Minorities in Pittsburgh Conference considered successful

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Students from more than 10 regional universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne, Edinboro and California University recently participated in the Minorities in Pittsburgh Conference held at the University Club on the University of Pittsburgh Oakland Campus. The theme for the eighth annual event was Embrace Diversity in People, Professions, Industries, Talents, and Ideas.

Sponsored and organized by the Roberto Clemente Minority Business Association, the conference was designed to coincide with the groups’ organizational theme of service. “The vision of this year’s conference was to serve all conference attendees by providing them with a valuable experience that will last long beyond the two day conference,” explained Rishi Sethi, conference chairperson. “Our hope was for MIP to foster the development of students personally and professionally, to allow corporations to form lasting relationships with premier talent in Pittsburgh, and to promote service by reaching out and giving back to the community,” he said. “A successful conference will leave attendees with a more positive outlook on their future possibilities and their place within the professional world.”

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LEADERS OF TOMORROW—MIP Chair, Rishi Sethi and RCMBA President, Erica Simpson take time out before the Networking Luncheon.

The two day conference consisted of networking lunches and dinners, innovative and interactive workshops, and a career fair. Speakers for the event included keynoter Justin Jones-Fosu, president of JS Training Solutions; Candi Castleberry-Singleton, chief inclusion and diversity officer at UPMC; Quency Phillips, CEO of Fuzion Management; and Robert ‘Biko’ Baker, executive director of the League of Young Voters.

In his fun, informative, relevant and energetic style, Jones-Fosu inspired and presented his message by providing the audience with applicable steps to achieve their goals. Stating that one has to make a decision to be excellent, he explained that excellence is a journey. “To be excellent you have to make changes in your life,” he said.

Jones-Fosu said changes have to be made in thinking, habits, behavior and ones accountability. “What you think is what you become. To change, you need awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, resources and reinforcement,” he said.

Likening ones personal life to a business, he pointed out that a strategic plan of one, three, five and 10 years is needed. “Visions and goals along with a strategic plan is how you will get to where you want to be,” he said. Encouraging the audience, Jones-Fosu advised to continue to stay in school and to participate in programs such as the MIP Conference. “Go after your dreams and goals, be yourself and don’t follow the crowd,” he said.

Passionate about helping individuals and groups accomplish their dreams in a very real and practical way, Jones-Fosu classifies himself as a young award-winning entrepreneur, author, inspirational speaker and a community leader. JS Training Solutions is a learning and development company that provides strategic development consulting and dynamic, relevant, results-driven and interactive workshops on leadership development, professional development and career preparation. “Inspiration for Life” is his latest book. The Baltimore resident is also president of JUSTIN INSPIRES which he says is driven to provide high-energy and practical motivational speaking to participants around the world. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, an MBA specializing in leadership and organizational change and is currently working on his second masters in human resource development from Georgetown University.

Lee Scales and Josie Hollis received the RCMBA Distinguished Alumni Award during the Saturday Networking Luncheon. Both PNC Financial Service employees, Scales is former president of the organization and Hollis served as Academic Affairs Chairperson.

As president of RCMBA, Erica Simpson said the groups’ vision is to transform the corporate world through diversity. Its mission statement considers the Roberto Clemente Minority Business Association as the quintessential resource for minority students matriculating through the College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh. The organization is dedicated to academic excellence, visionary leadership, diversity, and service to the Pittsburgh community.

“The goal of RCMBA is to develop its members by promoting professional and leadership development, providing academic support and serving as mentors,” said Simpson. She pointed out that the conference provided an exceptional opportunity for corporations to take direct action in the professional development of the talented minority student population. She said the career fair was a golden opportunity for company representatives to meet and recruit the most motivated students in the region while sharing valuable information about their company. The goal was for students to obtain internships and or full time employment upon their graduation.

Also participating in the MIP Conference were two Northside Urban Pathways Charter School seniors, Ronnell Anderson and Stephainie Cox. Both considered the event helpful. “I learned to network and it peaked my interest in marketing said Anderson. “It gave me a new outlook on different professions and insight on what to look forward to when I get to college,” said Cox.

With over 200 students in attendance Sethi says the conference exceeded their predictions and already they are planning for the 2011 event.

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