Student Professional Development Conference | Kent State University

Student Professional Development Conference

Friday, Oct. 13, 2017
8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Conference Center
Kent State University at Stark

Are you ready to take on the “real” world?  Moving from student status to full-time employment can be a major adjustment as you navigate your way through changing routines and develop new habits. Learn what is expected of you by your manager and co-workers and how to “adult” consistently.

The second-annual Student Professional Development Conference will provide the Real World Starter Kit every graduate needs to be successful. This is a special invitation to recent graduates and seniors of Kent State University at Stark to attend an event that will give you an edge in the workplace.  

Your Real World Starter Kit includes:

  • A professional LinkedIn photo - please dress in professional business attire
  • Tools to enhance your professional image
  • Improved communication skills
  • A clear understanding of what employers expect
  • A plan to help you stay financially sound
  • New professional contacts
  • Opportunities to get connected with other area young professionals


Cost: $15 individual - or - two for $25  ($100 value)
Registration Deadline: Friday, Oct. 6


Conference Schedule

8:30 Registration  |  LinkedIn Photos  |  Networking
9:00 Opening Remarks
Faith Sheaffer-Polen, Director, Corporate University
9:15 Breakout Sessions 1 & 2
  Session 1
Slay Your First Impression!
Bob Pacanovsky
Session 2
Your True Colors: Identifying Personality Strengths
Stephanie Werren & Jenifer Hill
10:30 Break
10:45 Breakout Sessions 3 & 4
  Session 3
Financial Life after College
Amber Wallace
Session 4
Networking - Give a Little, Get a Lot
Mike Wheeler
12:00 Break
12:15 Lunch  |  Keynote Speaker
Chase One Rabbit: Habits that Lead to Success
Dr. Phil Kim, Walsh University
1:30 Closing
1:45 LinkedIn Photos

Session Descriptions

Session 1: Slay Your First Impression!
Bob Pacanovsky
How we act, behave, dine, drink, dress, email, post, speak and even drive is available for anyone and everyone to see at a moment’s notice through technology. The reputation (brand) of a company or individual can be ruined in a matter of seconds. You will learn tips and ideas that while perceived as “common sense” when used in “common practice” will create a positive, impactful impression that LASTS. In recent studies:

  • 80% of people witnessed childlike behavior in their workplace
  • 55% of people said it was rude when others don’t make eye contact when shaking hands
  • 60% of employers are less likely to promote employees who whine and pout and have negative attitudes

As you enter the workforce, what impression will you make?

Session 2: Your True Colors: Identifying Personality Strengths

Stephanie Werren & Jenifer Hill
All of us bring something of value to the workplace. Knowing what you do well is a definite advantage in today’s quickly-changing professional environments. This session is a great introduction to learning your strengths and how that can help you be more successful personally and professionally.

Session 3: Financial Life after College

Amber Wallace
Did you know that job offers will likely depend on your credit score? Are you terrified of repaying your Federal student loans? In this session, you will gain valuable financial insight to successfully navigate your finances. You will leave with tools to help you in banking, budgeting and student loan repayment; and a better understanding of credit and why our score is so important.

Session 4: Networking - Give a Little, Get a Lot!

Mike Wheeler
Research shows that professional networking leads to more job and business opportunities! This session will provide insight into the power of networking and provide tips and tools for preparing yourself to get the most out of any professional and/or social situation. You will learn how giving a little of yourself, in person and on-line, can get you a lot in return!

Keynote: Chase One Rabbit: Habits that Lead to Success

Dr. Phil Kim
In today’s fast-paced, internet-connected world, we have so many choices it is difficult to focus. Research shows that more choices actually lead to paralysis and inaction. This keynote, by a well-known local author, provides real world, practical advice on how to stop the anxiety over what you haven’t done and start working toward your goals and dreams. By utilizing three simple habits, you can be more successful today.

  • Harness the power of focus and accountability
  • Utilize the 15-minute rule to increase personal productivity
  • Implement an incredibly simple and effective “One Word” goal-setting strategy

Presenters & Speakers

Jenifer HillJenifer Hill, Program Manager, Leadership Stark County has skills and expertise in executive coaching, leadership development consultation, program enhancement and facilitation. Her career began in the mental health field, then expanded to focus on development and advancement of community leaders. She combines a global mindset with a passion for local community development. Jenifer is a recipient of the ystark! Twenty under 40 award for volunteerism, an alumna of the Leadership Stark County Government Academy program and a participant in the Signature Program Class. She is currently involved with the ystark!, The Junior League of Stark County, and United Way Young Leaders Society. She also volunteers for other local organizations and events. Jenifer holds a master’s degree in counseling and human development from Walsh University and a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from The Ohio State University.

Phil KimPhil Kim, D.Sc., Associate Professor, Walsh University
is an educator, speaker and management consultant. His uses his knowledge and expertise to help others achieve their life goals. His latest book, Chase One Rabbit: 10 Habits that Move You from Failure to Success, is dedicated to helping individuals create better lives. Kim has worked with higher education, financial services, non-profits, healthcare and manufacturing. Raised by first-generation Korean immigrants,  he worked at all of his parent’s businesses, including 7-Eleven convenience stores, gas stations and restaurants. Kim understands the value of hard work and education. He is the author of a blog at Phil holds a doctorate degree in information systems and communications, a master’s degree in management information systems from Robert Morris University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Bob PacanovskyBob Pacanovsky, Owner, the Vátion Group
is passionate about helping companies and individuals create an impression that LASTS in the minds of their clients by delivering a “Black Tie Experience” every time. Bob has helped create over 7,000 meetings, events, receptions and other events. He observed the “good enough” attitude in how people act, behave and serve others. Bob now helps companies outclass their competition and elevate their brand and revenue through the use of positive actions, behaviors, and communication. He has achieved Professional Member status of the National Speakers Association and has presented to numerous companies, colleges, organizations and conferences, including the National American Bus Association Conference, the Northern Ohio Human Resource Conference, and The Ohio Society of CPA Conference. Bob received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from The University of Akron.

Amber WallaceAmber Wallace, Assistant Director for Financial Aid, Kent State University at Stark
and her team provide financial support to 5,000+ students at Kent State University at Stark. She has been a leader in the finance and higher education industries for over 10 years. Her background in banking served as a spark to educate students on financial literacy. Amber assists students with budgeting, financial wellness, and student loan repayment options. She is a member of the Canton Student Loan Foundation Board of Trustees. Amber received both her master’s degree in higher education and bachelor’s degree in interpersonal and business communication from The University of Akron.


Stephanie WerrenStephanie Werren, Director, Leadership Stark County (LSC) has been with Leadership Stark County since 2005. She play an active role in fund raising as well as managing the organization. Stephanie’s background in sales and volunteerism have been an asset to LSC. She was instrumental creating the Government Leadership Academy and Spotlight for Young Professionals. Stephanie is a recipient of the ystark Twenty under 40 award for volunteerism and a Malone University Graduate School Alumna of the Year. Her community involvements include North Canton City Council, BBB Charitable Foundation, Stark Housing Network Advisory Committee, Monticello Homeowners Association, and the Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. Stephanie received a master’s degree in business administration from Malone College and a bachelor’s degree in political science/international studies from Miami University.

Mike WheelerMike Wheeler,
 Chief Legal Officer and Board of Directors President of Patriot Software LLC., has a deep understanding of the company and is actively raising $40M via a Private Stock Offering. Mike handles all executive-level matters as Chief Compliance Officer and Investor Relations Officer. He oversees Patriot’s legal, compliance, financial, and human resources departments. Mike has been with Patriot Software Company for over ten years. He has experience in corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, contractual matters, employment law, insurance, real estate and governmental compliance. Mike has volunteered across four continents, working with orphanages, victims of human trafficking, and non-governmental organizations in Asia, Central America, and throughout Africa. He has worked to secure land rights and negotiate with tribal and local governments to secure clean drinking water, medical services, and free education with organizations such as Frontline Ministries International, Mother Teresa’s Calcutta Center and the Sisters of Charity, and Iris Ministries International. Locally, he is involved with the YMCA of Central Stark County and various professional, religious, and civic associations. Mike received a juris doctorate from The University of Akron School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science and legal studies from the University of Mount Union.