On Thursday morning, Education Equal Opportunity Group Inc. hosted a Career Speed Networking Program for more than 100 local high school students at The Factory at Franklin.
Students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with multiple successful professionals spanning careers across Tennessee.
Founded in 2001, the EEOG's mission is to prepare students to excel academically and improve their quality of life.
“The EEOG core belief: ‘It is extremely tough to be what you cannot see!’ therefore, we provide students with direct exposure to top industry leaders through strategic engagement,” President George Thomas wrote in a statement. “The EEOG exposes students to alternatives to dropping out of school. EEOG has helped more than 30,000 students increase their financial literacy, leadership development and self-efficacy knowledge base.”
Kevin Townsel, human resources director of the city of Franklin and former EEOG board chair, and Elaine Whitney, founder and director of development of One Generation Away, also spoke to the students about the importance of cultivating relationships in business and receiving advice from successful mentors.
“I was extremely excited about the number of adults we got to come out and talk to these kids,” Townsel said. “They’re people at the top of their industry, and they all came out to help out the kids. I think I’d prefer that we had more kids. Usually, when we’ve done this in Nashville, we have close to 250 kids, but I do feel satisfied we served the kids that were there [on Thursday]."
More than 60 local professionals attended the networking program, including Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey, Travis Lester, senior manager of Diversity and Inclusion at Mars Petcare, and Franklin Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Greg Baltimore.
"I felt really honored to meet so many students who have such great potential," Lester said. "The career speed networking opportunity is so unique because I think one piece of success we don't talk about enough is exposure.
"I think given those students' exposure to different professionals in their community, I think it's going to change their lives."