Fifth Annual “Sweats to Suits” provides networking opportunity for seniors

On Friday, April 3rd, the Filene Center hosted its fifth annual ‘Sweats to Suits’ senior event. Focused on informative seminars and networking opportunities, Sweats to Suits started in 2006 under the name “Beyond the Bubble” and has grown in the last few years with a record number of students and alums participating in this year’s event.

Associate Director in the Filene Center and the Senior & Young Alumnae/i Advisor, Marianne Singer ’93, coordinates this important event. “I start planning a year in advance. We always debrief each event and review the evaluations and begin to outline next year’s program,” Singer said.

Held in the Watson Fine Arts building, this year’s Sweats to Suits was from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. with a two hour networking reception afterwards. The event consisted of six speakers with topics ranging from financial planning to dressing for success, with a special introductory seminar from keynote speaker Trish Ryan ’91 who was also a guest at the senior class’ Sophomore Symposium.

“I’ve heard her talk a few times before,” said Elizabeth Peterson ’15, “I like how interactive her talk was. She’s really engaging, she has an interesting story and she’s very good at helping other people tell their stories. And she’s real, which is nice.”

In addition to Ryan, three of the other speakers were also Wheaton Alums: Molly Galler ’06, Carla Portelli ’85 and Corinna McFarland ’08.

When asked how Singer decides upon speakers and how difficult it is to call alums back to campus, she said, “It depends. This year we had to move the original date of the event due to the snow days.” That pushed Sweats to Suits to Easter/Passover weekend, which created a few scheduling, conflicts.

Although she is the primary coordinator, Singer does not make these decisions exclusively. She is aided by her colleagues in the Filene Center and Career Advisory Board, which is a group of six to ten members of the senior class.

Singer stated, “Each class has a different ‘personality’ and different needs, and each year we evaluate [this]. The Career Advisory Board makes suggestions on topics and information they are interested in learning more about to prepare for their life after graduation. They [also] assist in set up, with raffles, and with announcing the speakers.”

As with every year, Sweats to Suits ended with a networking reception, which included not only alums, but also local employers and outside career professionals. Singer has stated that this event will help students showcase the knowledge, skills and internship experiences acquired at Wheaton, so that they are ready for employment opportunities in this challenging job market.