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Sapphire Leadership Symposium Open to all Students

As fall career fairs draw to a close, students may be missing their daily dose of corporate eye candy while walking around campus. Luckily, with the second annual Sapphire Leadership Symposium on Nov. 2, there will no longer be a shortage of suits.

Previously open solely to business students, the symposium is now accessible to all students at University Park. The all-day event will be held at the Nittany Lion Inn and provides more than just an opportunity to practice professional dress, according to Sapphire’s President Alex Drost.

“The Sapphire Leadership Symposium is an opportunity for students from all domains of study to collaborate and expand their working knowledge of leadership,” Drost (senior-finance and hotel, restaurant and institutional management) said.

Planning for the event, which is expected to attract about 150 attendees, began last winter. This year’s symposium will cover topics in Effective Leadership and Ethics, featuring keynote speakers and interactive workshops.

“The topics covered during the symposium are things that are imperative for success for students of all majors,” said Leadership Symposium Chair Catrina Pinto (sophomore-finance).

Pinto, along with a team of four other students, helped to coordinate the event. Milan Modi (sophomore-finance), Financial Director, prepared budgets, gathered funding, and created advertisements, among other things. Modi said he is most looking forward to discussions with fellow students during the symposium.

“I think it is important for students to attend the symposium because it is open to students of all majors, and this will allow for different backgrounds, experiences, and view points, so the discussions will be interesting and more valuable to attendees,” Modi said.

Also involved in the planning was Christina Kehoe (junior-marketing and psychology), Speaker Relations Chair. Kehoe contacted speakers and helped them prepare their speech or workshop.

“Even the best leaders can always continue to learn,” Kehoe said. “The symposium has a vast array of distinguished speakers with a lot of advice and real world experience that is important for leaders to learn from.”

The list of speakers includes Smeal faculty, such as Dr. Robert Novack, as well as industry professionals, such as Lou Grabowsky, Chief Operating Officer at Grant Thornton. Later in the day, students will participate in a case study on ethics, run by Deloitte Vice Chairman Tony Buzzelli.

“You can never stress integrity too much, especially as you get higher into leadership roles,” symposium Administrative Director Kenny Allen (sophomore-risk management) said. “When you’re a leader, everyone is looking at you to follow your lead in ethical conduct.”

Allen worked with campus administration to set up the event, as well as handled marketing and registration. The symposium’s focus on ethics relates to Smeal’s “Rising Above” initiative, which aims to promote academic integrity through the Honor Code.

After the events last fall regarding former Penn State football Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky, Smeal faculty and students are working to rise above the turmoil with an enlivened sense of morality.

“Having ‘Rising Above’ as our slogan for Smeal really ties in well with the last few notes of the symposium because it is important not only to meet ethical codes of conduct, but also to set the standard for others,” Allen said.

Michael Dulan (sophomore-management information systems), Director of Logistics, is excited to learn from both speakers and other students during the symposium.

“The symposium will offer valuable insight for students from any major around campus, not just business or economics,” Dulan said. “We encourage students from a wide range of backgrounds and interests to join us. I guarantee they will not be disappointed.”

Check-in at the symposium begins at 8:45 a.m and registration is $10. Events are expected to end by 4 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Students interested in registering for the event should go to Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis and opened Oct. 15.

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