Business Alumni Connect Through INSIDE TRACK
Like many people in this economy, Rodney Dor, ’06, computer information systems, found himself without a job despite expertise in information technology and years of leadership experience.
In fall 2009, Dor was laid off and searching for a job that could support his growing family that included a wife, two children and a newborn on the way. He been looking for jobs and had a brief telephone interview with a recruiter from the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) when he decided to attend INSIDE TRACK, an alumni networking event sponsored by the College of Business Administration and the CBA Alumni chapter.
Between imbibing beverages and noshing on appetizers, Dor met Mark Ely, ’93, communication, the OCTA recruiter who interviewed him on the phone. The two laughed at the coincidence of meeting so soon. During the social, Dor had the opportunity to talk more about the OCTA job opening.
“I think by me being in the mixer and having the interaction with Mark really put me in a great position,” Dor says. “People were sending in their applications left and right, and it’s easy for your resume to be buried. If I hadn’t attended I think there would have been a higher risk of not getting the job.”
Within three weeks Dor was working at OCTA as an information systems security analyst, reporting directly to the chief information officer.
INSIDE TRACK launched a year ago to help foster a sense of community among business alumni and to remind them how powerful the Cal Poly Pomona alumni network can be, especially in this struggling economy. Every month, free networking events are held in Orange County and the Inland Empire with an end-of-the-year celebration at the Farm Store at Kellogg Ranch.
The socials bring a wide assortment of people: young alumni searching for their first jobs, business executives looking to exchange ideas and entrepreneurs seeking advice. Business professors and staff also attend, hoping to reconnect with former students.
Marguerite Pardington, alumni and internships coordinator, organizes INSIDE TRACK and has seen people get jobs, recruiters offer internships to current students and alumni mentor those contemplating a career change. Everyone has something to gain and to contribute at these events, she says. “In times like these it really is about who you know,” Pardington says.
The events aren’t just for job-seekers. Lydia Chen Shah, ’01, marketing, began attending INSIDE TRACK with the goal of expanding her network and has attended eight events. “I saw this as an opportunity to reconnect with the university as well as meet some new people,” says Shah, director marketing communications at WebMetro.
When Dennis Fletcher, ’62, industrial marketing, attended INSIDE TRACK in January, it was the first time the Lake Forest resident had attended an alumni event since he graduated 48 years ago. As soon as he entered the room, Fletcher was the oldest alumnus by approximately 20 years. The generational difference, however, did not prevent him from having fun and meeting people. Fletcher especially connected with young alumni, counseling them in their job searches and offering to edit resumes.
“It was fun to talk to all these people from Cal Poly and to hear about what’s happened to the university,” Fletcher says.
Fletcher is not the only person who is committed to helping others. In fact, it seems to be a Cal Poly Pomona tradition as Dor also is looking forward to the moment when he can help someone find a job. That’s why Dor still finds time to attend INSIDE TRACK socials even with a new addition to the family.
“Throughout my career, I was never a big proponent of networking,” Dor says. “I thought if you worked hard you’ll be noticed and you’ll be fine. Now, I know and I want to carry on and give someone else an opportunity.”
For more information about INSIDE TRACK, visit http://cba.csupomona.edu/alumni/inside_track.aspx.