Foster’s Business Impact Group & AIESEC Seattle Host Business Leaders Gala

On February 21, 2023, Business Impact Group (BIG) and AIESEC Seattle collaborated to host the Business Leaders Gala, a professional development and networking event at the Foster School of Business. Through alumni-led workshops, insightful panel conversations, and opportunities for networking and connections, students gained perspective about life after graduation, practiced new skills, and built connections between the organizations’ communities.

Thai Bui, Kenny Chong, Aditya Gunawan and Hiroki Onitsuka all seated

We invited alumni from AIESEC, BIG, and the Certificate for International Studies in Business (CISB) program to host four professional development workshops: Diversity in the Workplace, hosted by Thai Bui; Building Insightful BI Reports, hosted by Kenny Chong; Making a Recommendation that Lasts, hosted by Aditya Gunawan; and Global Consulting, hosted by Hiroki Onitsuka. Students rotated between each workshop, learning from alumni instruction and completing activities to practice new skills.

After students had the opportunity to attend each workshop, the event transitioned to the Alumni Panel in the Deloitte Commons. The alumni introduced themselves and Phillip Meng (President, Business Impact Group) and Willa Eisel (Lead Event Coordinator, AIESEC), prompted the alumni to talk about their job experiences, how resources at the University of Washington have helped them in their career, and how traveling internationally had increased their cultural understanding. Thai, Hiroki, and Aditya highlighted the resources they found helpful as students at the University of Washington, and Kenny, who graduated from Purdue University, discussed his own experiences coming to Seattle. They highlighted the resources they should take advantage of, the extraordinary value of the UW community, and the importance of a positive, open-minded approach to new opportunities. Additionally, alumni talked about how traveling internationally helped foster an appreciation for different cultures and the importance of jumping into new experiences. Aditya remarked that you do not even have to travel to experience different cultures: that we have the chance to experience new cultures every day. During the alumni panel there was playful banter between panel attendees and moderators, as well as thoughtful and nuanced insight for students to keep in mind.

Dinner was served with catering from Chipotle. After a few hours of workshops and then the panel, students and alumni sat down at the tables to connect with each other. This was a way to converse about informal topics or for students to ask alumni more specific questions about their job experience. In the process, students also got to know each other. Business Impact Group, which focuses on helping small businesses in Washington state, and AIESEC, which focuses on international engagement and experiences, have very different geographic reaches. However, through collaborations like these, we find that our communities have similar goals, like gaining cultural understanding and making a difference in business and beyond.  This occasion to engage, connect, and learn was made possible by the generous KATALYST Grant. From Business Impact Group and AIESEC, we would like to express our deep gratitude for the grant and to thank Kevin Caroll for his support, which provided us with this wonderful opportunity.

Willa Eisel,

Lead Event Coordinator, AIESEC

Stephanie Ispas,

Director of Outreach and Client Relations, Business Impact Group

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