Let’s go back to March 24th at Communitech and the “Get Connected” conference that was created for University of Waterloo students with the purpose of bridging the gap between students looking to develop their careers and industry professionals looking to make an impact. Through lectures, panels, and workshops, thought leaders opened up a meaningful dialogue with the audience, bringing students’ attention to topics such as digital marketing and personal branding (not to mention the fact that Get Connected was also a great networking opportunity!).
The team of Founders Canada had a conversation with Tiana Eghdam, Global Business & Digital Arts Student at University of Waterloo, who was responsible for arranging this great one-day long business conference. Learn more about Get Connected and Tiana’s experience organizing such inspiring event!
How did you come about organizing Get Connected conference?
After hustling hard to develop a network of meaningful connections, relevant skills, and work experience, many students began asking me for mentorship and advice on how to kick start their career in marketing. One student became several, and while I’m all for one-on-one mentorship, I found that I didn’t have enough time in the day to help as many students as I would of liked to. This acted as the first sign to me that there was a demand in the student market for something bigger; A sort of resource to bridge the gap between students looking for direction on how to get ahead and professionals interested in mentorship or talent scouting. Then it hit me, a one-day conference filled with impactful networking, skill building workshops, and inspiring lectures!
Tell us what were some of the highlights of the event?
To make the conference dynamic and allow students to truly get their full value, I decided to mix lectures with workshops and panels, while curating the common theme of tangible takeaways at every touch point of the event.
Among the many AMAZING presentations, students particularly enjoyed Filip Jadczak’s workshop “An Introduction to Service Design and Customer Journey Mapping”. Filip’s workshop not only engaged students through a dynamic hands on styled learning, but it also acted as a nice re-energizer to help break up a content heavy section of the event and encourage bonding with other speakers/attendees.
Another standout speaker of the day was Vanessa Faloye with her captivating keynote presentation, “Millennial Guts”. Upon meeting Vanessa, I instantly knew that she would be the perfect speaker to close the event. Sure enough, after a six hour day of content dense information, with the energy in the room beginning to tire out, Vanessa came in and completely brought to life and inspired a room of 30+ millennials and over 434 viewers via Periscope live stream. I could not hear enough about Vanessa’s lecture!!
What advice do you have for students looking to gain experience?
I know how hard it is when you have no work experience and are looking to catch your first break and then to even secure that break you require 3 years of relevant work experience. It’s so frustrating! That’s why I regularly recommend that young professionals and undergrads that are looking start gaining career experience to begin with local start-ups. The reason I say this is that most early stage start-ups do not require the same amount of work experience and credentials as corporations/agencies do and instead scout talent based on intrinsic qualities like a willingness to learn and a drive to succeed, qualities that many students have!
What are some tips for students looking to start their own company?
Don’t become an entrepreneur because it is cool, become one because you have found a relevant problem that you are passionate about solving. Moreover, although I am not an entrepreneur myself, the best advice I had received regarding starting a business is to first fall in love with the problem not the solution. The shiny gloss of entrepreneurship fades quickly, it requires A LOT of work, but if you are truly passionate about your problem, nothing will stand in your way and in the end it’ll all be worth it.
Do you have any marketing or social media tips for start-ups?
Back when I first started, one of the best pieces of advice I received was about ‘the ratio’. Basically, this means that if you want to sell your product or service via social you have to be conscious of an equal ratio of your content versus your followers content.
Take this scenario, we have a mutual friend that recommended me to you, you were so kind as to give me your personal number, and I had a product that I needed to sell. If I sent you a message every single day to please buy my product with no other interaction, by the end of the week you would of already blocked my number. This rings the same for social media, if you just constantly ask your followers to buy your product or like your content you are not providing any real social value to them, you haven’t earned their trust and loyalty yet.
You have to create what’s called a social currency, where by interacting with people online by sharing their content, liking their photos, and commenting on their posts, you are investing in an online relationship. This way your followers will have a more clear understanding of who your brand is, leading them to feel that they can trust it, and are more likely wanting to return the favour by in turn interacting with your online content and recommending your product. You have to give to get back, it’s a continuous circle of exchanges of social currency, once you stop it ends.
We know networking is huge. Any particular tips that stand out?
My favourite piece of advice in relation to networking is to take risks get uncomfortable. As a trick, I began attending conference and events alone, it forces you to get out of your comfort zone and talk to as many people as you can instead of hiding behind familiar faces. Another one is to write your objective for the relationship with a new connection on the back of your business card. Not only does this help you stand out but it provides the person with a clear idea of how to move forward with your relationship.
For more information and to get connected with Tiana check our her site on: http://www.tianaeghdam.com/
About the Author:
Tatiana Lyubchik is doing her Bachelor degree at University of Toronto majoring in Linguistics, Cognitive Science, and Digital Media. She is a Marketing Coordinator at Founders Canada, and have an experience working as a Social Media Coordinator at student association. She is passionate about travel, education, psychology, media and advertisement, especially when it all goes with a perfect cup of coffee;)