James Downs, associate professor of history and American studies, will spend the 2015-16 academic year studying medical anthropology at Harvard University.
Evan Piekara ’07 was delighted to attend a luncheon hosted by Connecticut College alumnus Jonathan McBride ’92 at the White House – and it wasn’t just because the prestigious event took place at one of the country’s most famous addresses.
Piekara, who recently moved to Washington for business school, saw the event as both an opportunity to hear from an expert in his field and to begin the task of building a network of his own.
“It was great to connect both with him and other Camels in D.C. I know we are all looking forward to future opportunities to socialize, network and build our careers together,” he said.
Piekara was impressed by McBride’s ability to break down the often complicated job search process into a clear path to success. “Jon's advice provided us with actionable steps to build our careers in D.C. and beyond,” he said.
The luncheon was part of the Distinguished Alumni Event series sponsored by the Office of College Advancement. It was hosted by McBride, deputy director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and moderated by Claire Gould ’10, communications coordinator at Burness Communications.
During the event, McBride offered advice to young alumni looking to start their careers. “The fastest way to the job you want is to draw upon your existing network of connections,” he said. “In today’s job market, it is not just the connections you make, but the connections you keep that matter most.”
McBride advised job seekers to keep lines of communication open with both former and prospective employers and to remember that every contact, “no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time,” counts. And, above all, he says, “persistence pays off.”
McBride would know. An economics major, he began his career at Goldman Sachs. He then went on to found Jungle Media Group, a specialty publishing company he sold to Universum, an international employer-branding firm, in 2006.
In addition to discussing careers with his fellow alumni, McBride shared his interest in volunteering. He spoke passionately about “giving back,” and commended President Barack Obama for making volunteering a major initiative during his presidency.
McBride sets a positive example. An active volunteer for various civic causes, he has also consistently given his time to the College since graduation. McBride has served as a trustee, a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and on the presidential search committee that resulted in President Hidgon’s appointment. Additionally, he currently volunteers for the College as a career adviser – a role that seems to be tailor made for him.
McBride encourages the Connecticut College students he mentors to get involved in the community, on both a personal and professional level. During the event, he stressed the importance of considering jobs in government when exploring career options.