Backpacks to Suitcases

Jared Morgan, Staff Writer

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FMU hosted local law workers during its “Securing the Bag: From Backpacks to Briefcases” event to inform students on how to professionally project confidence to seize opportunities in their careers.

Linward Edwards, a lawyer, Chaquez McCall, a law clerk, and Susan McGill, an assistant solicitor, spoke at the event. Being established in their fields, they gave advice on how to obtain work for students who are nearing the end of their college careers.

They said the most important practice is to manage your image and conduct yourself professionally, particularly with the advent of social media. Edwards emphasized the importance of one’s “brand,” or marketable image. Edwards addressed the concerns about physical presentation and how everyone must shape an image around trustworthy promotion. Next, they discussed the stigmas that black Americans face, such as biases against dreadlocks and natural curls.

Edwards said he was motivated to establish his own law firm because of the need for black professionals in the South.

Edwards encouraged future law practitioners to not only learn the rules of law but also the market so they have an advantage when presenting their business.

McGill discussed the practice of having “two faces” in your career. Public conduct is pivotal in business, and it is very important for workers to separate their private image from their public one.

“Professionalism does not end at 5 o’clock,” McGill said.

She explained that when building a career, public image is crucial and business workers must protect their brand. She emphasized the fact that employers monitor social media to ensure that their public image is maintained.

“Never let them see you sweat,” McGill said.

McGill explained how black women could challenge societies’ preconceptions. She said it was important to be cordial to colleagues and clients and told the audience to take initiative in their jobs and be proactive, rather than waiting to be asked to do something.

McCall spoke about the importance of connections and the avenues they can open for young professionals.

“Jobs are often given off of who you know, not merit,” McCall said.

McGill explained that when the opportunity to present yourself to a business professional is presented, it is imperative to take it. She advised the audience to always have three important things to say about themselves and to always project confidence in their body language and speech.

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Backpacks to Suitcases