Making an Impression for Success with Toronto YP’s

School teaches you the essentials of your profession. But what about those unspoken details one needs to pay attention to when entering into the professional world? What are small things one should know when transitioning to the corporate world? The IEEE Young Professionals Toronto team organized the Professional Development Series to answer just that. The team hosted a series of three workshops to address the challenges that arise when introduced to a new working environment and to educate participants on three matters that play a significant role in the working life that are never taught in university. All three workshops were held at the University of Toronto on consecutive Mondays in September, and successfully gathered 70 people who participated in one or more of the events.

Dressing to ImpressUp until the point where we are finished with school and in the work force, we have not yet faced the necessity of dressing in a specific manner that is considered “appropriate.” In acknowledgement of this fact, the IEEE Young Professionals Toronto team welcomed two personal fashion stylists, Kamilla and Nora, for the first workshop named “Dress to Impress.” The two ladies presented all that a young professional should know about how to dress in a corporate environment in order to project the right image. What is considered to be “business formal?” What is defined as “business casual?” What is appropriate for the business environment and what is an ultimate faux pas? By the end of the evening, not only were our participants style connoisseurs, but they also had the opportunity to network and mingle with each other.

Dining EtiquetteJust a week later the team brought in a tasty buffet dinner for the second session titled “Dining Etiquette!” When in a corporate or even an advanced academic environment, occasions often arise where we’re invited to business dinners or conference lunches, all of which are situations that require eating in public and performing it in style. And what better way is there to learn how to hold your fork and knife properly, than to enjoy a delicious meal while you’re at it? Osman, our guest speaker, was more than happy to show to us how many things indeed we did not know about the dining status quo. By the end of the evening, the participants were well fed and enlightened on the best practices of public dining and also got to know a few more things about their fellow diners as they had to share with everyone one thing they learned about the people sitting at the same table.

Networking 101And last but not least, the team offered participants a networking 101 with plenty of tips and tricks on how to effectively expand your network and build significant and lasting human relationships on a personal and professional level. Our amazing guest speaker, David, addressed networking as both an art and a science, and shared some great insight and advice on how to make the most of our relationships with people. His enthusiasm about people and on how interesting we all are was a true inspiration for everyone and motivated us to keep meeting more. And of course, at the end of the presentation, the participants had the opportunity to do just that.

Overall, the Professional Development Series was a success. The IEEE Young Professionals Toronto team received great feedback and comments from participants encouraging us to continue the good work by organizing more useful events in the future as well as giving us excellent food for thought on event ideas that would be of interest to them. We’re all very excited with this success and look forward to having everybody back for bigger and better events to come. Stay tuned!

For a full set of photos from Professional Development Series, check out the Facebook albums here: Part 1 – Dress to Impress, Part 2 – Dining Etiquette, and Part 3 – How To Network Like A Boss. You can also view the follow-up video here.

Article contributed by Maria Attarian, incoming 2015 IEEE Young Professionals Toronto Chair

R8 YP at the Students and Young Professionals Congress in Krakow

In August, IEEE Region 8 Students and Young Professionals Congress took place in Krakow, Poland, bringing together over 300 volunteers from student branches and Young Professionals Affinity Groups for four days of presentations, workshops and fun activities.R8 SYP Congress Workshop

As part of this event, the Region 8 Young Professionals subcommittee organized two different workshops. The first workshop was entitled “IEEE Student Afterlife – Young Professionals: recognize your leadership gene,” where participants had a chance to share what they seek to gain from IEEE, learn about the benefits of the various Young Professionals programs, and discuss what makes a good leader. For the first activity, each participant was asked to write three things they expect or need from the IEEE in the course of their volunteering. In the next 20 minutes, participants shared over 60 unique ideas on what benefits motivate volunteers and how to improve benefits in the near future. The main part of the workshop was an open discussion about what skills and traits a successful leader should have and how young professionals can develop them.

R8 SYP Workshop Team PresentingThe second workshop was more group-work oriented, and was called “IEEEApp – Concept development.” As the name suggests, participants were divided into groups and had the better part of one hour to develop an idea for an IEEE mobile application before presenting their concept to the other groups. From event calendars and speakers database to networking and games, participants delivered truly impressive ideas. At the end of the workshop participants voted to select two winning groups, who received Young Professionals materials.

Overall, the visibility of Young Professionals in the SYP Congress has increased in comparison to previous years, and the workshops sparked many interesting ideas upon which all our volunteers can act with fresh motivation. The R8 YP Subcommittee trusts that all the participants in this year’s SYP Congress had an amazing time, and we look forward to playing an even greater role in the next Congress.

Article contributed by Flavia Dinca, Region 8 Young Professionals Subcommittee member