AL DÍA Philadelphia Diverse City Career Fair 2019: A Successful Endeavor
The 18th annual AL DÍA Philadelphia Diverse City Career Fair featured dozens of exhibitors, several panel discussions, and a special speed networking session featuring area CEOs.
With more than 40 exhibitors in attendance, job seekers from the Philadelphia region were given an opportunity to learn about a wide variety of career opportunities during the annual AL DÍA Philadelphia Diverse City Career Fair.
Leaders in a variety of industries, such as Independence Blue Cross, Aramark, SEPTA, PECO and Vanguard, alongside higher education institutions, including Neumann University, Immaculata University, Community College of Philadelphia, and University of Pennsylvania, represented just some of the organizations that were looking to diversify the workforce in the “City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”
Resources for job seekers were also aplenty at the career fair. CareerLink, part of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s initiative to transform the landscape of how job-seekers find family sustaining jobs and how employers find the skilled candidates that they need, was in attendance, and provided a free resume workshop. Courtesy of AL DÍA, a professional photographer was in attendance to take free professional headshots of attendees.
In addition to five hours worth of job seeking, the career fair also featured a variety of panel discussions that focused on a number of relevant topics in professional development, workforce equity, and how to navigate specific industries.
The panelists featured Michael Newmuis, Director of Stakeholder Engagement & Community affairs at Visit Philadelphia; Bill Hooker, President & Executive Coach at Source One Innovations, Inc.; Ben Frank, Executive Director at Center City Proprietors Association; and Shawnna Williams, Coordinator for Member Engagement and Diversity & Inclusion at the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.
Each panelist detailed the importance of having workforce diversity, as well as the specific practices each of their organizations has in place to further advance their diversity and inclusion efforts.
“If you don’t have diversity and inclusion—if you’re not practicing inclusion, more importantly—your business is not going to survive,” Williams said during the panel. “Philly is a majority-minority city, and if you’re not capitalizing on that talent, you’re not going to last.”
The second panel, titled “Careers in the City,” was moderated by Pedro Rodriguez, director of partnerships for Philadelphia Counts 2020.
The panelists consisted of Richard Montanez, Deputy Streets Commissioner for Transportation for the City of Philadelphia; Damaris Feliciano, Director of Community Services and Strategic Initiatives; and Edward Garcia, Deputy Commerce Director at City of Philadelphia.
The city of Philadelphia is filled with professions that can help the city grow economically and sustainably. When that happens, it creates a strong environment for residents.
“Everyday you work for the city, you give back to the community,” said Rodriguez.
The main event panel, titled “Workforce Equity in Philadelphia,” was moderated by Nolan Atkinson, the City of Philadelphia’s first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.
The panelists were Rebeca Cruz-Esteves, managing partner at Populouz; Malik Brown, Vice President of Talent & Strategic Partnerships at The Graduate! Network, Inc.; Prince Altee Thomas, Counsel at Fox Rothschild LLP; and Sabrina Harris, Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.
Creating equity in the workforce is a multi-step process that first requires the acknowledgement of a lack of equity.
“Workforce equity represents a continuum,” said Brown. “I think as you move along that continuum and develop more mature capabilities in an organization, you start to think about creating a more inclusive work environment and some companies may lead with inclusion before diversity.”
The afternoon continued with a panel titled “Careers in Hospitality,” moderated by Suzanne Geyer, associate executive director for the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association.
The panelists consisted of Arvel Hall, Director of Rooms at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District; Debbie Smith, director of sales at The Hilton at Penn’s Landing; and Annamaria Fink, human resources manager at Loews Philadelphia Hotel.
The final panel focused on personal branding on social media. The moderator was Raquel Arredondo, Associate Director of Outreach, Engagement and Professional Development at Drexel LeBow College of Business. The panelists consisted of Melissa Aguilar, Diversity & Inclusion Specialist for the Campbell Soup Company; Elizabeth Estrada, Digital Communications Coordinator at the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and Sulaih Picorelli, Compliance Officer for Prospanica Philadelphia.
In the digital world, social media means a great deal. It has allowed the opportunity for people to brand themselves as professionals.
Twitter is a good way to brand yourself as a job seeker, but LinkedIn can be a great place to document your career.
“LinkedIn is where I talk about my professional victories,” Estrada said during the panel. “It’s a place to curate my professional story.”
Each panel discussion afforded an opportunity to ensure that attendees have the tools they need both in the job search, as well as after they enter the job search.
Getting the opportunity to shake hands with some of Philadelphia’s top CEOs is an opportunity few are given during a career fair.
At the event, 10 attendees were chosen at random to speak one-on-one with some of the top CEOs of the city.
The participating CEOs were Hernán Guaracao, CEO & Publisher of AL DÍA; John McNichol, CEO of the PA Convention Center; Jeffrey Knueppel, General Manager of SEPTA; Larry Kaiser, President & CEO of Temple University Health System, and Ajay Raju, chairman & CEO of Dilworth Paxton. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney also spent a few minutes talking to some of the attendees.
Overall, the career fair fulfilled the many objectives AL DÍA set out to do leading to the ultimate mission of creating a more diverse workforce in the “City of Brotherly Love.”