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Take the Next Step... With ALPFA

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The ALPFA Members and Officers during the 2016 National Convention.

In an early morning of my summer after my first year in college, I saw a notification from the UT Dallas email, and it stated, “Congratulations! You have been selected to serve as the Marketing Director for the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).”

A smile stretched from right to left , and I got off my bed to let my family know about the news. I was honored to be part of an organization whose mission I embrace: “To empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation, in every sector of the global economy.” The emphasis on developing a system where we can do it all brings a trove of unlimited opportunities, “Si Se Puede” (Yes We Can).

As the marketing director, my role is to promote the ALPFA UTD chapter brand, reach out to the target markets of all majors and ethnicities, and increase membership through market strategies. Although I had a good idea of ALPFA’s overall brand, I learned the overall values, empowerment and purpose when I attended the national convention this past summer. The convention was held at the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, from August 5 to August 9.

Since this was my first convention I knew I had to prepare a little in order to get the best out of this opportunity. From the advice of ALPFA members and professionals, I decided to make business cards, revise my résumé, and buy sharp business professional clothes and a portfolio. Opportunities like the ALPFA convention are one of the benefits of a post-secondary education, which involves not only earning a degree but is also an opportunity to open doors and build new ones. Education is an investment, and what you put in it is what you will get out.

Jenny Garcia at the ALPFA conference at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.

As I took the first steps at the Gaylord, I knew I had to get out of my comfort zone, so I started to make conversations not only throughout the informative workshops, inspiring speeches and luncheons, but anywhere. Throughout the professional networking events and discussions in the hallways with students from other institutions, I got to know about private events, interview sessions and specific individuals to reach out to. You never know who knows who, so it is essential to network and get yourself out there. Not only to network but to build relationships.

At a convention like this, it is essential to get out of your comfort zone and bring the best version of yourself. Be your best self, shine bright and make sure you set goals and achieve them. If you have a goal to interview with PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big Four auditors, then you should talk to as many representatives from the company and students who are interning there as possible. The career fair, luncheons and workshops inform you about the global market and prepare you for an interview. Get out of your comfort zone to have conversations with professionals or take selfies with them.

Jenny with Claudia from Target Corporation at the 2016 National ALPFA Conference.

At the career fair, I stopped by the Target booth, and I had the pleasure to meet Claudia Rodriguez. Claudia majored in marketing at The University of Texas at Austin. Claudia had similar goals to mine, such as to study abroad and have successful positions in marketing. She told me it is not easy to attain a high-level marketing position straight from college, so I need to work my way to the position. Moreover, you will have to take other roles and attain as much knowledge to get your “dream” position. Indeed, share your story and let others share their stories as well.

New situations and new circumstances can be scary, but do not let fear stop you from going above and beyond. In one of the last workshops I attended, Jorge Ferraez, the president and publisher of Latino Leaders Magazine, shared an important reflection: “If you think too much, you will not make the next step.” Definitely, the overall experience was magical and phenomenal.

ALPFA CEO Charlie Garcia (left) with Jennifer Garcia at the ALPFA Convention in Grapevine in August.

Take the next step and make the best out of your post-secondary education. Come to our general meetings, our professional networking events and our next national convention in Las Vegas!

Keep in touch with ALPFA!

Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer (Jenny) Garcia is a sophomore majoring in global business and is honored to be a student at UT Dallas. She is passionate about the business world and community involvement. At UT Dallas, she is part of the Academic Bridge Program, Career Management Center Ambassador Program and Association of Latino Professionals For America. In her spare time, she loves watching shows and taking photos around the Dallas-Fort-Worth area. Read more articles

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