Last Thursday night was the first event of the year for Ryerson University’s student branch of the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP). The student group partnered with Dietitian’s of Canada for a night of networking. The event provided students a chance to learn from six women who have made their mark in the food industry.
The six speakers briefly described their journeys to get where they are today, which, surprisingly, was not usually the path they expected to follow. They also offered helpful advice to students on how to step up and achieve their goals. “Find solutions to problems, soon enough you’ll be running the show,” said Francy Pillo-Blocka, RD. After addressing the group, the speakers sat down with students for a more intimate, round-table discussion. Students had the opportunity to engage with the speakers one-on-one and ask their most burning questions.
Carmen El-Khazen, who attended the event, said: “It was a good setup and it allowed everyone to have a fair chance of talking to each speaker rather than the usual networking format.” Likewise, Avalon Li, another attendee, said “The DC Business and Industry Network night was a fun, interactive and engaging evening!… I left the event feeling inspired about the diverse roles for dietitians in the business industry and took comfort in knowing that every job is a stepping stone that may lead to a better opportunity.”
Overall the night was a success and many great connections were made. Students gained a better understanding of the variety of opportunities available to them and that there are many different pathways to get there.“I felt that the students who came to the event connected well with our speakers,” reflected Anna Shevchenko, VP Events for the Ryerson student branch of CAFP and the organizer of the event. For some students, this event jump started their university careers and was a great opportunity for them to start making meaningful connections early on. For others, it was a way to build on existing knowledge. This event was intimate enough to cater to everyone and delivered a very personal experience.