The Importance of Building a Professional Digital Footprint
On Saturday, November 16th, I had the incredible opportunity to speak at the “Building Your Brand” conference at The Wharton School of Business. I was invited to educate the Philadelphia Futures high school seniors about the importance of building a professional digital footprint. The Wharton students who coordinated the event, and the Philadelphia Futures high school seniors were both inspiring and impressive.
Nine students in the freshmen Management 100 class of Wharton School of Business were assigned to organize a conference for a philanthropic organization of their choice. They chose the Philadelphia Futures, and I am so grateful they did.
The Philadelphia Futures is an admirable program which provides Philadelphia’s low-income, first-generation-to-college students with the tools and resources to prepare them for college. The Philadelphia Futures supports the students with mentors and like-minded peers all trying to achieve the same goal of higher education and a career. The Philadelphia Futures prepare their students for college with resources like free SAT tutoring and rare opportunities like the “Building Your Brand” conference.
The nine Wharton students who named their team “Cobblestone Consulting” did an outstanding job executing the event that included myself and two other keynote speakers. They even provided the Philadelphia Futures with professional headshots to use for their LinkedIn profile pictures, and any digital platform.
Cobblestone Consulting was referred to me by another Wharton student who attended my LinkedIn presentation at General Assembly. They invited me to the conference because of my online branding experience and specifically in the work I do as a personal branding and online reputation trainer to executives.
My presentation, “Branding Your Digital Footprint” available on my Slideshare account, emphasizes the importance of creating, delivering and managing a professional image in all social media. Further, advantages of using LinkedIn as a college tool and then as a career-building and online sales tool.
The students of The Philadelphia Futures ranged in their knowledge of social media tools, especially LinkedIn. Some high school students had already started putting together their LinkedIn profiles, while others had never heard of it. The students were very engaged and respectful during the presentation– a handful of students really impressed me with their professionalism, and humbled me with their gratitude.
One special student from Northeast High School, Brandon Marcelis, stood up after my presentation and thanked me for teaching him an invaluable lesson, and sent me an email to express his gratitude.
“I would like to give you a huge thanks for the lesson you gave at the conference. I will never forget that experience ever. I took away so much during that session it is unforgettable.”
It was great to see students understanding the value of what they were being taught. I was inspired by Ann-Therese Ortiz, the Director of Pre-College Programs who led the students at the conference. Her passion for the Philadelphia Futures, and her dedication to them was evident in her ability to connect and engage with all of them.
The closing ceremony was heart-warming. Ann-Therese told all 150 students to have three questions to ask the Wharton students. The Philadelphia Futures asked the Wharton students about the importance of perseverance, and what they had to do to get to where they are now. The Wharton students answered with poise and empathy. It was a special thing to witness.
The conference made me proud of our education system, and I am lucky to have been a part of it. By providing resources to these students they would not otherwise have, and giving them the support and motivation to overcome obstacles – Philadelphia Futures improves our education system. Every city needs to have a program like Philadelphia Futures, and it is people like Ann-Therese who makes our world a better place.
I am proud of both the freshman students at Wharton for organizing the conference and the Philadelphia Futures students who spent their Saturday bettering themselves, and the program which made it possible. I was proud to be a part of the conference, and I am grateful to have met the Philadelphia Futures and the bright Wharton students who made it all happen.
I am looking forward to training more students on the importance of building a professional digital footprint.