How NC Parents Can Help WFU

Parents are the most enthusiastic supporters of Wake Forest, and they often ask the Parent Programs office what they can do to help the University.  I recently met with Lori Sykes, Assistant Director of Corporate Relations in the Wake Forest University Schools of Business, to talk about her role and some opportunities to involve parents meaningfully in helping our students.  Here’s what she had to say.

What does your office do?
As a member of the Employer Development Team, I work with North Carolina organizations to understand their talent needs and recruiting processes to identify opportunities where Wake Forest talent can be part of the solution.  We work with all types of employers and make connections that support the work of the Career Management Center and Office of Personal and Career Development.  These relationships create a pool of prospective employers, field study sponsors, as well as mentors and speakers. 

Why is it helpful to have parents and alumni involved?
It is always easier to try and introduce Wake Forest to a new company/potential employer of our students if we have an internal advocate.  A Wake Forest parent or alumni connection can help smooth the way.  Because of their relationship with the University, parents and alumni have a greater understanding of the talent level of Wake Forest students.  They can also help encourage their colleagues to consider hiring WFU students for jobs and internships – the Wake Forest network helps us open doors to a lot of great companies.

Are there ways that parents can help – especially those who live closer to the University and say they’d love to volunteer in some way?
Of course we want to post jobs and internships for our students – so that would apply to any parent who can help connect us to their organization. But we also have more local opportunities where parent support would be terrific.  Our MA in Management students have an Action Learning Project as part of their curriculum.  This is a real world work experience – and we need to have fairly local companies (within a 45 minute drive) as sponsoring organizations. 

Can you give me an example of an action learning project and the types of companies that host our students?
Action Learning Projects (ALP) are significant hands-on learning experiences where the students and the sponsoring organizations both receive value.  As an ALP sponsor, companies work with a team of 5 students to complete a series of projects.  This year we have 18 great organizations from industries such as banking, manufacturing, healthcare, and non-profit to name a few.

Mike Reeves, Vice President of Corporate Development for Primo Water is excited that Primo will provide an opportunity for this year’s team of MA students to be involved in historic growth at the company,  “We are taking our company public, and the students are experiencing the process, seeing what it took to get to this point, and what happens going forward.”  Primo Water is one of six returning sponsors this year. 

Does your office only support business students? Or also liberal arts undergraduates?
The team works across every school and department to represent all Wake Forest students.

How should interested parents contact you if they want to get more involved?
For more information about hiring Wake Forest students or to become a future Action Learning Project sponsor, contact Lori Sykes, Assistant Director of Corporate Relations, Career Management Center, 336-758-3850.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
As a parent of a freshman, I am excited every day about the possibilities.  Support from Wake Forest parents as mentors, speakers,  panelists, and advocates of Wake Forest talent that result in projects, internships and full time employment makes my work very rewarding.

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