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Connect @ X hits the target

Matthew Berrigan from ESREN’s Connector Program (left), Margaret Schwartz from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, and Kelsey Bowman, a third-year finance student at St. F.X., gather during the Connect @ X event last month.
Matthew Berrigan from ESREN’s Connector Program (left), Margaret Schwartz from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, and Kelsey Bowman, a third-year finance student at St. F.X., gather during the Connect @ X event last month. - Contributed

ANTIGONISH, N.S. - Connect @ X took place at the Bloomfield Centre at St. F.X. Jan. 17, and was a huge success

Originally scheduled to take place in November, the event was rescheduled due to poor weather conditions.

Connect @ X planning began in late August as Kelsey Bowman, a summer intern with the St. F.X. Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre, identified a need for more events bringing students and employers together, prior to graduating from university.

Bowman’s boss, Paula Brophy, hopped on board right away, and brought her experience from a similar past event called Making the Career Connection.

The duo collaborated to come up with innovative ways to rebrand a past event to engage both students and employers. To make this possible, they began reaching out to colleagues and local organizations.

They expressed gratitude to committed partners; Matthew Berrigan with Eastern-Strait Regional Enterprise Network initiative the Connector Program, Jaime Smith and Jess Popp with the St. F.X. Extension Department Centre for Employment Innovation, Marie Kopf with the St. F.X. Extension Department, Jennie MacDonald from the St. F.X. co-op program, Jane MacDonald from the St. F.X. Career Centre, and Clifford MacDonald with ISANS.

After months of planning and preparation, Connect @ X was a huge success; hosting more than 100 students and employers for the sold-out event.

The evening consisted of many great conversations and connections made over dinner in which students and employers were seated amongst one another, followed by a speech from the guest speaker Hannah Chisholm. Chisholm spoke to how important networking and making connections have been to her experience as she started her own business – Eggcitables – a plant-based egg alternative.

Not only was her story aligned with the theme of the event, connecting, but it was also extremely inspiring to many young entrepreneurs in the room.

After a delicious meal, three rounds of ‘speed networking’ took place in which students moved table-to-table to speak with different employers for about five minutes.

To conclude the night, Ultimate X-Ring Sponsor Margaret Schwartz, with the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, spoke to the crowd about employment and education in the province and drew a name of one lucky student who won an X-Ring; Matthew McGlashan, a business student majoring in marketing.

Organizers noted the event would not have been possible without the gracious contributions of their sponsor. Bowman added work has already begun on planning next year’s event.

Participants in last month’s Connect @ X event enjoying a meal and conversations.
Participants in last month’s Connect @ X event enjoying a meal and conversations.

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