Leadership Luncheon serves up wisdom

The Greater Dubuque Development Corporation (GDDC) coordinated with Loras to host the Leaders Luncheon in the ACC Ballrooms from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8. The free event was sponsored with the intention to connect local CEOs with students, along with providing information to both employers and job-seekers in attendance about the workforce solutions programs that GDDC provides in the Dubuque area.

photos by Greater Dubuque Development Corporation

Loras had a record 217 students attend the luncheon, which surpassed the number in attendance at any area college or university hosting this event as well. CEOs and local businesspeople were scattered throughout the students at the luncheon, one per table of students.

The event opened with an introduction by a representative from GDDC, Vice President of Workforce Solutions Kristin Dietzel, who explained the mission and purpose and history of the GDDC. Along with her introduction was a welcome from President Collins and a panel discussion led by the Student Body President Emily Day. Day first introduced the four panelists and gave brief biographies. Panelists included Steve Fisher, publisher of TH Media/Woodward Communications;  Patrick Einarsen, founder of Hero 24-7 and X Grain Sportswear; Dr. Farris Muhammad, director of the Multicultural Family Center; and Danielle Peterson, CEO/president of the United Way of Dubuque Tri-States Area.

The panelists then answered a series questions prompted by Day, which allowed them to talk about their journeys to where they are today, their mentors, their leadership strategies, their advice for college students, etc. Students in the audience were also given the opportunity to question the panelists.

“The Leaders Luncheon is a great way for students to network with leaders in our community and learn about employment and internship opportunities available on AccessDubuqueJobs.com,” said Mandi Mohr, one of the organizers and speakers at the event, as well as the Workforce Solutions Coordinator at GDCC. “Our goal is to retain college talent by showing them there is a pathway to career success in the Greater Dubuque area.”

After the panel and during the catered lunch, students were given the opportunity to get to know the businessperson at their table. There were more benefits for students to attend besides just a free meal and a chance to network with local professionals. Following the catered lunch, there was a raffle drawing for over $200 in Hy-Vee gift cards given to present students. At the conclusion of the raffle, students concluded their table conversations and had the opportunity to provide resumes or business cards if they so wished.

“Networking and making connections with employers is one of the most difficult parts of entering the workforce. Opportunities like this have made it much easier to build those relationships,” senior Maria McGreal said after attending the luncheon.

“Regardless of the specific field, it was helpful to hear about the challenges that others have faced in finding the right career for them, because I think that’s something that everyone struggles with to some degree. I was able to learn more about what employers are looking for, which will be helpful for all of us in the future.”

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