This past week saw many exciting events on campus, ranging from the career fair to the acapella group Ball in the House’s creative performance in Fisher. For the ALPFA student organization, the week brought out an inspiring opening to their organization’s semester.
ALPFA stands for Association of Latino Professionals for America, and their mission is to “empower and develop women and men as leaders of characters for the nation in every sector of the American and Global Economy”. ALPFA works to prepare students to not only conduct themselves professionally and confidently in the professional world, but also to focus on turning the interview process into more of a conversation. In order to do this, the eboard arranges many networking events and guest speakers to help inspire and inform their club’s members.
To start off their year of events and inspiring Bryant’s young professionals, ALPFA organized a “Latino Leadership Panel” event on campus where students, both those involved in ALPFA or not, can interact with, ask questions to, and network with two well-experienced Latin leaders in the professional world. The panel consisted of Ernesto Arguello, a Bryant alumni who now works for PWC in their tax field, and Visael, or Bobby, Rodriguez who works at Blue Cross Blue Shield in the Human Resource area after originally being hired as the Chief Diversity Officer. The panel was led by Professor Moon, one of Bryant’s own Spanish lecturers and Coordinator of Romance Languages.
The discussion focused on the two men’s experiences in the professional world, ranging from their background stories to the different challenges and opportunities they have had specifically to do with their Latino backgrounds. One question asked about how being the first or second generation in their family to make it into the business world affected their ability to network. Rodriguez took the opportunity to address how this might force young Latinos to put themselves out there more when meeting professionals, and advised, “you are always going to make mistakes, but you have to continue to be comfortable.” This idea was very common throughout the night, popping up again when Arguello urged the audience to get out of their comfort zone take in the “continuously changing” world in stride.
While the panel was asked many questions focused on Latinos specifically, both Arguello and Rodriguez gave advice to be applied to the entire field of college students looking for answers about how to succeed after graduation. Answering general questions, like how to achieve work-life balance, promoted the idea of furthering control and happiness over one’s life, which Arguello insisted that “balance is what gives you peace of mind”. The inclusiveness to topics and questions not just surrounding Latinos is helping push ALPFA’s mentality that it’s open to the entire student body, while still leaning towards specifics with Latinos’ experiences.
An important piece of advice in Thursday’s panel came when Rodriguez explained his mentality on failure, and how he doesn’t consider failure as a possibility, but instead thinks about it as “I tried once, now I have the opportunity to try again to achieve”. This idea definitely was picked up by the students attending, and again illustrated how Bryant’s chapter of ALPFA is looking to inspire its members as well as the student body!
The leadership panel is just one of many ALPFA events scheduled for this semester. The next event will be presentation from Coastway Community Bank on financial literacy, followed by a Dress for Success Event as well as a Café con Pan event off campus for members to continue networking. The spring will see a focus on promoting Latin culture through Latin Night and the Taste the World event, as well as an interactive event surround Latino Student Leaders towards the end of the school year. If you are interested in any joining ALPFA, learning more about the upcoming events, or have any questions, please contact Manuela Duque at firstname.lastname@example.org.