Annual Diversity Recruitment Panel & Networking Event
Designed to help students learn about companies that are committed to diversity in the workplace, the Diversity Recruitment Panel & Networking Event held on October 21, 2016 featured 11 employers and over 50 students. Some of the largest student organizations on campus such as the Philippine United Student Organization (PUSO), the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP), and Kappa Sigma Fraternity, also attended.
Organized by Stony Brook University Career Center’s Kimberly Joy Dixon, Assistant Director of Employer Relations and Diversity, the event is one of many Career Center events and programs* devoted to “enhancing the campus community in consideration of the persistent issues of inequality in society.”
Featuring panel discussions and open networking, the event showcased company representatives from our Partnership Council, such as Janae Williams from Target, Luz Cuevas-Santos from Canon, Elizabeth Perry from Options for Community Living, Sondra Thomas from Broadridge, and Jackie Moore from GEICO. Other companies and organizations present at the event included American Association of Advertising Agencies, Enterprise Holdings, EverBank, Travelers, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Company representatives hoped to convey, as panelist Elizabeth Perry, Senior Program Supervisor at Options for Community Living eloquently puts, the importance of diversity: “Diversity is not a buzz-word or business strategy. It is an aspect of a company’s culture. If an individual feels that working with diverse people is something that is important for his/her enrichment and job satisfaction, they should seek out companies that value it.”
Likewise, Ana Tavares, Canon USA’s Vice President of Finance and Accounting and the event’s keynote speaker, wanted to emphasize the importance of diversity through three pillars: “Love, Values, and Diversity.” She elaborates these three pillars in relation to a student’s career choices: “If you love what you do, it will be more than a job. Try to work for an organization that has a set of values and corporate culture that aligns with your personal values. Cultivate relationships with people who have diverse life experiences.”
Student response to the event was overwhelmingly positive. James Kho had the opportunity to network with several Canon professionals, one of which was Canon’s Ana Taveras, as well as reconnect with T. Howard to learn more about their application process. He says, “Learning about what each company was looking for was helpful. I will use many of the tips and tricks they provided in my next interview. I also learned crucial insight on each organization’s cultures.”
Similarly, Sanella Orahovac, a senior in business management and marketing, had the opportunity to network with Canon’s social media specialist, who provided Sanella insights on effective social media marketing skills. Kathleen Hoe shared a table with Canon, which gave her the opportunity to casually connect throughout the event. After the panel was over, she also talked to representatives from T. Howard, Geico, and Target.
As GEICO representative Janice Nussbaum praises, “The event was very successful. All the panelists were open and true regarding their experiences, which served as an excellent ice-breaker for conversation. The round-robin like feel of the event and the opportunity to speak and network with all in attendance was wonderful.” And as T. Howard’s Doreen Thomas states, “It was a fantastic experience working with the Career Center, who has a zeal for their students that is incomparable.”
Kimberly Joy Dixon Honored by the Multiple Awards for her Efforts in Pioneering Diversity Career Preparation Programming.
Kimberly Joy Dixon is the Career Center’s Assistant Director of Employer Relations, specializing in Business & Diversity Recruitment. She plays a crucial role at the Career Center, as she is responsible for soliciting, maintaining, and enhancing employer relationships to increase job and internship availability for SBU students, finding and developing diversity-related opportunities for SBU’s underrepresented talent, and working with students interested in various business career paths.
Kimberly is recognized in her awards for her multifaceted responsibilities as well as her numerous programs, one program being the Diversity Professional Leadership Network (DPLN). DPLN was created to address the challenges many underrepresented students have in enhancing career development and finding internships and job opportunities. This program assigns students of color to professional mentors in their career interest area, helping them increase their knowledge of industries and sharpen their soft skills. At the end of the program, students are guaranteed an interview with their host company.
Created in 2008, student participation in the program grew more than five times in nine years, with that number doubling from 2015 to 2016 alone. Student response to the program is both supportive and positive. As one student proclaimed in Kimberly’s SUNY Chancellor Award nomination letter, “I’m really glad I got the opportunity to be a DPLN student. Not only did I learn so much about the importance of networking with professionals and other students, but I learned I can effectively and successfully advocate for myself in professional settings. Because of DPLN, I am graduating with a full-time job, something I was not expecting when I started this program.”
Employer response to Kimberly’s work is also overwhelmingly positive. For her diversity career preparation work, the Career Center received the INROADS 2007 and 2011 “Educator of the Year Award” as well as the SUNY Career Development Organization (SUNY CDO) 2016 “Committee’s Quality Program Award.” As Cheryl Hamilton, Director of the EOP Program writes, “The value she has brought to the University and the lives of students cannot be measured… Kimberly’s efforts have changed the lives of so many students.”
Among other initiatives, Kimberly also works to maintain and broaden the Career Center’s network of agencies, some of which include INROADS, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, the T. Howard Foundation, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. These recruitment agencies work to connect underrepresented students with companies that do not hire directly from SBU. Additionally, in the last year alone, Kimberly coordinated 67 corporate participants in the On Campus Recruitment program, which involved more than 9,000 applicants and 1,600 individual corporate interviews.
Kimberly’s efforts in pioneering diversity career preparation for underrepresented students was recently honored by several awards, one of which is the 2016 SUNY Outstanding Student Affairs Program Award in the International, Multicultural, Cultural, Gender, LGBTQ, Spirituality, Disability, and related category. Presented annually, this award recognizes Kimberly’s program as having a “significantly positive impact on students and their development, improving the overall quality of the student experience on campus.”
Kimberly was also awarded the 2016 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. This award is annually presented to SUNY staff across its 64 campuses who demonstrate “consistently superior professional achievement and serve as professional role models for a University system in pursuit of excellence.” Nominated by Dr. Marianna Savoca, Director of the Career Center, Kimberly is recognized for her immense contributions and dedication to the Career Center and SBU students.
Marianna praises: “Kimberly Joy Dixon has been a tremendous asset to Stony Brook University. She is dedicated and caring, a mentor and role model for many students and staff within and outside the Career Center. Her incredible skill set, her passion for student development, and her outstanding stewardship of corporate and alumni relationships have made a significant and lasting impact on Stony Brook University.”
In response to her two 2016 awards, Kimberly humbly said, “It is wonderful to have my work and efforts recognized by the State of New York. At my core I am a connector and developer of people, and all that I do at the Career Center is for these efforts. I love what I do and am happy and grateful that my contributions have been a benefit to Stony Brook University students and employers.”
Learn more about Kimberly Joy Dixon here: http://career.stonybrook.edu/career-center-staff/kimberly-joy-dixon
The Career Center is dedicated to educating and preparing students for their future careers, and to connecting hiring organizations with our diverse student and alumni talent. Visit us at the foot of the Zebra Path or online at stonybrook.edu/career.