Just Business As Usual!

Kean University's Women of Excellence sponsors the Backpacks to Briefcases Event!

Campus Life > Just Business As Usual!
Just Business As Usual!

The Travelers Insurance Group, as well as Michael D. Fleming, the president of the Nationa Black MBA Association's chapter in New Jersey.

Marcus Van Diver

Kean University's Women of Excellence sponsored their coveted "Backpacks to Briefcases" seminar in the Hennings Lecture Hall on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. 

The event, partnered with the likes of major organizations such as the Travelers Insurance Company and the National Black MBA Association, (NBMBAA) featured members of the Kean student body and prospective businessmen and women interested in the field of finance and insurance. Also, the informative event proved to be influential to the attendees, as tips for professional and personal growth were given to those listening closely.

The presentation kicked off with the Women of Excellence President Giovanna Dessein, giving her greetings to the audience.  Introductions from the six panelists from the Travelers Insurance group would soon follow, and from 7:30 p.m to 8:30 p.m., all of the speakers gave their say about their insurance company. 

Those who spoke talked about the responsibilities of the company, ranging from covering liability cases to Automobile incidents. Each panelist spoke behind a large table draped in a cloth branded with the Travelers' logo and on the table were red magnets, business cards from Kathy Bellman, Travelers's Director of Human Resources and information sheets about the company. For the young businessmen and women, the speakers commented on applying for internships, in order to secure their dream jobs in the foreseeable future.

Presenters, such as Connor Thomas, a 1st Party Medical Claim Holder, spoke on the subjectivity of the occupation, as well as the need for insurance in today's world. He also spoke on the importance of being passionate about what you do while applying what you've learned in the classroom to the business world.

The attendees of this event were given valuable information about the field of finance, as well as the intangible tools necessary for success.

"Even though I did not start in finance, I learned that, regardless of the company, whether it is Geico or Travelers, everyone needs insurance. In today's world, it is important that everyone is covered," Thomas said. 

Thomas also emphasized applying for jobs wherever they could be found. "Experience in a field anywhere is important. You are not only getting the skills there, but social interaction is another major factor. Being able to talk to people in a business or retail setting is a big tool to gain connections and relationships with people for the future."  

"I can certainly say that my undergrad degree helped to prepare me for working with others in this field," said Andrea Ladr, the Operation Specialist for the Travelers Insurance Group of New Jersey. "The best thing about [Travelers] is that if you work hard, and if you are knowledgeable about your craft, you can get a job wherever your skills fit in the company."

Each presenter gave interesting stories to evoke laughter, shock and amazement among the audience in order to prove just how substantial the Travelers Insurance Company is. Extravagant anecdotes such as those involving the panelists' co-workers assisting people affected by Hurricane Harvey, were told. Additionally, stranger cases involving insurance claims that covered food poisoning cases were explained as well. 

At the very end of the meeting, Michael D. Fleming, the president of the National Black MBA Association's chapter in New Jersey, gave an introspective speech to the student body. He spoke on the significance of being passionate about studying, networking and growing connections, as well as maintaining a strong work ethic. 

"When you are applying for jobs, never accept no. Stay motivated and get involved as much as possible," Fleming said.

The leaders of Women of Excellence from left to right: Kemi Alade, Senior Communications major and Vice President, Giovanna Dessein, Senior Finance major and President, and Sara Simon, Sophomore Psychology major and Treasurer.

Soon after, connections were made and networks were established as the panelists were able to personally interact with members of the audience. Those at the conference shared contact information and created relationships with the Travelers workers.

The event was also beneficial to their student-sponsor organizations. The new "Prosper Above the Hardships (PATH) organization at Kean specifies in the mentoring, empowerment and advisement of first-year college students and High School students in an attempt to create a Big Brother and Sister atmosphere. Gina Elwassemmi, the president of this student group, thanked the Women of Excellence for their support.

"We are a relatively small organization because we are new," Elwassemmi said. "We are so proud of this event, because not only do we take lessons away from it, but we are able to get our name out in the public much more so that people will know who we are."

This event was beneficial to everyone that attended. For the young businessmen and women of the future, the experience of meeting and networking with the members of the Travelers Insurance will last a lifetime. For the presenters, the opportunity to influentially speak to the audience gave them the satisfaction of motivating the next generation.

Michael D. Fleming, a Kean alumni, commented on the good feeling he had when presenting to this crowd. 

"It is always good to talk to young people and help them find their passion and what they love to do, just as someone helped me."

For more information on the Women of Excellence organization, visit their Cougarlink site or contact the president, Giovanna Dessein at her email of desseing@kean.edu.  

about the author

Marcus Van Diver, Staff Writer

Marcus Van Diver, a senior majoring in communications with a concentration in mass media, has been a Staff Writer for The Cougar’s Byte since October of 2016. He has aspirations of working in the field of sports media and wishes to be a broadcaster, journalist or radio host for any major news corporation. His hobbies include, reading, exercising and playing sports. He is an avid fan of his New York Giants, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Rangers.