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Human Resources
Alumni-Student Mentoring Program Prepares Future Workforce 


By Miles Doyle
Christopher Gulotta, FCLC '82 and LAW '88, the founder and principal attorney at the Gulotta Group and Paradigm Title Agency, was one of 98 alumni to participate in the Alumni and Student Mentoring Program this year.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert

On April 14, a group of Fordham alumni and undergraduates gathered at the Lincoln Center campus to celebrate the conclusion of a semester-long mentoring program that pairs professionally established alumni with career-minded, ambitious students interested in getting a better understanding of what it takes to succeed in business.

Sponsored by the Office of Career Services and the Office of Alumni Relations, the Alumni and Student Mentoring Program is designed to give students the opportunity to connect with a select group of Fordham alumni working in the metropolitan area.

“A lot of schools have great alumni networks,” said Christopher Gulotta, FCLC ’82 and LAW ’88, the founder and principal attorney at the Gulotta Group and Paradigm Title Agency. “But there aren’t many that are centered in New York City. Fordham’s alumni network is a great resource to draw on.”

Gulotta was one of about 100 alumni who participated in the program this year.

Throughout the semester, students communicate regularly with mentors and often shadow them at their respective offices or places of business. In the process, students gain practical networking experiences and, in some cases, invaluable insight into a particular profession.

Mardeah Gbotoe, a Fordham College of Liberal Studies senior, signed up for the mentoring program to get a competitive advantage in an increasingly tight job market.

“When you get into your senior year, the real world starts to come into play,” said Gbotoe, who was paired with Kristen Laudonia, GSE ’08, a teacher at the Hewitt School, an independent primary and secondary school for girls. “[Kristen] was very helpful about the [job hunting] process, especially, in my case, about breaking into teaching.

“She taught me the importance of networking and how to sell myself.”

The program, which was started in the spring of 2004, has grown from 45 mentor-mentee pairs to more than 100, according to the Office of Alumni Relations. For many alumni, it is an easy way to reconnect with—and give back to—Fordham.

“As a Fordham graduate, I feel like we have a responsibility to try and do more to help current students,” said Paul Reilly, FCRH ’80, an executive vice president and senior account director at the advertising agency BBDO. “This is a great opportunity to expose students to things they may have never considered, like interviewing skills, putting together a resume, networking, things like that. It’s not necessarily job specific.”

The Alumni and Student Mentoring Program, which was started in the spring of 2004, has grown from 45 mentor-mentee pairs to more than 100 and is an easy way to reconnect with—and give back to—Fordham.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert
Reilly mentored Caitlin Zwick and Lesley Sotolongo, sophomores at the College of Business Administration majoring in marketing and business economics. Although neither Zwick nor Sotolongo intends to pursue a career in advertising, Reilly put them in contact with a number of colleagues who might be able to help them in the future.

“He went out of his way to get to know me and how I work,” said Zwick, who signed up for the program to get a better sense of how to prepare for the job-hunting process. “Then he went through his own network to find more people I could connect with.

“He really took the time to help me.”

Zwick and Sotolongo attended the closing dinner, which was held at the Cafeteria Atrium, Lincoln Center campus, to show their gratitude for Reilly’s continued generosity and to celebrate the spirit of the mentoring program.

“This is a really good program,” said Sotolongo. “It helped me realize that you have to get out and talk to people. Everything is intertwined.”

The mentoring program is just one of the University’s Office of Alumni Relations’ numerous networking opportunities. In addition to holding a series of alumni events throughout the year, the office launched last year FordhamCircle, an online social network for alumni to connect with one another through colleagues and professional groups. To date, more than 2,100 Fordham alumni have created accounts.

Fordham alumni also have a growing presence on the social-networking websites Facebook and LinkedIn.

“Having the brand of Fordham behind you is a tremendous asset and a tremendous starting point,” said Michael Richitelli, FCRH ’95 and GBA ’01, a director at Moody’s Investors Service. “The first step toward utilizing your degree is the alumni network.

“It’s up to you to use it.”

Miles Doyle, FCRH '01, is the associate editor of FORDHAM magazine.

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