Business expo sheds light on job search for students

Spotify company shares smiles as they finish addressing the college students at the HBCU Black business expo tour. Photos special to the Outlook

Spotify company shares smiles as they finish addressing the college students at the HBCU Black business expo tour. Photos special to the Outlook



Staff report

Since graduating from FAMU more than 10 years ago, Xavier Jernigan has made a few career stops on his way to landing his current job as head of Spotify’s North America Division for shows and editorial.
Just the type of job he’d been searching for.

On Saturday, Jernigan returned to his alma mater with representatives from a handful of other companies to inform business students about potential opportunities. Jernigan took the platform to remind the group that will soon be seeking that perfect job that the path could take a few twists and turns.

Especially for minorities coming out of college.

“Life after graduation is hard,” said Jernigan to his audience at FAMU’s Grand Ballroom. “Being able to make connections with people early and getting your name out there is very important.

“For me to be able to come back to my alma mater and stand up here to give my secrets on success and provide internship opportunities is pretty amazing. (It’s) what this HBCU tour is all about.”
The opportunity to establish connection with major companies came in the form of the 2020Shifts Black Business Expo. The event, which is geared toward minority students, brought together a lineup of businesses that included Google, MasterCard, Spotify and Uber, along with some Black businesses and entrepreneurs.

“This is really a great professional development opportunity,” said Janel Martinez, who along with Ariel Lopez founded 2020Shift. “This event brought these big networks to these kids and they will be able to network with big name businesses.”

2020Shift is a company that helps technology and digital media businesses diversify their recruitment process and provide leadership skills to the minorities. In part, the tour also helps to identify potential talent.

“We wanted to bring our tour here to FAMU and give the students, whether in analytics, design, marketing, sales and product, we want these students to know that being in the business industry doesn’t have to be so forma,.” Lopez said.

The tour started with a stop in Atlanta that brought together students from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spellman College. It moves to the Khalif Event Center in Greensboro, N.C., for a joint gathering of business students from North Carolina A&T, Technical State University, North Carolina University and Shaw University.
Students will have an opportunity to discuss resources, how to start up their own companies and how to scale their venture, as was the case at FAMU. The students also got information on how to land an internship.

Business student Yolene Deris relished the face-to-face opportunity and the contacts she established.

“It is a great event for young professionals to network with professionals in their prospective fields,” said Deris. “It allowed me to gain more knowledge of the hurdles that we will face. I feel we will be better equipped to handle the challenges that I may potentially face in my career.”

Outlook writer Ashia Glover contributed to this report.