How to Create a Student Networking Night in 10 Hours or Less: A Case Study and Guide
By Bradley Caro Cook, Noy Anisman, Jonah Eisen, Lauren Hayat from ePhilanthropy.com
(Noy, Jonah & Lauren) As student board members at UCLA’s Hillel, we had the idea of launching a student networking night. While we had students who were interested,
we lacked the network of professionals to be mentors for the evening. Therefore, the task of recruiting industry leaders across various industries, with our full class loads, seemed an insurmountable task.
That was when we had the idea of partnering with Career Up Now, which creates intergenerational gatherings and cohorts of emerging professionals and industry leaders based in Jewish learning and wisdom sharing.
Jonah and Noy were members of Career Up Now’s Environment and Sustainability cohort, and Lauren was the incoming UCLA Student President.
(Bradley) Last fall, I was approached by UCLA Hillel’s Director of Student Life, Ben Greenberg. He expressed that students of UCLA Hillel were interested in a Career Networking Night. He said that their current student president, Noy Anisman, was spearheading the initiative.
UCLA Hillel, ranked # 3 nationally for Jewish student life, empowers students to lead and guide the direction of the Hillel. With this model in mind, having launched three cohorts in partnership with UCLA’s Hillel, and given that this was going to be spearheaded by members of the Career Up Now community, I agreed to participate. The only condition was that we establish a scalable model that can be shared with other campuses as a guide on how to launch local networking nights.
Steps to Guide You Through Our Process
(Noy, Jonah, Lauren, Bradley)
The How To: A 10-Hour or Less Guide to Creating Your Student Networking Night
Step 1: Recruit a student leadership task force. This should consist of 5-10 students dedicated to selecting the industries that should be represented, and a dedication to recruiting for the program.
Step 2: Meet with student leadership task force and create a list of the industries and topics for the session.
Step 3: Leverage growth hacking strategies to recruit industry leaders. We specifically sent out a Google Form to 75 industry leaders, yielding 11 industry leader speakers for the evening. Using hypemethodology, we secured the industry leaders within 12 hours of sharing the form.
Step 5: Jewish Incorporation, Design, and Script: A Basic Structure.
Activity 1) Using Career Up Now’s 48 Sensibilities for Professional Success (Cook & Grossman 2018) based upon Mishna 6:6 in Pirke Avot, designed in partnership with Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, we created value cards that we used for an icebreaker activity to frame the evening with Jewish wisdom learning and sharing.
Activity 2) Jewish Wisdom Sharing: Using Career Up Now’s Wisdom Buffet gathering modality based upon the mishna “Who Is Wise, One Who Learns from Everyone” which was piloted in San Francisco and made possible by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation Grassroots Event Program.
For this activity, each of the industry leaders share, in a minute or less, details about themselves, what they do, and their discussion topic. Then students self-selected which group they wanted to be in; they were in that group for 30 minutes. After this 30-minute session, one representative from each group shared a piece of wisdom they gained from the rest of the group.
Activity 3) Closing Activity: With our goal being to have a series of these networking evenings at UCLA Hillel, we designed our closing activity as a qualitative data collection tool. The activity we used was I learned, I wish, I wonder, in which participants were invited to answer each of the aforementioned prompts.
After the activities, individuals, both introverted and extroverted, were interested in going deeper and connecting. Thus, we allowed an additional 30 minutes for networking at the end.
What We Would Change: For our next student networking night we would add a small fee for students. This time around we did it for free, and this caused a discrepancy between enrollment and attendance.
Ongoing Engagement Opportunities
Follow Up Survey: After this experience, we created a follow up survey to gain feedback from participants, which also enabled them the opportunity to join the leadership task force for the next gathering.Data Sharing: Since our goal is that the relationships continue past this networking night, in advance of the program, we gain the students’ and professionals’ permission to share their contact information with each other.
Wisdom Wednesdays: To ensure ongoing engagement, Career Up Now offers Wisdom Wednesdays, a weekly 30-minute online learning session with industry leaders. Through this opportunity, students can engage with ongoing career advancement and Jewish wisdom until we have our next Networking Night in Partnership with Career Up Now.
Next Steps: With the success of this Career Up Now networking night and our other UCLA Career Up Now cohorts, we are excited to continue these in the 2019-2020 academic year with support from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Campus Grants.
(Noy, Jonah, Lauren) As students dedicated to our local Hillel, we are thrilled that we can share the methodology, and we encourage you to leverage the methodology we created as members of the Career Up Now community. We hope that, by sharing our experience, Jewish life on your campus will be strengthened.
(Bradley) At Career Up Now, we believe the way to strengthen local communities is by engaging emerging professionals intergenerationally with industry and community leaders. If you are interested in leveraging Career Up Now’s methodologies or looking for a thought partner, we are here to serve.
Noy Anisman (UCLA ‘19) is a mechanical engineer residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. She served as UCLA Hillel’s president in 2018-2019.
Jonah Eisen (UCLA ‘21), a native of Maryland is majoring in geography and environmental studies and serves on UCLA Hillel’s student board.
Lauren Hayat (UCLA ‘21) is a psychology and communications double major born and raised in the SF Bay Area. She currently serves as UCLA Hillel’s President for the 2019-2020 school year.
BradleyCaroCook, Ed.D. believes in the future of Jewish young adults to advance and repair the world. He is co-founder of CareerUpNow.org, a member of the ROI community, and is dedicated to empowering Jewish emerging professionals through their interests of career advancement and universal Jewish wisdom. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org