Zooming Toward Professional Development: FPU School of Business and Alumni Office offer online workshops to connect professionals
As the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and live, it’s also changed the way we network. For business, the pandemic has meant having to rethink professional development. That’s why the FPU Advancement Office and Foundation have teamed up with the university’s School of Business to offer Business Insights—targeted online workshops harnessing the expertise of business faculty to help local businesses overcome a range of challenges. Each edition of Business Insights will be a brief video (3-5 minutes), followed up by a live, online roundtable lunch discussion with the presenter. This flexible format will make professional development accessible to busy professionals, says Ali Sena, director of alumni development.
The breadth of topics the workshops will cover means they can benefit just about any professional, says Katie Fleener, Ph.D., dean of the School of Business. Moreover, some local businesses have begun to work directly with the school for tailored professional development for their staff. “We hope to build a strong connection to our workforce community and offer our expertise for workplace education and training,” Fleener says.
Don Griffith, vice president for advancement and executive director of the foundation, acknowledges the pandemic has been hard on everyone, not least of whom business professionals accustomed to frequent social engagements and networking opportunities. Griffith hopes Business Insights will help fill that crucial gap. “The hope is to more broadly and deeply serve and engage the business community,” he says.
Sena promises the workshops will continue beyond the pandemic and may evolve to incorporate in-person lunch-and-learn events. Sena says she never stops looking for ways to serve the community and engage alumni. “I ask myself, ‘how can we provide added value to our alumni and community?’” Sena and Fleener also note that a unique feature of FPU’s professional development is that it is developed in dialogue with the business community and shaped by what they say they need.