Cal Alumni Guide Scholars Through Uncertainty

On June 26, 2020, the Cal Alumni Association’s Alumni Scholars Program hosted a virtual panel, “Strategies for Job Searching during COVID-19,” to connect Cal alumni with recent grads and current students who are pursuing their career goals during a time of great uncertainty.

The event was headlined by esteemed panelists Deary Duffie MBA ’84, Jordan Cisneros ’17, Trixie Cordova ’05, and Patrick Pan ’09, as well as Emmy-award winning journalist Sherry Hu ’74, who moderated the panel. The event supported more than 30 scholars from The Achievement Award Program (TAAP), TAAP Diversity Scholarship, and The Leadership Award, as well as graduates and current students from the university’s Educational Opportunity Program and the community from Stiles Hall.

The Class of 2020 graduated during a pandemic that disproportionately impacts first-generation, low-income Black and Indigenous people and communities of color. Many are tirelessly searching for job positions to ensure well-being for themselves and their families.

“Chaos breeds creativity. This is the time to get really creative and to tap your network.”

Hu reminded students that many industries and organizations are pledging “to hire more people of color and diversify their workforce,” and that as a community, “we are watching them to hold them accountable.” More than ever, now is the time to empower both recent and future alumni with tools and knowledge to advocate for themselves, highlight their personal skills and experience, and connect them to the Cal alumni community.

Duffie urged students to remember they are their “most valuable asset” and not to “underestimate how important it is to stay safe, healthy, and strong mentally and physically.” Cisneros highlighted the importance of “honoring and acknowledging all the lived experience that students have gained during their undergrad years during their job search.” Pan echoed Cisneros by emphasizing the importance of “telling your own story” and “finding a career that reflects your personality.” He also encouraged students to consider growth a non-linear process. Cordova encouraged students to take their next steps with confidence, and reminded them, “As long as you’re guided by your personal mission statement and community, you’ll be good.”

After the panel, Lorraine, a Class of 2020 graduate, shared, “It was great to hear some words of encouragement about entering an uncertain job market. The panelists’ wisdom was so grounding.” In a few powerful words, Duffie captured the call of this moment: “Chaos breeds creativity. This is the time to get really creative and to tap your network.”

Watch the full panel to hear more wisdom from our alumni.

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