GradusTalks: Startups Recap

Having GradusTalks: Startups withdrawals? Here is an article written by one of our ambassadors, Patrick Labrador, sharing his experiences at the event. Patrick is going to his 4th year at SFU Beedie School of Business with a passion for digital marketing and entrepreneurship. Check out his thoughts on GradusTalks: Startups below:


Having joined GradusOne as an ambassador only months before, I didn’t know what to expect from a GradusTalks event, especially since this was the first implementation of a larger, quarterly held event. I was eager to witness the reach and capability of GradusOne as an organization built upon student advocacy. Surely enough, they did not disappoint.

This particular event, GradusTalks: Startups, was one I was highly interested in as it brought about a wonderful array of successful local startups, CEOs and founders, and many more business leaders with vast amounts of industry and professional knowledge. What I really liked about the panel discussion segment was that the various CEOs and founders didn’t just focus on the startup space, or even about their specific businesses, but they also spoke about their personal experiences and the lessons they learned through their professional journey that they endured to get where they are today. Advice ranging from steps to personal and professional development, career exploration, and key insights into their industries were tips I took to heart. It was the culmination of these topics and panelists that made it feel like a conversation than a presentation. We, as students, felt like we were included in the discussion, as if we were sitting down with them, one-on-one over a casual cup of coffee. It was exactly the right type of discussion for this audience.

It can be intimidating to approach a speaker or panelist after a powerful speech, but the networking opportunities here were very inviting. I spoke with the founders of ShareShed, Guiides.com, All Inclusive Marketing, Riipen, and a variety of booths where representatives were available to chat and speak about what they do and the opportunities available. I remember striking conversation I had with the Director of Business Development for All Inclusive Marketing. We connected at an unprecedented level. His name was also Patrick, and we discussed business ideas, internship opportunities, and even about Pokemon Go! This just goes to show the welcoming and encouraging nature of GradusTalks events, and the careful planning and execution of its organizing committee.

The close-knit community of GradusOne Ambassadors only added value to the intimate atmosphere of the panel discussion and the networking sessions. I truly believe that I received the intended experience that was the objective for the GradusOne team. Overall, I found this event to be extremely valuable with the new lasting connections I’ve made and insight I gained from friendly and knowledgeable professionals. If it was valuable to me, it was as valuable, if not greater, to the hundreds of other students and young professionals that attended the event. I look forward to the next GradusTalks event!

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