Escaping the summer heat, GovCon interns in the area stepped away from their desks to spend an afternoon with the WashingtonExec NextGen Beltway Leaders to learn how to develop elevator pitches and the security clearance process.
NextGen Beltway Leaders is a group ranging from high school seniors to recent college graduates dedicated to building a professional network and learning about business and the GovCon industry their parents are a part of.
Speaker Bob London, Founder and President of London, Ink, a B2B marketing and communications consulting firm based in Washington, DC, taught the attendees the seven steps to creating a masterful elevator pitch.
“A lot of people will say that the purpose of an elevator pitch is to land a job, but actually it’s to make a connection that will lead to something,” said London. “No one has ever been hired on an elevator because of their elevator pitch – if you’re aiming for a job or an opportunity at a non-profit all that comes after you have made a connection with someone.”
An effective elevator pitch incorporates a person’s goals, strengths, proof of their capabilities and an ‘ask’ for an opportunity to further the discussion at another time. As the cliché goes, “practice makes perfect,” and an elevator pitch is only as great as the time and effort put toward creating the pitch.
London also stressed the importance of networking and taking advantage of every opportunity you have to meet new people and sell your personal brand.
“One thing I learned from Bob London’s talk was that your network is ‘you get out what you put in,’” said Jacob Singer, a junior at James Madison University. “If you’re striking up conversations in elevators, giving out business cards left-and-right, or even just sending your resume out to professionals – you’re going to go a long way and land a lot of business you would not have received otherwise.”
The other discussion on the do’s and don’ts of the security clearance process was led by security expert Steve Radloff, Executive Director of Security at ManTech International.
Radloff explained the process of obtaining a security clearance from beginning to end – and more importantly explained what it takes to maintain a security clearance.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for the next generation of contracting professionals,” said Joseph D’Antuono, a senior at Johns Hopkins University. “It was chance for ambitious and career-driven interns to learn from professionals’ experiences to navigate the complex security clearance process.”
Radloff describes security clearances as a life-long commitment. Even if you no longer have a clearance, it is still a responsibility and duty to keep learned information classified.
“Edward Snowden… Manning… the Rosenbergs – all spies, all in the U.S., all insiders who had security clearances,” said Radloff. “Insider threat is one of the biggest problems we face right now.”
“The presentations were meaningful and engaging and benefited us all. I look forward to the upcoming event in December!,” Rhea Somaiya, Cornell University student.
Thanks to London, Radloff, and venue sponsor Mehul Sanghani, Founder and CEO of Octo Consulting Group, attendees left the event with new-found knowledge to take with them in their future-careers.
“WashingtonExec NextGen helped me meet like-minded, driven students and strengthen my professional network,” said Rachel Iwicki, a Virginia Tech freshman. “I walked out of the event with valuable information and connections that I know will help me as I start my search for a career.”
The group of young professionals will meet again in December 2015.
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