAR Summit 2020
This past January, campus buzzed with excitement as students, alumni, faculty, and staff gathered for SU’s new Skills, Opportunities, Action, and Results (SOAR) summit. Organized by Southwestern’s award-winning Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD), this immersive event introduced sophomores to career-management skills, such as effective self-marketing in résumés and interviews. SOAR’s keynote speakers—including We and Me Inc. cofounder Chad Littlefield, etiquette expert Diane Gottman, digital marketing expert John Grimshaw, and former NFL coach Daron K. Roberts—discussed how to build a professional network and use proper dining etiquette. Students also connected with nationally renowned industry experts as well as Southwestern alumni.
Alexandra Anderson, associate director of the CCPD, appreciates the energy of a “group of students participating in these things together.” That dynamic, she adds, was only enhanced by the participation of SU alumni. “We always have extremely generous alumni who come out of the goodness of their hearts to help students throughout the year,” she says. “Th[at] connection between the students and alumni is one of the things I value about my job here.”
The CCPD provides resources and individual consulting on topics such as writing an effective LinkedIn profile and applying for internships and graduate school. But the annual SOAR summit is a unique program because it is intensive, enabling students to focus solely on career development for two full days. Moreover, scheduling SOAR outside the academic year means that the conference is not “taking away from any of the other experiences they’re having in their classes, in sports and arts, and in jobs they might have,” Anderson says. “In fact, it will build on those experiences.”