Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Prospanica National Conference and Career Expo in Las Vegas. I am honored to be a part of the fellowship for the second year. I got to connect with other MBAs and undergrad business students from all over the country who share my passion in empowering the Latino community. Both at our schools and across the business world.
This four-day event was full of different learning sessions. Employers joined from across the nation who are all committed to being leaders in Latino empowerment in business. Topics ranged from Building Leadership and Management Styles, Spreading the joys of Allyship, Emotional and Cultural Intelligence, and DE&I and Breaking Barriers. Throughout the week, there was a range of inspiring keynote speakers. For example, Diana Flores, captain and QB for the Mexican flag football team, spoke on her journey as a woman of color in a male dominated industry and about overcoming barriers to reach her goals. I also heard from Kevin Greene, a former NFL player, Kat Lazo, director, producer, and host, and other leaders in diversity and inclusion. They spoke about how using our identities as a superpower was crucial to our success as future Latino leaders in business. The conversations sparked throughout these events will help develop my future and current leadership roles and how I can make an impact on others.
As part of the fellowship, we had early access to different career growth learning sessions and heard from leaders, many of whom sat in our shoes years before us. There was an emotional intelligence session held by Elvis Cordova, explaining the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace, including the emotional wheel and reframing emotions. There was a panel of leaders from Vanguard who spoke on their own experiences about life after business school and what the transition will be like for many of us very soon. Hearing from these leaders sparked curiosity and inspired thoughts that will be critical to my leadership development throughout my career. There was also the opportunity to exchange ideas, passions, interests and share our experiences with other students across different schools. With students from all over the country, from a variety of different schools and programs, this space allowed us to foster and build connections that will continue to impact our journeys throughout the MBA and beyond.
On the third day of the conference, Prospanica hosted the career expo, where we got access to over 80 different companies who came to Prospanica to recruit Latino students for a variety of different positions. The career expo lasted all day and gave students time to make introductions, discover companies they may not have previously considered, and facilitate crucial conversations that could lead to next steps and interviews for recruitment. The more intimate setting for this career expo allowed for enough face time with recruiters and professionals from companies ranging from Merck to Vanguard to Constellation Brands, many of which are located farther from the UW Campus. It was an essential part to build my network with companies and other HR professionals who are equally committed to uplifting our community. It also expanded my network of Latino professionals, giving me role models and mentors to look up to and aspire to in the future.
Lastly, in my second time attending this conference, I further nurtured connections I’ve made across my MBA experience. From other MBA students I’ve kept in touch with, to industry and other HR professionals, to mentors who have truly shaped my MBA and career path thus far. Last year, I had met many students and reconnected with them this time around, exchanging stories and experiences over our MBA journeys for the past year. I reconnected with professionals that I met last year and updated each other on further learnings over the past year. I nurtured the network and relationships I had built over the past year with mentors in the community who have truly shaped my MBA journey and as a result my career path. To be able to attend the Prospanica National Conference and Career Expo for the second time was an experience I could not be more grateful for and honored to be part of. Prospanica continues to be an organization that fuels my motivation throughout my MBA journey, inspiring me to be a better leader, and reminds me to be the most authentic version of myself every day.