Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Multicultural Conference Offers Insight
The HWS Update
The Multicultural Networking and Career Conference featured panel discussions, a luncheon and workshops with alumni and alumnae of color.

Multicultural Conference Offers Insight

“The kind of work that I do didn’t exist when I was in college,” said HWS Trustee Michael E. Rawlins ’80, P’16 while offering the keynote address for the 2019 Multicultural Networking and Career Conference.  “I work in mobile and web application design and it is just thrilling. I stay relevant in my field because of my curiosity and my liberal arts degree.” Rawlins serves as a principal user design architect at DTCI Fantasy Tools and Design, Walt Disney Company.

The day-long conference on March 30 involved more than 30 alumni and alumnae of color from a range of professions, generations and backgrounds. With nearly 80 students, they participated in forums, mock interviews and group sessions covering everything from networking and landing a job, to identity in the workplace and navigating life after HWS.

In his remarks, Rawlins described his initial impression of Hobart and William Smith as an incoming Hobart soccer player. He discussed his enduring connection to HWS through networking opportunities and gratitude for his lifelong value of curiosity instilled during his time at the Colleges. He is among five of six children in his family to attend Hobart and William Smith.

Attendees were welcomed to the conference by Afro Latino Alumni Association (ALAA) President Mark A. Darden ’87, P’17. An attorney/principal of the law offices of Addison Darden, P.C., he encouraged students to build a foundation of support among classmates and alums of color and to take advantage of the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education. Panelists also gave students candid insight to alums’ career experiences in the business, human services, science and health professions, as well as entrepreneurship and the nonprofit sectors.

“Ultimately, the event gave me a feeling of hope that I can actually walk across that stage with confidence knowing that I have people I can turn to whenever things get rocky on my road post-graduation,” said Christopher Williams ’19, a theatre major.

In recognition of his service to his alma mater, the Honorable Ludwig P. Gaines ’88 was presented with an alumni citation by Associate Vice President and Director of Alumni Relations Jared Weeden ’91. Gaines, who participated in Hobart Student Court, The Herald, Hobart Student Association and the Black Student Coalition, emphasized the importance of students challenging the status quo during their undergraduate careers. Gaines is the vice president of the Hobart Alumni Association and executive director of the Northern Virginia Apartment Association.

“When we were students here, we sought leadership positions despite our humble beginnings. We led associations, we figured out how dollars were dispersed to the different clubs. We did that with the intention to participate and to use our access to better our broader community,” Gaines said. “If you’re giving me an award for doing that, I am eternally grateful. I love Hobart and William Smith. That’s why I come back; that’s why I give back.”

“I especially appreciated talking one-on-one to the alums during the networking session and connecting with inspirational alums of color who gave me helpful advice on navigating HWS and the workforce,” said Sarah Starks ’21.

This year’s event was held in partnership with the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education, ALAA, Office of Intercultural Affairs, Office of Advancement, Africana Studies Program, Opportunity Programs, International Student Affairs, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Campus Life, Sankofa: the Black Student’s Union and the Caribbean Student Association.

The following alumni and alumnae participated in career panel discussions:

Life After HWS

Moderated by Mark A. Darden ’87, P’17, Attorney/Principal, Law Offices of Addison-Darden, P.C.
Walter Cruz ’11, Self-employed/creative collaborator
Mark A. H. Darden ’17, Accounting and Finance Recruiter at Aston Carter
Algrin A. Flowers ’91, CEO, Flow Entertainment Group
Rachel E. Hadley ’13, Associate Winemaker, Glenora Wine Cellars and Knapp Winery
Gary DeWitt Marshall ’89, Teacher/Actor, Comedian
Shavonne R. Ward ’09, Instructional Coach, AmeriCorps/City Year

Interviewing Skills

The Honorable Ludwig P. Gaines ’88, Vice President, Hobart Alumni Association, executive director of the Northern Virginia Apartment Association
Rick Wallace ’91, Change Management Specialist, KPMG

Leveraging Feedback in the Workplace

Michael E. Rawlins ’80, P’16, HWS Trustee, Principal UX Design Architect, DTCI Fantasy Tools and Design, Walt Disney Company

Networking

Reinaldo Llano ’99, Data Analyst & Digital Marketing Specialist, BISCI

Preparing for a Career in Consulting

Rick Wallace ’91, Change Management Specialist, KPMG

Nonprofit Panel

Moderated by Shavonne R. Ward ’09, Instructional Coach, AmeriCorps/City year
Kevin M. Collado ’18, Food Access AmeriCorps VISTA, City of Geneva
Dan M. DeNose ’10, Senior Manager, Newark Public Schools
Stephanie C. Mejia ’14, Housing Program Supervisor, Catholic Charities of Buffalo
Joshua M. Serrano ’15, Development and Communications Manager, Teens for Food Justice

Sciences & Health Professions Panel

Moderated by Sarah Yoon-Miller Pelkey ’09, Director of Marketing and Sales, All About Books
Gregory A. Brown ’91, Transition Care Management Social Worker, Dept. of Veteran Affairs
Guanqun Li, M.D. ’14, Urology Residency, SUNY Upstate Medical University
Jericsson Pichardo ’15, Science Teacher, Vista Academy
Shaakir J. McIntosh-Samuel ’16, Medical Student, Ross University School of Medicine
Isabella Latimer ‘16, BS RN, Strong Memorial Hospital, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Business Panel

Moderated by Michael E. Rawlins ’80, P’16, HWS Trustee, Principal UX Design Architect, DTCI Fantasy Tools and Design, Walt Disney Company
Linda D. Arrington ’88, HWS Trustee; Global Brand Manager & GM of RODIN, an Esteé Lauder Companies portfolio brand
Innis S. Baah ’10, Senior Consultant, Ernst & Young LLP
Mark A. H. Darden ’17, Accounting and Finance Recruiter at Aston Carter
Reinaldo Llano ’99, Data Analyst & Digital Marketing Specialist, BISCI
Shane M. Samuel ‘13, Marketing Manager, Amazon

Entrepreneurship Panel

Moderated by The Honorable Ludwig P. Gaines ’88, Vice President, Hobart Alumni Association; executive director of the Northern Virginia Apartment Association
Algrin A. Flowers ’91, CEO, Flow Entertainment Group
Walter Cruz ’11, Self-employed/creative collaborator
Phylicia Robinson Dove ’09, Owner, Black Monarchy
Gary DeWitt Marshall ’89, Teacher/Actor/Comedian
Ariel E. Trent ’14, Founder, Crave Moisture

Graduate/Professional School Panel

Moderated by Joseph Latimer P’16, Assistant Dean for Enrollment Diversity and Outreach, College Enrollment, University of Rochester
Stephanie D. Nieves ’15, Graduate Student, Johns Hopkins University
Mark A. Darden ’87, P’17, ALAA President, Attorney/Principal, Law Offices of Addison-Darden, P.C.
Nathaniel M. Smith ’00, ASAP Academic Advisor, CUNY Bronx Community College

Networking Session

Rick Wallace ’91, Change Management Specialist, KPMG
Chevanne Graham DeVaney ’95, P’21, P’23, Associate Director of Annual Giving, HWS

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.