Learning by Doing — SEEM Students Hold 5th Annual Conference

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My DEE Experience
During the spring and fall terms, I took part in a Directed Experiential Education (DEE) class that planned JWU’s 5th Annual Sports, Entertainment, Event — Management (SEEM) Leadership Conference, which is run entirely by students. It’s classes like this that allow me to expand my knowledge and help me figure out what I want to do once I graduate.

The DEE class was run like a business meeting. Each committee made an agenda and updated the other committees about what they worked on that week. This was important because, in the very near future, all of the students in the class will be working in the real work world, working in teams and having meetings, so it was nice to be put in that situation and get used to that environment.

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I was part of the Marketing and Sponsorship Committee along with Sophia Falconeiri, another SEEM major. The committee marketed the conference to students, staff and industry professionals, and secured sponsors for the event. We worked with several stakeholders throughout the university — staff and faculty from many departments — as well as outside sources, who helped me enhance my communication and interpersonal skills.

For the college and high school students and the industry professionals who attended the conference, it was a way to hear about industry trends and news, and the latest about career paths from alumni and other professionals already succeeding in the industry.

"Speakers like Ferron make students feel like they’re taking something valuable away from this conference, making it a success."

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The Day of the Conference Arrives
Facilitated by Associate Professor Patrick Leary, Ed.D., the conference was held in October and included keynote speakers, a panel of professionals and a panel of alumni, who all work in the industry. There was also an elevator pitch competition, won by SEEM major Jackson Wright ’18, and an alumni reception to end the night. The speakers included

Opening Keynote Speaker
Jennifer Ferron, vice president of marketing & brand development,
Kraft Sports & Entertainment Group

Closing Keynote Speaker
Chris Valentine, CEO, T3 Expo

Panel Discussion 
Kara Hutchinson, senior director of Marketing & Content Strategy, Boston Celtics
Kaitlin Kelleher, conference producer, Cambridge Healthtech Institute
Josh Bhatti, vice president, The Bowery Presents 

Alumni Panel 
David Campopiano ’07, director of marketing, New England Revolution
Sarah Jane Wyman ’11, senior meetings & special events manager, Marriott International,
The Times Square EDITION
Benjamin Zirolli ’08, general manager, TAO Group–Chicago

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When we asked keynote speaker Jennifer Ferron what she wanted students to take away from the conference, she said, “If you work hard, if you are dedicated, if you are loyal, and if you are passionate and energetic about what you’re doing … know that you can succeed wherever you begin your career.” Speakers like Ferron make students feel like they’re taking something valuable away from this conference, and that’s what makes it a success.

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I’ll be forever grateful for taking this DEE class. At first, I joined because I knew I would have the chance to work with and meet professional contacts. Little did I know all the skills and lessons I would learn — how to better myself by keeping my composure, overcoming obstacles, and working with all different types of people and personalities. Rather than learning through a lecture and taking notes, I learned through a real life, industry-based experience with my classmates, using and advancing my professional skills and broadening my horizon about what I might want for a career path.

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