Office of Communications and Marketing
Mariia Diahilieva ’26 was a high school exchange student in New Hampshire when the Russo-Ukrainian War escalated in February 2022.
Attendees heard from distinguished speakers, participated in interactive learning sessions and put their networking and public-speaking skills to the test in front of alumni and others on hand. After two successful retreats held for soon-to-be graduates, this was the first event tailored to members of the Class of 2018.
In addition to career advisers from the O’Brien Center for Career Development and representatives of Merrimack’s college leadership council and board of trustees, 10 additional campus partners served as small-group facilitators for the event. The inclusion of a larger network of administrators, faculty and staff was a change praised by event organizers and conference attendees.
“For so long, professors have seen their jobs as teaching in the classroom teaching and doing research,” said Jake Turner, associate professor and chair of communications. “But now, more than ever, it is so important that we are stepping outside of the classroom, collaborating with our partners on campus, and helping to prepare students for their career path.
“Our participation in events like this,” he added, “is so important in helping to do that. I just had a student come up and ask me for a business card. And now the door is open. I am able to give something to him, and hopefully in return, he will be able to give something back to me. It’s about creating that network.”
This year’s keynote speaker, trustee Robert Zatta ’71, director of Innophos Holdings, stressed to students the importance of honesty and integrity in any business.
“Some concepts, some truths, are never-changing,” he said, “and being honest, and acting ethically and being trustworthy are at the top of the list of things you want your career and your life to be based on.”
Other speakers and sessions included:
The retreat is a collaboration between the Office of the President and the O’Brien Center for Career Development. The winter event was sponsored by the Advocator Group; Huron Consulting Group; ProCon; Patriot Energy Group; State Street Foundation; the James W. O’Brien Foundation; Karen Cambray ’88 and John W. Piekos Jr.; Brian J. Downer ’87; Dennis ’77 and Norma Leonard; Vincent J. Ragucci III ’86 and Stacy Ragucci; Michael ’80 and Maura ’82 Shunney; and Robert ’71 and Kathleen Zatta.