Fifteen Newman University individuals from a range of departments participated in the Wichita Business Expo Thursday, Sept. 23. The expo was sponsored by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and held at the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center.
The event provided a networking opportunity for more than 100 regional businesses, organizations and other vendors to learn more about one another and the services they offer. The Wichita Business Expo was a come-and-go, free event open to the public.
Connecting with the community
“The biggest goal was to have a presence within the community, specifically with the business community,” Christy Hawks, associate director for graduate programs, said. “It’s a chance for people to network with those companies and businesses to see how Newman can help them further their professional career goals.”
Teresa Wilkerson, assistant dean of the school of business, currently serves as a brand ambassador for the Newman School of Business and has attended multiple Wichita Business Expos in the past. With last year’s event being remote, Wilkerson felt that the 2021 expo meant that much more.
“Christy Hawks and the Admissions team simply did an outstanding job setting up a beautiful and fun display at the Newman booth with goodies galore and games to play,” Wilkerson said. “But I was so impressed with the depth of representation we had from so many areas across campus.
“From working the Newman booth to seeing our university team members visiting with business representatives throughout Century II, there were a lot of Newman-attired folks walking around. That was great to see!”
Newman representatives also got to reconnect with former students and alumni at the event. Many faculty and staff said they felt fired up after speaking with local businesses about student internship opportunities, sponsored student networking events and entrepreneurial ideas for the classroom.
Hawks mentioned that many employees are searching for opportunities to build on their education and professional development, and Newman offers undergraduate and graduate programs that equip workers with the tools they need to make a positive impact in the workforce.
“How can we partner with corporations to assist their employees with their educational goals? Identifying those can help the overall picture in terms of getting people here on campus, getting them enrolled in a program or even asking our professional faculty members to use their skills for presentations on different topics, for example.”
That’s why it was crucial to have various departments of Newman represented at the event.
“Recruitment is everybody’s responsibility and it goes along with retention as well,” Hawks said. “That’s why we have financial aid, athletics and different people outside of admissions that maybe these individuals can connect to.”
Admissions teams connect in Colby, Kansas
While a potluck of Newman representatives participated in the expo, several team members of the Admissions department participated in the KACRAO conference (Kansas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers) in Colby, Kansas.
The KACRAO sessions cover a variety of topics from new counselor discussions to work-life balance, to diversity, inclusion and meetings with members of other private colleges in Kansas.
Admissions Counselor Emily Larkin said her biggest takeaway from the KACRAO conference came from the work-life balance session.
“They discussed how overwhelming the travel season can be (for admissions teams) and how to be kind to yourself during that time,” Larkin said. “During the fall semester, admissions counselors travel every single week. We are away from our family, friends, and pets to present students the opportunity to look into Newman University, while still doing our day-to-day work.”
She added, “It can be very overwhelming and a lot of pressure, so if you see an admissions counselor at any point this semester, please tell them you are thinking of them. It really does help.”
Hawks is excited to see her team sharing the word about all that Newman has to offer beyond the perimeter of the Wichita campus.
“Newman has so many educational and professional development programs that others are looking for,” Hawks said. “And with KACRAO, it’s exciting that we’re even getting outside of Wichita to help get our university’s story and presence known.”
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