Social Impact Paths

Students learn from professionals passionate about their work
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

There was a definite buzz at the Social Impact Career Forum as students interacted Friday with professionals working in nonprofits, governmental and non-governmental organizations, advocacy and international groups, and labor unions.

Alex Feltham MILR ’08 said the forum was a high-energy event. “If this conference didn’t have a time limit, we could stay here all afternoon just discussing issues we’re passionate about.”

“This event is great because it is a chance to speak with students who are so aware of the issues around them,” said Feltham, senior program officer for the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center.

Faculty members attending the event, Feltham said, underscored the accessibility of ILR professors and lecturers. “They are taking time out from their day to be here, interacting, because they really care and take an interest in your success going forward.”

Kevin Hallock, ILR’s Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean and Joseph R. Rich ’80 Professor, said in remarks at the event, “It’s nice to hear from alumni across a broad spectrum of different organizations and who can help counsel our students.”

“Hopefully, that will build over time. This is a great start, and I want to thank them for spending their time with us,” he said, referring to the first annual event. It drew 24 speakers, most of them ILR graduates, to the ILR Conference Center in King-Shaw Hall.

ILR Office of Career Services Director Regina Duffey Moravek said the forum reinforced students’ interests in pursuing careers that have social impact. “The enthusiasm and passion our alumni and guests brought to their conversations with students made for an exhilarating day."

Raquel Gonoretzky ’15 said the event “not only provided networking opportunities, it also gave students the opportunity to hear very useful and applicable advice from people who were in our very positions not so long ago.”

“Their advice was very reassuring, and their stories affirmed my own desires in wanting to enter the non-profit world/public sector.”

Jessica Maiorca MILR ’10, a program officer for the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center and formerly with Ashoka, a social entrepreneur network, said the forum not only assisted students, but “also helps organizations evaluate their talent pipeline.”

“This is an excellent idea, and I hope it continues. It is so important to have an alumni forum to interact with current students," she said.

Patricia Moscoso ’11 credited her time as an ILR student with teaching her how to “think about and talk about economic fairness and justice, which have been the most important issues to me for as long as I can remember.”

“ILR courses and my internships helped me understand the complexities and challenges of designing policy with those values at its core. Now, I get to put that theory into practice,” said Moscoso, a special assistant to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

Jennifer Mandelblatt ’17 said, “This career forum reminded me how special ILR is, knowing that this many alumni wanted to come back and share their experiences with us.”

“It’s nice to know what I’m learning has real impact … we get a great education, but it’s not just about listening and regurgitating information,” she said.

An intern last summer in the U.S. Senate Labor Office of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Mandelblatt is president of the ILR Women’s Caucus and vice president of the ILR Student Government Association.

“These alumni aren’t in their jobs for money, but (for) passion, and it reaffirms that your path may not be linear, but you’ll be doing what you’re passionate about,” she said.