Chris Eldridge, '12, gives the keynote presentation to kick off the 2016 Career Symposium
Friday afternoon over 150 current students and over 60 alumni gathered for the eighth annual career symposium hosted by The Office of Alumni and Family Relations and the Office of Career Development. Keynote speaker Chris Eldridge, ’12, a St. Mike’s business major who has worked for a fortune-100 company, helped grow a successful IT consulting company and has started two venture-backed software startups, addressed students, inspiring them to utilize their liberal arts degree to get the jobs they want in the future.
“You are really fast problem solvers looking through different lenses to solve a problem” Eldridge said, explaining that the various disciplines students encounter at St. Mike’s in the liberal arts curriculum help them in their various career paths. “We have the greatest students for this program and to be problem solvers.”
Eldridge has attended every career symposium Saint Michael’s has hosted, all eight years since he was a freshman in college. He stressed the community of alumni has come together to help current students, advising they take advantage.
Following through on passion was the overall topic of the evening. Eldridge shared the story of how he knew he wanted to run his own business. Sharing his combination of paths and risks he has taken to get to starting his two venture-backed startups.
“If you are truly passionate then don’t stop trying,” Eldridge said. That sentiment continued into the 13 panels hosted by 47 alumni. Though the beginning of your career is scary, it is also a time to take risks to get you to where you want to be panelists reiterated through their anecdotes. They told stories of being laid off, of traveling to new places for jobs and taking other chances in their careers.
The 13 panels covered various career paths from accounting to journalism to technology to the arts. Students attended two panels of their choosing. The night concluded with a networking reception for alumni and students in the Roy Room. Alumni gathered with students sharing career advice and business cards.