Johns Hopkins Students Get Opportunity to Network at Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner
by Claudia Bellony Atanga
Thanks to a generous donation from Ori Reiss, President and CEO of GlobalNet Services, Inc, 10 alumni and students from the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School and Krieger School of Arts & Sciences Advanced Academic Programs received “golden tickets” to attend the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce 53rd Annual Dinner where they witnessed firsthand the power of power networking.
The dinner, held on June 6 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and County Conference Center, attracted more than 800 Montgomery County movers and shakers from the business community.
Students Preeti Hans, Trisha Valencia, Sreenath Nampally, Ren Shan, Bala Udayakuma, Sripathy Subramania, Adam Steele and I all agreed that the event “was a great opportunity.”
“I had never been to a Chamber of Commerce dinner before and thought it would be fun,” said INNoVATE graduate Adam Steele, who recently received first place – and $10,000 – in the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute’s 2012 Business Plan Competition. “It was! Thanks to Ori Reiss and GlobalNet Services for donating a table so that I could attend.”
Reiss said his company donated the table to Johns Hopkins student and alumni partly because of its strong sense of community. “
I feel it’s important to support higher education,” he said. “Johns Hopkins has a strong presence in our county and helps supports many Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce initiatives, including the Health IT Breakfast Forums. [JHU Montgomery County Executive Director] Elaine Amir is a strong business leader and MCCC board member.”
Reiss made sure to stop by the Hopkins table during the evening to network with the students and provide encouraging words for these emerging leaders.
The dinner opened with welcoming remarks from Gigi Godwin, President and CEO of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. U.S. Senator Ben Cardin delivered an empowering speech about the importance of leadership in the business community and Congressman Chris Van Hollen thanked the Chamber Board of Directors and commended the award winners for their positive impact in Montgomery County.
During the evening, Reiss also presented his detailed economic vision for Montgomery County. The Johns Hopkins students all agreed that his remarks had a resounding effect on them as he urged business leaders to do business with humanity in mind. Reiss also encouraged leaders to think global and act local.
“We want to bring the world of business to the Montgomery County Chamber by engaging experts in the U.S. and foreign markets to guide our members in the global marketplace,” he added.
The evening concluded with a laser show followed by a passing of the torch by MCCC 2011-2012 Chairman of the Board Tom McElroy to Reiss, who will serve as the MCCC Chairman for 2012-2013.
“We were extremely pleased to have the opportunity for our students to attend the Chamber’s Annual Dinner to network and experience what a great business community we have in Montgomery County,” Amir said.
“There are many opportunities for Hopkins students to benefit from the access to business and government leaders that a Hopkins experience affords,” she added. “We educate students both in and beyond the classroom. Our students are our future and we do everything we can to ensure that our next leaders really understand the community, learn from it and learn to give back.”
Trisha Valencia, an undergraduate student and sales executive, agreed that this opportunity was a great example of “learning beyond the classroom” that Johns Hopkins offers for students. During the evening, Valencia said that while she knows attendance at business events like this are beneficial, she doesn’t yet know how to apply this type of hands on experience to her career and education at Hopkins or how to get tangible results from attendance.
“I don't go to networking events expecting to get something tangible out of it every time,” Steele explained. “But slowly over time you build up your list of contacts so that when you have a question you have this deep roster of people whose expertise you can call upon.”
Reiss agreed about the importance of events such as these for networking.
“It is important for students, especially business students, to interface with businesses and gain business experience as soon as they can through internships, part time work and networking events,” he said. “The Chamber Annual Dinner provided the students an opportunity to meet the County's business leaders which could lead to real opportunities now or in the future, but at a minimum, get them more comfortable communicating with company executives and a start establishing business relationships.”
Claudia Bellony received her MBA from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in December. She currently is looking to return to the workplace after taking six months off with her newborn twins.