Skip to main content

Poole College Employer Summit Fuels Talent Pipeline

In addition to highlighting key engagement opportunities for employers, the summit invites them to brainstorm new, unique ideas to source talent.

Dean Frank Buckless welcoming Employer Summit attendees
Dean Frank Buckless welcomes Employer Summit attendees.

From equipping students with experiential learning opportunities to bringing real-world business problems into the classroom, Poole College of Management’s Career Center builds on NC State’s mission to Think and Do by preparing skilled, competitive candidates ready to add value to their company on day one. That’s why building bridges between employers and students is so important — and why events like the college’s Employer Summit play a key role in helping organizations source top talent.

Held on Thursday, June 13, at James B. Hunt Jr. Library, this year’s Employer Summit gathered more than 60 attendees and highlighted key engagement opportunities for employers on campus — including practicum projects, guest presentations, career fairs, case competitions, industry insight panels and more. 

Evaluating Recruitment and Hiring Trends

In addition to highlighting the various engagement opportunities at Poole College of Management, the Employer Summit allows employers to discuss which strategies and tactics have yielded the highest ROI and brainstorm new, unique ideas to source talent.

“Not every employee relations team has the ability to hold an in-person summit, and I’m always grateful that NC State’s Poole College of Management does. It helps build our relationship with the career services team and find and attract the best talent to our company,” says Julia Orlidge-Diehl, university relations business partner at Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. “It’s a great way to gain insight into fellow employer trends in hiring and recruiting as well.”

To help employers keep abreast of the latest employment trends, Annie Murray, director of graduate career services for Poole College of Management, discussed results of the 2024 NACE Job Outlook Survey — including hiring projects by industry, the comparability of online degrees to in-person degrees, the future of hybrid work, and key skills and competencies employers look for when assessing candidates. 

Employer Summit participants collaborating

Investing Time and Energy

Following a networking lunch, Abha Bowers, chief growth officer at Walk West and head performance coach at ISI Elite Training, led a keynote presentation about spending time and energy. Sharing about her wellness journey, Bowers explained her decision to step down as CEO from Walk West, a marketing agency in Durham, N.C., in order to devote more time to her passion project: coaching. Shifting to a part-time role as chief growth officer at Walk West enabled her to become head coach for ISI Elite Training — and provided more flexibility to spend time with her kids.

“One myth is that there’s a set path for everyone. Young people in particular often have this perception that there’s a ladder — and it’s linear,” Bowers says. “I’m trying to do everything I can to show you that it’s lateral and that we can zigzag.”

Bowers led attendees in an ecomapping exercise focused on determining which people, places and tasks take away energy and serve as sources of stress — and which give them energy back. She closed with a few reflections for early career seekers.

“What I tell young people all the time is to not put so much pressure on themselves,” Bowers says. “When I first went into marketing, I was so laser-focused on climbing the ladder. I put blinders on when the world told me there were other things I was passionate about.” 

Keynote speaker Abha Bowers.

Fostering Mutually Beneficial Connections

According to Joey Levene, talent acquisition and human resources intern for Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, the summit was an insightful look into the importance of investing time wisely and into the most strategic engagement opportunities on campus. A Poole College of Management student himself, Levene says the summit was also a reminder of the value of Poole College’s Career Center, which facilitated multiple opportunities that led to his internship with Toshiba.

“My journey with Toshiba first began in Christina DeBerardino’s M120 professional development class when Julia came to present on the art of networking,” Levene says.

“Joey waited patiently to shake my hand afterwards, tell me how much he enjoyed my talk and express his hope to stay in touch,” Orlidge-Diehl remembers. “A week later, he came by Toshiba’s booth at Poole College’s Career Fair to check in and learn more about the team. Fast forward a month later and he came to a trek site visit Toshiba coordinated with Poole College to allow students to check out our headquarters in Durham. Then, in November, Joey signed up for a mock interview slot with me through the same M120 course.”

To prepare for these events, Levene scheduled an appointment with the Career Center to look over his resume and practice his interview skills, which helped improve his confidence. 

“Over the next few months, Joey remained in touch over LinkedIn messaging, and then I saw him once again at Poole College’s spring career fair in 2024. His consistency in staying in touch and his true interest in Toshiba — without being too pushy — made him an absolute no-brainer when our team had an internship opening,” Orlidge-Diehl says. “We’re so glad to have Joey on the team and like to call his path to landing an internship ‘The Joey Method’ — and we look forward to seeing how he shares this method of landing a role with us with other students.”

Advancing Recruiting Efforts

Levene’s story is just one example of why events like the Poole College of Management Employer Summit exist.

“The Career Center facilitates connections between employers and students, benefiting both by promoting a pipeline of well-prepared, talented students ready to enter the workforce,” says Connie Fowler, employer relations manager at Poole College. “Our Employer Summit advances employers’ recruiting efforts by allowing them to hear about these open engagement opportunities early in the recruiting season so they can start filling their calendar with the most beneficial events.”