Students Dine With Alumni to Forge Relationships

June Williams '06 talks to students about networking and taking chances.On Wednesday, Nov. 13, Saint Mary’s College hosted a networking dinner for current students in the Moraga Room of the Soda Center. Alumna June Williams ’06, a policy advisor at Google, served as the keynote speaker. Williams spoke about her life and career, offering insights she’s discovered along the way, and like the other alums, stressed the importance of networking.

Williams emphasized that time is an invaluable resource. “Time’s not going backward,” she said, and she advised students to “take more risks” and “not play it safe.” Connecting these ideas to her own life, she detailed how her risk-taking caused her to leave a safe career as an attorney in Washington, D.C., and head to California to work on Kamala Harris’ senatorial campaign. Williams was eventually asked to run Harris’ San Francisco office and ended up building a mentorship relationship with Harris. Williams said she “does not know anyone who has gotten to where they are today without one good solid relationship.”

The overarching theme of this dinner—through the keynote and the students’ association with the alumni—was making connections.  Said Andrew Verducci ’07, “Every industry is about connections.” CEO of Verducci Event Productions, he credited part of his success to the Saint Mary’s Alumni Association, and he mentioned the benefit of networking and the “sense of community” that Saint Mary’s provides.

Additional alumni met with students to discuss their futures, including Jaime Zepeda ’07, from LinkedIn; Alfonso Avila ’14, from Facebook; Paul Durenburger ’83, assistant chief deputy district attorney; and Ari Umutyan ’95, a medical oncologist.

From the meaningfulness of June Williams’ keynote speech to the potentially lifelong relationships that students built that evening, this dinner served as another example of how the Saint Mary’s community can touch lives.