Dell EMC executives and young professionals recently visited UMass Dartmouth to recruit students of color during the “Changing the Face of Tech: Diversity Career and Networking Event.” The goal of the event was to connect UMassD students with Dell’s passionate leaders and team members who are committed to increasing diversity in the tech industry.
Specifically geared toward representing the importance of having men and women of diverse backgrounds in the tech field, the event offered an engaging opportunity for UMassD students to hear from a panelist of young professionals.
“Students were encouraged to actively engage with the panelists during the career tables and networking breakout sessions,” said Peggy Dias, Executive Director of IT Service CITS who played a pivotal role in bringing the event to campus. “Last April, about 20 UMassD students took a bus trip to a similar event at Dell’s office in Cambridge, Mass. Our students clearly understood the importance of this unique recruiting opportunity.”
UMassD students Cedric Blanc ’19, Shamiah Tasker-Cheeks ’19, and Vivian Obodo ’19 assisted in raising awareness of the event and offered professional development coaching as an optional prerequisite to the 140 students who registered to attend the event.
“To help prepare students for the opportunity to network and make a lasting impression with Dell, we offered résumé writing tips, a workshop on building your professional brand using LinkedIn as well as elevator pitch and professional business attire workshops,” said Vivian, who is UMassD chapter president of the National Society of Black Engineers.
Topics included rotational and developmental programs, engineering and technical roles, inside sales, diversity and inclusion, and employee resource groups. Nearly 80 UMassD students from several disciplines, including business and engineering, attended the event in which panelists offered advice on résumé writing, interviewing skills, networking, and the value behind diverse talent.
UMassD alum Laodecia Fevrier '18 served as one of the several Young Professional Panelists who discussed the journey from student life to professional life, landing a job with the tech giant, and why it’s so important to have professionals of color working in the burgeoning field.
Fevrier, who studied at the Charlton College of business and earned a double degree in marketing and management, landed a position as a marketing analyst with Dell upon graduating this past May. “The Changing the Face of Tech event served as an opportunity for students to network with an industry leader and demonstrated the value of having diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, she said. “At Dell Technologies, we want to showcase what steps we’re taking towards diversity, but also how can we help change young students lives.”
“The event was about recruiting students of color for positions they are qualified for in the field of technology,” said LaSella Hall, Associate Director of the Frederick Douglass Unity House and co-organizer of the event who was instrumental in recruiting students.
Shamiah, crime and justice studies major/black studies minor and vice president of the NAACP College Chapter, said there was a lot of excitement about the event beforehand, and when the time came. “It was so great to see the black community come together in support of our future endeavors.”
Chancellor Robert E. Johnson opened the event with a discussion about the future of work as well as inventing our future. Dell EMC Executives in attendance were Cindy Etherington, Vice President, Dell EMC Education Services; Sue Collard, Director, Career Development, Global Marketing Talent & Capabilities; Jason Romsey Vice President, ISG Global Inside Sales; and Nishita Roy-Pope, Senior Consultant, Strategy & Operations, Dell Services & Digital, who served as host for the evening.
“Very few job seekers are invited “inside” an organization where they have conversations with professionals working from the entry through to the executive level,” said Linda Kent Davis, Director of UMass Dartmouth’s Career Development Center. “Dell is putting resources into actively recruiting students of color, educating them about the range of opportunities available, offering assistance to help them strengthen their candidacies, establishing a foundation from where students can begin to develop their professional networks, and once hired, providing systems to support their success.”
Dell Technologies recognized the talent inherent in UMass Dartmouth students and made a deliberate choice to target them for their jobs and internships when they could have chosen to recruit elsewhere, Kent said.
“UMass Dartmouth is one of only four colleges in the country selected by Dell for the “Changing the Face of Tech” campaign,” said Dias. “And this says a lot about the quality of our students, their talent, and worth to the world of business.” The event was hosted in partnership with UMassD’s Black History 4 Seasons Council, Frederick Douglass Unity House, CITS, and the Career Development Center.