On Wednesday, June 8, the Garden of Dreams Foundation teamed up with partner organization, Children's Aid Society to host its first-ever Corporate Workplace Program Career Panel at Madison Square Garden.
The Corporate Workplace Program at Children's Aid Society was created to enhance career readiness programming by conducting a series of corporate site workshops at various centers. Students are selected for the program which incorporates topics such as corporate culture, networking, public speaking, interviewing skills, and what's expected on the job.
Over ten students from various Children's Aid Society sites were provided with the unique opportunity to meet six employees from The Madison Square Garden Company and participate in a panel discussion where the panelists provided an overview of their professional journey and discussed what influenced them to choose their particular career path. The panel included: Kerryann Tomlinson, Vice President, New York Rangers Community Relations; Ashley Blackwood, Coordinator, New York Knicks Community Relations and Public Relations; Ryan Watson, Production Assistant, MSG Networks; Mandy Gutmann, Coordinator, MSG Media Public Relations; Jamaal Lesane, Vice President, Sports Operations - Legal and Business Affairs; and Emmanuel Thomas, Manager, Madison Square Garden Event Production.
Kerryann and Ashley started the panel as they spoke about their roles with their designated teams and the work they do with Garden of Dreams to make "dreams come true for kids facing obstacles", whether it be arranging player meet and greets, facilitating Dream Suite Night experiences or granting wishes.
Next, Mandy discussed her original career aspirations of being a journalist and how they changed over time through her education and work experience in the field.
After sharing a highlight reel of his television spots created for MSG Networks, Ryan talked to the students about his uncle's influence on his career path and how his uncle motivated him to pursue the television production field. In addition, Ryan spoke about where his inspiration and ideas come from for the various television spots he creates.
Jamaal grabbed the students' interest as he discussed his role at The Madison Square Garden Company providing legal support to all areas of MSG Sports, including the New York Knicks, New York Rangers and New York Liberty.
Finally, Emmanuel spoke about his passion for the company and what his responsibilities are for all events that take place at the Madison Square Garden arena from the set-up and changeover procedures to managing staffing and abiding by union policies.
A theme throughout the panelist's conversations with the students from was the importance of education and the skills necessary for any career path. After each panelist spoke, a question-and-answer session was conducted providing the students with the opportunity to interact and learn from these incredible professionals. After the discussion, the students and panelists enjoyed refreshments and continued to mingle and chat with the panelists. Each and every student was thrilled to have the opportunity.
A very special thank you to all who participated to make this event such a success!