Five former Brookdalians returned to campus on May 5 for the Brookdale Alumni Association’s new Career Connections initiative, speaking with current students and offering advice about transferring, job searches, internships, professional development and the importance of networking.
The panelists included: Michael Arnone, director of sales and marketing for St. James Point in Grand Cayman; James Farney, currently in his final year in the MBA program at Seton Hall University; Roy Lamana, entrepreneur and music video producer for bands such as Fall Out Boy, The Killers and Justin Bieber; paralegal with the Merlin Law Group and founder of NJParalegal.com; and Joseph Serrani, communications professional with Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness.
The group, representing graduates of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels, took individual questions from the audience and spoke frankly about their successes and setbacks since graduating from Brookdale. They also provided pointed advice for those students who were only a week away from graduation and about to embark on a new academic and professional journey.
“In general, be ready to try,” said Farney, a 2013 graduate. “The greatest leaders of the world did not get there without taking a leap of faith, and when you transfer you will be challenged both inside and outside of the classroom. Your ability to try with determination will set you out from the crowd, while ensuring that you are building the foundation for future growth and success.”
Panelists also described their own journey to and through Brookdale. Lopez, a 1995 graduate, said she developed an interest in law while working in the legal department for Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) in her early twenties. After attending a Brookdale Open House and meeting with faculty member Dorothy Secol, Lopez decided to give the paralegal life a shot.
“Dorothy inspired me and continues to be a mentor and colleague in the field to this day,” said Lopez. “Joe Zavaglia was my instructor for many classes, and he as well is now a colleague and someone I go to for information and advice on the current trends in our profession… I was working full time and was able to attend classes at night and also take quick six-week semesters and gather up my credits that much faster. After graduation and to this day, Brookdale and the Paralegal Studies Department support my career and vision for the paralegal profession.”
That spirit of “paying it forward” was echoed by many of the panelists, including Farney.
“Leaders do not just lead, they develop,” Farney said. “You can lead someone to do something but if you do not give them, or yourself, the opportunity to grow and develop you are being counterproductive. Your greatest asset will be your ability to see potential and foster the growth of it.”
The program was co-sponsored by Career and Leadership Development and the Office of Student Life and Activities.
Learn more about the panelists and the Career Connections program here.
Learn more about the Brookdale Alumni Association and the benefits of becoming a member here.