Banter With Bigwigs – Learning for the Next Generation

It was all about networking and learning for the next generation of community leaders how top executives in the Halton and Hamilton regions have succeeded throughout their professional and personal lives.

“The turnout was great, everyone was engaged,” said Mike Zack, Chair of the United Way Halton and Hamilton’s (UWHH) GenNext committee and Scotiabank Branch Manager and Mutual Funds Representative. “Networking is an essential part of becoming successful. We all need mentors and having a network of established mentors is one step for anyone starting out in their career. I know for me, I wouldn’t be where I am today without my close group of mentors who I maintain a positive relationship with to this day.”

Over 50 aspiring professionals and 35 C-Suite executives gathered at NUVO Network UWHH GenNext’s annual Banter with Bigwigs.

“I came out tonight to meet people, network and hear experiences from a very intriguing line up of respected professionals,” said Dazana Hasan, 20, third year Automation Engineering student at McMaster University. “This event is great because it provides insight into how they reached their professional goals and their drive to overcome obstacles.”

Networking with top executives was the focal point of GenNext’s fourth Banter with Bigwigs, but meeting other aspiring professionals was also on the agenda.

Mohammed Ali, 30, second year Community Worker, Outreach and Community Development at Sheridan College said the event was fantastic because of the one-on-one with top executives.

“This is a great idea because it allows us to form strategic partnerships and gain experience networking, while meeting professionals who are well respected in their industries,” he said. “For me, it was informative to talk with leaders in the not-for-profit sectors because my career aspiration is to change lives for the marginalized in our communities with the greatest impact.”

For 29-year-old and soon to be MBA graduate of McMaster’s Degroote School of Business, Rishab Kumar, participating in another Banter of Bigwigs is a no brainer.

“It’s a really nice set up, very well organized – this is my first time, but I would come back again,” he said. “There were a lot of influential executives from the not-for-profit sectors and it’s great to know how they got involved in community centric initiatives, because that’s my long term goal, give back to the community.”

The engagement and focus of attendees were clear signs of the event’s success.

Brad Park, President and CEO of UWHH, said Banter for Bigwigs continues to grow year over year.

“I am really impressed with our GenNext Committee, they are truly dedicated to ensuring their events get bigger and better each year,” he said. “These types of events only happen when everyone helps out. NUVO Network has been a community champion, and I thank them for allowing us to use their space. I personally thank all the executives who took time from their busy schedules to participate and all the young professionals for attending. They will all carve their own path towards success.”

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