Exactly one year after announcing the launch of the CFES Alumni Network, CFES graduates returned to the Harvard Club of New York City on December 20 to celebrate their academic and professional successes and to network with fellow alumni and NYC professionals.

The 2018 CFES Alumni Network Holiday Reception also brought together Program Directors, NYC Advisory Board members and local educators and professionals to discuss ways to support the more than 100,000 CFES alumni and 25,000 current scholars in the U.S. and Ireland.

“We met here one year ago today with a goal of connecting CFES graduates with current Scholars to serve as mentors and role models,” said CFES President and CEO Rick Dalton. “Based on what I’ve heard here tonight you have made that endeavor an incredible success while also thriving in your own careers.”

CFES graduate Julia Santos, a sophomore at Buffalo State, talked about how CFES gave her the Essential Skills needed to participate in programs like College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) that led to her landing a summer internship with Ernst & Young (EY).

“CFES really took me out my shell,” said Santos. “Without it, I would have never seen myself as a leader or taken on such a role with College MAP. The skills I developed with CFES are ones that I try to apply in different places like helping other students in college or those still in high school. CFES has been a huge part of my life and I do not know where I would be without it.”

After five successful years recruiting executives, Tony Boyle took a job in talent acquisition at Facebook in New York City. “I’m really excited about this new opportunity,” he said. “The level of talent they seek is incredible so it’s a real challenge to find employees that can meet their high standards. CFES prepared me well for this next phase in life.”

Victoria Ellerbe, a Richard R. Green High graduate, continues to thrive in the fashion industry since graduating from the Art Institute of Philadelphia in 2015. She worked for Ralph Lauren and is now an associate knit/woven designer in New York City.

Andy Ng, a CFES graduate of Booker High School in Sarasota, Fla., recently earned a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and will be starting as a Program Manager at the design strategy firm, SYPartners, in New York City.

Attendees met in groups to talk about their individual journeys as part of a networking exercise led by Ryan Williams, who co-founded Jopwell – a career platform that helps Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American students and professionals unlock opportunities for career advancement – with CFES Board Member Porter Braswell. Williams encouraged participants to “make an ask” other members of the group.

“I am asking for any advice or connections that might help me be successful in life and in my career,” said one young alum, emphasizing the importance of the Essential Skill of networking.

Learn more about the CFES Alumni Network here. To get involved, either as an alum or as an advisor, contact Alumni@brilliantpathways.org