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Hiatt communications forum braves tough economy

Published: February 10, 2012
Section: News


Students from Brandeis and other regional universities were provided the opportunity to network with corporate leaders and international agencies at the second annual Communications Forum, sponsored by Hiatt Career Center. Joey Reiman, CEO and founder of BrightHouse, commenced the evening with his keynote address, emphasizing purpose as the crucial attribute of a successful business.

According to Caroline O’Shea, assistant director of employer relations at Hiatt, the event is designed to “give students the chance to network, learn about diverse career paths and develop connections with recruiters.” As in the previous year, the forum is not dominated by students pursuing a specific field, but rather by a blend of majors ranging from biology to fine arts to business. Representatives from marketing, PR and communications divisions of major corporations were present, including those from Liberty Mutual, Puma, Staples and Tufts Medical Center, to name a few. Commenting on the diverse industries present at the forum, O’Shea acknowledged Club Passim, a non-profit arts organization based in Harvard Square.

Commencing the evening was keynote speaker Reiman, a Brandeis graduate of the class of ’75, who has delivered speeches to more than a million individuals across the globe. Professor Grace Zimmerman of the International Business School spoke of Reiman’s numerous accolades, referring to his title as “one of the top 100 people named by Fast Company who will change the way the world thinks.”

As coiner of the term “ideation,” Reiman defines the story of purpose as “a combination of intention and contribution, where intention without contribution is impediment and contribution without intention is blind.” Recalling a devastating car accident that resulted in permanent damage to his right arm, he acknowledges the invaluable notions shared with him by a South African minister who visited the hospital. It was from this individual that he realized “ideas can cause action which can change one’s character and, subsequently, one’s destiny.” At the mere age of 29, Reiman headed toward a future of fame and fortune, a path that lead him to become founder of the global consultancy company BrightHouse and professor at the Goizeta School of Business at Emory University. BrightHouse has garnered renowned clients such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Proctor and Gamble, among others.

Asserting “the most amazing aspect of business is that it is part of every human endeavor,” Reiman further states “as humans, we are meaning seeking creatures” and thus “business must be created for purpose, not solely focused on profit.” Tracing the history of industrialization, he addresses the “four dark horses running rampage across the globe,” symbolizing prominent global issues, with “the fourth dark horse as the meanest, standing for the crisis in meaning.” Within this new era, Reiman depicts business as possessing “a saving role in an Olympian sense, of society itself.”

Furthering his message of purposeful business motivations, Reiman traced the roots of successful companies, such as Paper Mate, Pepperidge Farm and Apple, the last of which he claimed distinguished itself from competitors in the technology industry through the message of “creativity as intelligence having fun.” Reiman said, “There is nothing more important in business, nothing more important in the world, than going to work and knowing going to work will make the world so much better.”

Following the conclusion of the keynote speech, students were encouraged to network in a speed dating fashion, speaking with company representatives for 15 minute intervals. Due to the style of networking forums, O’Shea recommends that students research employers beforehand in order to develop intelligent, insightful questions. Although the forum might appear most pertinent to juniors and seniors seeking internships or employment after graduation, she encourages first-years and sophomores to “attend as early as possible in order to engage in career exploration.”

When questioned as to the success of similar events in the past, O’Shea revealed that Hiatt often receives next day follow-ups regarding Brandeis students, some of which lead to valuable internships and employment opportunities. For instance, Karen Hu ’12 was recently hired as a communications intern for the Adidas Group.

Regarding last week’s fashion show, held in collaboration with Lord & Taylor, O’Shea remarked it is always better to “err on the side of being professional” and was impressed with the clarifications of minute distinctions between appropriate business casual and professional wear. The Hiatt Career Center will also be engaging in ’Deis Impact, co-sponsoring Social Justice in American Health Care: Opportunities to Serve the Underserved as well as a film screening and panel discussion of “Waiting for Superman.”