Employers offer advice, inspiration at SoJust forum

Second annual event brings more than 30 employers to campus

Tackey Chan '95, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and Ronald Glover '73, vice president of diversity and workforce programs at IBM

Brandeis alumni shared their social-justice journeys with students interested in pursuing careers in the field at the second annual SoJust Leadership Forum, providing inspiration, advice and encouragement to the next generation of Brandeisians committed to making the world a better place.

More than 110 students attended the event on Feb. 11, which served as the capstone for ’DEIS Impact, the university’s annual festival of social justice. Following a panel discussion, students had the chance to network with the panelists and representatives from more than 30 employers.

“To be successful you need to have the vision,” Sam Vaghar ’08, the founder and executive director of the Millennium Campus Network (MCN), told the students during the hour-long panel discussion, “but you must also be willing to take risks for what you believe in."

Vaghar, who founded MCN while he was a Brandeis student, said he aggressively pursues meetings with influential individuals and is not shy about asking for money to support his work to alleviate poverty. He met last year with President Barack Obama at the White House by parlaying a connection he had made a year and a half earlier into an invitation.

“It takes guts to succeed,” Vaghar said. “You can’t be worried about failure.” 

Ronald Glover ’73, the vice president of diversity and workforce programs at IBM, told the attendees that he learned many of the skills required for his job while a student at Brandeis. Glover was active in student government and was the first black to lead the Student Union.

“I learned how to relate to people who had points of view that were different than mine,” Glover said. “I learned how to listen and think. You can’t be successful if you are unwilling to be open to different perspectives."

Sarah Emond MPP ’09, who serves as chief operating officer at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review at Mass. General Hospital, urged students to turn their personal commitment into action.

“We only have a finite amount of time to work for something bigger than ourselves,” Emond said.

Tackey Chan ’95, a Massachusetts state representative from Quincy and one of the first two Asian-Americans to serve in the state legislature, told students that he constantly works to improve his skills and broaden his knowledge.

“If you stay in one comfort zone, you end up doing the same things over and over again,” Chan said. “You need to be a flexible thinker to get to the right answer. Every day I try to learn new skills.”

The SoJust Leadership Forum was sponsored by the Hiatt Career Center, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, the Department of Community Service, the Brandeis Alumni Association, and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.

Categories: Alumni, Business

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