The second annual Career Planning Fair is just around the corner, next Wednesday, Nov. 5. The Chamber recently got the opportunity to sit down with this year’s keynote speaker, Jordan Malone, to get his thoughts on what it takes to be successful as well as discuss the need for parent involvement, and closing the gap between the business community and the educational experience.
Jordan Malone is a fellow Dentonite and U.S. Olympian. He participated in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, medaling in both. Since the last Olympic games, Malone has spent the majority of his time working for and attending the University of North Texas, where he is currently working on a Master’s in Electrical Engineering.
Malone wants to convey to the students at this year’s career fair, that planning plays a crucial role in the pathway to success. Malone also stated that his mother always made planning for his future a priority.
“When you’re in university, you just sort of expect that, ‘oh I will just figure it out once I get there,’” Malone said. “No, you need to have an understanding before hand. Planning ahead is the first step towards any form of success, in my opinion.”
Malone hopes to offer these students a “Rocky-type setting” where they feel like they have a mission and goals. He wants them to leave feeling like they have a path set before them.
“A lot of elements of my speech will allow me to talk more about outreaching towards opportunity,” Malone said. “And I think I can offer a unique perspective because I’m out there talking to them without that sort of disconnect. I am a fellow student, so I am serving as a role model and an example.”
Director of UNT’s Outreach office, Patrick Vasquez, also shares the same thoughts on the disconnect between the business and educational community.
“There is a disconnect,” Vasquez said. “Denton is a very resource-rich community when it comes to education and also very rich in corporations. So, the idea that we could find a way to merge these two parts together and then to really fulfill what should be an obligation to any business, and certainly to a university, and that is to give to the community.”
Businesses are somewhat cautious when considering participating in events like this. Vasquez and Malone both feel it is a business’s duty to be more engaged in the community they live in and to help the imminent growth it is sure to see.
“I think as a business, there is a fight to either stand off, where you just stand off and be a business, or to be a part of the environment you’re placed in,” Malone said. “There’s a huge difference between a business and a hometown company and I think this is an opportunity for those businesses to become a hometown company. I think it’s always a good idea to invest in your own backyard.”
Malone is still drafting his keynote speech for the upcoming Career Planning Fair, but left the Chamber with a little taste for what he has in store.
“Hopefully, I can metaphorically lay out the willingness to go towards challenges,” Malone said. “The single characteristic that got me anywhere in life is just thriving on the challenge. I just want to help these kids see the reality that you are not just going here to earn money and sit on your butt, you’re here because everybody else is going to want to earn money and do something fun, but the fact is: the fun is the challenge. If you go after the things that are more difficult, you’re going to set yourself apart from the rest.”
“One other element besides the challenge, one of the statements I’m going to be making is that half of being successful is just showing up. You won’t believe how many people have the talent and just never show up.”
BY: KRISTEN WATSON
And a huge thank you to all of our sponsors for this year’s Career Planning Fair:
City of Denton
The Heart Hospital Baylor Denton
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
Texas Woman’s University
Denton Regional Medical Center