Professional Edge Center: Making connections, learning from the best

 

ProEdge_Columbia_079When it comes to connecting students with community and industry leaders in a range of career fields, the University of Indianapolis is at the top of its game. The Professional Edge Center works with local employers and professionals to develop internship, mentorship, entrepreneurship, and employment opportunities for students and recent graduates. The center also seeks to create career pipelines in entrepreneurship and in business sectors that are both important to the Indiana economy and tied to UIndy’s academic programs and expertise. During the 2015–16 school year, the Professional Edge Center hosted four dinner and networking opportunities around the city and on campus. As the school year was getting started, the center hosted a “Women in Leadership” dinner and networking event, which featured:
—Linda Dillman ’76, Chief Information Officer, QVC, Inc.;
—Yvonne Shaheen ’96 (Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from UIndy), vice chair, UIndy Board of Trustees;
—Deborah Daniels, Krieg Devault Managing Partner and member, UIndy Board of Trustees.

Next-generation leadership

In November student leaders and those interested in public services careers met at the Columbia Club downtown to discuss leadership for the next generation.

The panelists included:
—Senator Richard Lugar, distinguished professor of Political Science and International Relations at UIndy;
—Jeff Mitchell ’91, lead sales executive, AirWatch (and a former UIndy Greyhound quarterback);
—Justin Moed, Indiana State Representative;
—Ryan Vaughn, president, Indiana Sports Corp.

Business of sports

Just one week later, students and young alumni interested in “The Business of Sports” enjoyed some firsthand perspective from key local leaders in the field. The dinner, discussion, and networking event took place at the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Shop and featured:
—Anucha Browne, vice president, NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships;
—Kelly Krauskopf, president and general manager, Indiana Fever;
—Ersal Ozdemir, president/CEO, Keystone Construction; owner/founder, Indy Eleven soccer team; member, UIndy Board of Trustees;
—Dennis Reinbold ’83, president/CEO of Dreyer & Reinbold; and member, UIndy Board of Trustees; and
—Joel Zawacki ’06, director, Corporate Sales and Marketing, Indianapolis Indians.

“We have worked with the Office of the President here at UIndy to provide our students with exposure to more than 20 senior leaders so far in the city and business community,” says Corey Wilson, associate vice president of the Professional Edge Center. “Our students have been able to engage in conversation with all of these people, and that’s exactly what we want to do, to help them build a network.”

Healthcare issues

In the spring, the center presented “Current & Future Issues Shaping Health Care in Our City” at Eskenazi Health downtown. Panelists included:
—Dr. Virginia Caine, director, Marion County Public Health Department;
—Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president, medical affairs, Franciscan St. Francis Health; member, UIndy Board of Trustees;
—Matthew Gutwein, president and CEO, Health & Hospital Corporation;
—Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health; and
—Vicki Perry, president and CEO, Advantage Health Solutions; member, UIndy Board of Trustees.

Seeing results

The measurable outcomes of these events already can be seen among students and alumni. Recent graduate Amber Derrow, for example, now works for the Colts as the youngest social media coordinator in the NFL, thanks to an internship that the Professional Edge Center helped her to secure. Student David Gerth had an internship with local car dealer Ray Skillman that transitioned into a job where he now teaches new car owners about their car’s technology. “The students’ confidence in knowing what to expect in the business world has risen tremendously since the Professional Edge Center started,” says Wilson. “Talking strategy with students as they find internships and work through the job interview process is immensely helpful.” The Professional Edge Center continues to grow and has recently hired two more employees, including a former banking executive from HSBC in New York. “We are bringing industry to campus to help connect our students to the business world and create internships,” says Wilson. “We are developing the relationships to make our students successful.”

More information on the Professional Edge Center is available at www.uindy.edu/professional-edge.