On Wednesday, November 6, Liggett hosted an alumni networking session to give the seniors an opportunity to speak with adults in the community about professions, experiences, possible outreach opportunities, and possible project ideas.
Daniel Ngoyi was among the younger alumni who spoke to the students.
The goal was to enlighten our seniors about the importance of educational and professional networking by modeling the process with the Liggett community. In return, the alumni heard about current Upper School programs and saw the new Middle School. Each of the alumni sat with a group of seven students to share their journey and stories for approximately 10 minutes, at which time they moved to another table of seven students.
Stacy Buhler discussed advertising, a career she loves, but not one she expected.
Senior Austin Sasser explained the benefits to the rotating program: “Today, I learned mostly about how connections are very important for the future. All the alumni came from different backgrounds (besides Liggett), which was really interesting to hear about. They also talked about how being nervous for college is okay because in the end, it’s a wonderful experience.”
Alumni who participated were
Stacy Buhler ’82 Advertising, W Magazine
Pahl Zinn ’87 Law, Dickinson Wright
Ian Jones ’86 Publishing, Autoweek
William Burns ’93 Engineering, Marines
Lauren Parrott ’02 Television Operations, WMTV
David Keys ’07 Accounting, Grant Thornton
Daniel Ngoyi ’06 Recruitment, Quicken Loans
Robert Levi ’68 GPUS Law, Private Practice
Doug Wood ’90 Financial Planning, Wells Fargo
The varied professions and graduation years added dimension to the experience; all of the students heard something insightful.
Pahl Zinn offered advice.
Senior Anthony Simon explained, “The alumni gave us a good understanding of life after Liggett and how to pursue your goals in college and out in the real world.” And senior Vinnie Scarfone stated, “Today I enjoyed the experience very much. I learned that you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do right out of high school and college, to keep an open mind, and to network to open up connections for opportunities.” While senior Tiana Whitely took away a different message, “I found the session to be helpful overall because we had the opportunity to hear a wide spectrum of experiences. One piece of advice that I found to be most helpful was from Mr. Ian Jones. He told us, and I loosely quote, “Instead of planning your life starting from now to where you want to end up, start backwards from where you want to end up and find the path to get there. That way you won’t end up with a result that doesn’t satisfy you.”
Our helpful alumni were full of advice.
Senior Julia DeRoo appreciated a story of changes in direction, “One of the biggest things I learned from all the alumni was that plans might change, but it is important to do something fulfilling to you. I specifically liked meeting with Stacy Buhler. She graduated from college with a degree in political science and Spanish but now is in advertising. I thought it was interesting how different her job is from what she majored in in college, and even though her job isn’t what she was expecting it to be, she still loves it.”
In the end, we achieved the goal of the session, which was to allow the students to understand the value of educational and professional networking. Senior Joshua Dickens explained what he discovered from the session saying, “The experience was very eye-opening for me. I realize now how important and helpful networking can be once I get out of college. I also understand how easy it could be to just pick up a phone and call someone to ask for help or advice.”
The students, alumni and faculty all seemed to walk away feeling that they had gained true insights into each other, and the alumni remarked that they learned as much from the students as the students did from them.
These networking sessions are planned as a more frequent project for the future, and a session for the spring is in the works now. If you are an alumnus who would like to speak with our students please contact Savannah Lee in the Office of Alumni Relations at 313.884,4444, Ext. 415 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Shernaz Minwalla,
Director of the Advanced Research Project