An Interview with 2017 HIVEX Conference Planners, Sarah Wardrope and Victoria Staite
Over 300 young professionals will be taking over the Lincoln Alexander Center on November 18 for Hamilton HIVE’s 7th annual HIVEX Conference. The day is composed of workshops, discussions and networking, with a focus on supporting and empowering young professionals to make an impact in their city, careers and personal lives. Topics to be covered in the programming will include: mentorship, personal branding, public speaking, personal finance, community engagement, personal growth, mental wellness, and city building issues. A full list of workshop leaders and sessions can be found at hamiltonhive.ca/hiveximpact.
I sat down with 2017 HIVEX Committee Planners, Sarah Wardrope and Victoria Staite to learn more about their thoughts on the conference and how it will engage the attendees.
Q: Why is it important to have a conference dedicated to young professionals?
A: Being a young professional can be tough. Many are uncertain about their role after graduating and are challenged with the next steps to take to shape their future life. Do you take the risk to start your own business? Do you know what you need to do to progress in your career? It’s important for us to talk about this and support one another. There’s a lot out there – and affordable learning opportunities are hard to find. HIVEX presents the perfect opportunity for young professionals to feel supported through this uncertainty. Our hope is that this conference will help them feel confident in their skills, as well as learn something new. Young professionals have a lot to offer and HIVEX is all about unlocking that potential to make an impact.
Q: How can HIVEX help young professionals achieve a personal goal?
A: HIVEX presents a broad range of learning opportunities – from improving your presentation skills, to learning how to give back to the community, to discovering a new business or resource in the city, or simply making a new connection. The conference is also filled with an infectious energy that encourages young professionals to build on their professional networks. In a recent study by the McMaster Labour Studies department, almost half of millennials are unaware of sufficient networking opportunities in Hamilton. HIVEX aims to be the main event that offers young professionals, emerging leaders, freelancers, students and recent grads the opportunity for skill development, networking building, and a space to freely share ideas.
Q: How does attending HIVEX help the YP who is considering Hamilton or just arrived to Hamilton?
A: Newcomers or Future-Hamiltonians can meet each other, potential employers, community leaders, and experts from various areas throughout the city. At HIVEX, newcomers to Hamilton can learn of ways to get involved with their new city – whether that’s through work experience or volunteering. It’s a welcoming event that can help young professionals feel engaged in Hamilton and experience the city’s rich culture.
Q: How does HIVEX help move Hamilton forward?
A: This day is filled with idea generation. When we put over 300 buzzing young professionals in a room – learning and collaborating – we ultimately see ideas develop that will improve our city. Beyond that, it exposes this community of young leaders to one another. Our hope is that this event continues to build a support network of like-minded individuals who can connect new opportunities.
Q: What was the most rewarding part about leading the HIVEX planning team this year?
A: The most rewarding part is two-fold: We loved collaborating with the many vendors, businesses, and people who helped us bring this conference together. It was inspiring to work with a supportive team that is equally as passionate about making this event the best it can be for attendees. The other rewarding part will be on the day of the event when we see the handshakes, hear the laughing, and feel the energy in the room.
All young professionals in the Hamilton and surrounding area are welcome to join us for HIVEX. To learn more about the conference, visit hamiltonhive.ca/hiveximpact.
Tickets for the conference are still available and can be purchased at single rate of $50 or a ‘swarm’ table (8 people) at $350. Visit bit.ly/HIVEX17 to get yours today!
Cassandra is a born-and-raised Hamiltonian. She works at the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce as a Project Manager, implementing Magnet in Hamilton. She is a proud alumna of the Communications & Multimedia program at McMaster. She loves rap/hip-hop, vintage clothing, and watercolour painting.