Alumni find many ways to participate in and contribute to the life of Fordham University and often these are self-directed passions rather than institutional initiatives. For Carlos Oliveras, FCRH ’79, it was a desire to help people and help Fordham that led him to form Bridge2Business with a group of other like-minded alumni. What started as an idea is now a growing organization serving the needs of students, alumni, Fordham, and the New York City business community.
A few years ago, Oliveras and his fellow members of the Bridge2Business leadership team—all alumni representing classes from the 1960s to the ’90s—developed an idea for a networking group of executive-level alumni that would work in partnership with Fordham University. This network of alumni contacts working at leading companies in industries—spanning from government to publishing—help to identify internship and employment opportunities at their employers for Fordham students, recent graduates, and alumni in transition.
“When people come up to us, we find out what industry they are interested in and we introduce them to people in that industry,” says Oliveras, chair of Bridge2Business. “Because you’re much more likely to get a job through networking with a person, than through an online application.”
This network of dedicated volunteer alumni is Bridge2Business’ membership network of 200 members so far—all alumni who have graduated at least eight years ago and have been or are in a senior or executive role—who help to identify the various opportunities. Members work in such organizations as the Wildlife Conservation Society, MagnaCare, Barclay Capital, McCann Erickson, UBS Investment Bank, NBCUniversal, and IMG Sports.
These influential alumni, “can be a conduit,” says Oliveras, CEO and managing director of Kane (USA), Inc., the U.S. operations for Kane, the largest global independent insurance manager. “We can use our influence and expertise to open doors. At the same time, students and alumni can be networking and learning about different organizations.”
When alumni within the membership network identify a possible internship or job position opening, Bridge2Business shares that information with the Office of Career Services, who can alert interested students. Or deans from the University’s undergraduate colleges will often reach out to Bridge2Business if they know of a student or graduate who could be a great fit for a position. Bridge2Business has also worked with the career services office to help them find keynote speakers for their annual Diversity Fair.
Oliveras, who has worked in the insurance industry for more than 30 years, studied economics at Fordham College at Rose Hill. He says that while Fordham had on-campus recruiting when he was a student, career services now offers students more extensive resources. And through Bridge2Business Oliveras has found a way to be another resource to the University.
“The school allowed me to achieve things that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. I love the school,” says Oliveras, who was the first in his family to attend college.
“This is a great way to give back.”
If you want to learn more about Bridge2Business or are interested in joining the membership network, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the group’s table under the tent on Edwards Parade at Homecoming on Sept. 21.
Alumni get involved with Fordham in many ways. Find out how you can get connected and stay connected to your alma mater.
– Rachel Buttner