Do not let your good get in the way of your best is just one of the many lessons over 200 college students learned during the recent Minorities in Pittsburgh Conference. Hosted by The Roberto Clemente Minority Business Association, the ninth annual conference continued in its tradition of being the largest event to date, said Divya Varindani the MIP coordinator. “The conference has expanded into the region to encompass students from eight different universities, and three of Pitt’s regional campuses. The scope of the conference continues to grow as guest speakers like Justin Jones-Fosu, MBA and internationally renowned World Champion of Public Speaking, Craig Valentine, MBA serve as workshop hosts and guest speakers.

THE WORLDS NEXT LEADERS—Sharing a moment, MIP conference speakers Justin Jones-Fosu and Craig Valentine with MIP president Lauren Wallace. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)

Varindani pointed out that the two-day conference held at the University Club, which carried the theme of “Explore,” provided the opportunity for students to polish their skills and prepare for their careers. “Students had a multitude of opportunities to explore unique industries, professions, and companies through the two days.” The conference featured interactive workshops, a Career Exploration Dinner, Networking Luncheon, and a Career Fair where more than 75 representatives from 40 companies, nonprofits and academic institutions attended.

Valentine, President of The Communication Factory, LLC, an award-winning company that produces and trains communicators worldwide offered advice on career and life exploration, and how students can get “Remarkable Results in Business and in Life.” Using the formula of reality, relinquish, rely and reform, Valentine advised students to be real with their selves and to remember that attitude is everything. “A positive attitude is important and you should hang around people with a positive outlook. Negative people are like crabs in a barrel, always pulling you down,” he said.

“Let it go so you can grow,” he said advising that one should not hold on to grudges and learn to relinquish. “Reminding people of their importance and not your own is a valuable tool,” he said reminding that success is reaching out to touch a life.

Other recommendations he offered included not making excuses for others. “You prevent them from growth.” Reading a lot, taking advantage of opportunities, being open and looking for signs in life, he described as ways to achieve remarkable results. “People you meet and books you read can change your life,” he relayed to the attentive audience.

Other than serving as motivational speaker, speech coach and trainer, Valentine is the co-founder of the World Champion’s Edge program, which helps up-and-coming speakers turn their presentations into huge profits. He is the author of the book, “The Nuts and Bolts of Public Speaking,” co-author of the book, “World Class Speaking,” and contributing author for the book “Guerrilla Marketing on the Front Lines.” He has an MBA from Johns Hopkins University and is certified as a Co-Active Coach and a Guerrilla Marketing Coach. He is the co-leader of the Guerrilla Marketing Coach Certification Program and is a recognized expert in the Master Business Building Club.

Guest speaker and partner of the MIP Conference for the fourth year, Jones-Fosu commenced the conference at Friday’s Opening Session when he spoke to students with a speech entitled, “Finding Your Glasses: Discovering and Achieving Authentic Success!” The speech was a part of a new book Jones-Fosu expects to release in June on how to walk through one’s life with a unique view.

Key companies and sponsors that attended the two-day conference were: Platinum sponsor PNC Financial Services and Gold sponsor Macy’s. The Silver sponsors include Bayer, Dollar Bank, Ernst & Young, Highmark, and UPMC. Bronze sponsors in attendance were Aldi, Dick’s Sporting Goods, GEICO, Giant Eagle, PricewaterhouseCoopers, T.Rowe Price, and Verizon Wireless.

Eight student scholarships for attendees of the MIP Conference were provided by conference and corporate partners.

Under the presidency of Lauren Wallace, The Roberto Clemente Minority Business Association is the quin­tes­sential resource for minority students matriculating in the College of Business Administration. It provides academic support, professional development, private scholarship information and volunteerism. The group consists of a large and active student membership and is governed by a steering committee of 14 dedicated students who strive to bring RCMBA’s mission to fruition: “To transform the corporate world through diversity.

Excited over the success of this years’ conference, Varindani said the members are looking forward to next year where they will be celebrating its tenth conference.

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