Raise Higher

Feb. 8, 2018

Jair Bolden works hard to stand out on the basketball court.

At GW's Student-Athlete Networking Forum, the sophomore guard was pleased to find out that the same traits that lead to success in competition can also pay dividends down the road.

Bolden was among approximately 110 Colonials that turned out Monday to meet, mix and mingle with industry leaders from a variety of professions.

"What I enjoyed most about this was the opportunity to connect with people and see how much my student-athlete experience really is valued in the workforce," Bolden said. "I didn't realize that people who are hiring look at it as a job and realize how much of a time commitment goes into it."

The GW athletic department hosts a pair of events annually as part of its Student-Athlete Mentorship Program. Both the networking forum and the Colonial Weekend Mentorship Meet-Up are important pieces of the Colonial Career Development Program, in collaboration with the GW Career Center.

Monday's event started with a panel discussion, led by volleyball junior Alexis Lete, with a handful of professionals representing a wide range of fields focused on the importance of networking and personal branding.

Then, the student-athletes had the chance to practice the strategies discussed and connect with representatives from about 30 different companies, a majority of whom were GW alums.

"I'm happy that so many GW alums came out," said junior swimmer Emily Zhang, an international affairs major. "Sometimes, it can be intimidating if you just go to a random networking event. I really liked this set up."

For GW baseball alumnus Danny Rouhier, the event was a chance to pass on some of the lessons that have helped propel him into a successful career in sports talk radio locally with 106.7 The Fan.

Rouhier told the current Colonials that making connections now can help them Raise High later in the professional world. Not that long ago, he was a first baseman in their shoes, and he's glad to be able to help the next generation of Buff and Blue graduates prepare for the future.

"Only a small percentage of folks who play a sport at any point in their life are able to be a part of a Division I college team," Rouhier said. "Playing a college sport is a uniquely demanding and rewarding experience. Learning to value the team over oneself, overcoming adversity that comes with athletic competition, and dealing with failure are invaluable assets to make someone part of a professional environment. My time at GW prepared me to thrive in several different workplaces in addition to the confidence to try a non-traditional path that led me to my current role (and dream job)."

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please fill out our online form. For more information, contact Anna Sody at sody@email.gwu.edu.



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