When it comes to an education, Calumet College of St. Joseph provides students with the tools they need to start their lives post-graduation. Sometimes specified guidance from the world outside of education can be just the thing a student needs to gain perspective. Students involved in CCSJ’s HR/Business Club can now be a part of “Chat with the Chief,” a series of excursions that offer them a chance to have personal discussions with local CEOs.
“Chat with the Chief” was imagined by Desila Rosetti, a Business Professor at CCSJ and the HR/Business Club Sponsor.
“We have had a club for several years, but this year I was thinking we would try something new,” Rosetti said. “The concept was to see if I could find someone in the ‘C Suite’—such as CEO, COO, CFO, et cetera—that would be willing to just sit and chat with students.”
With her helpful connections and commitment to her students, Rosetti put the idea into action. Rosetti started by contacting a good friend a Centier Bank who was able to schedule the club’s first visit with Michael Schrage, CEO of Centier Bank. The trip began with a tour, followed by one hour with Mr. Schrage, and concluded with lunch with Centier Bank’s HR staff who answered students’ questions about interviewing and hiring.
"I was very impressed with the facility and how candid everyone was", said Claire Schapker, HR/Business Club Co-Chair. “It was interesting seeing things from their perspective and listening to Mr. Schrage's personal journey and lessons learned.”
The club has visited three businesses for “Chat with the Chief” this year alone—first Centier Bank, followed by Urschel Laboratories and Albanese Candy Factory. Each trip has consisted of a tour and a one-hour chat.
“Our first year was a huge success,” Desila said. “Three visits, three unique CEOs, all with different styles, stories, and lessons learned.”
Desila said that visiting Urschel Laboratories was “a delight,” particularly because the company is one she references in class often. Her students agreed.
“It's hard to believe an organization like this is right here in Northwest Indiana,” said Zach Slosser, a senior at CCSJ. “[Professor] Rosetti talks about what they do, but actually seeing it and watching an actual demonstration was noteworthy. I enjoyed listening to Rick, as well. He is really interesting and down-to-earth.”
The club’s third “Chat with the Chief” at Albanese Candy Factory was also a hit, for more than just the professional guidance.
“How can you not like a tour through a candy factory?” Rosetti said.
The chat itself took place with CEO Steve Albanese and Research and Development Manager Dominique Albanese, who shed light on a lot of other aspects of the business.
“Albanese is much more than candy,” Rosetti said. “We learned a great deal about their innovation as well as how candy-making has many connections to the medication industry.”
CCSJ senior Miguel Lima was also fascinated by that fact, and he was more than happy to take some of the candy off of Albanese’s hands.
"Albanese is a leading manufacturer of gummy vitamins,” Lima said. “I was impressed with the innovation and the sheer volume of candy produced and distributed. And they did not disappoint—goodie bags for everyone as we left!"
With three successful excursions under the belt, “Chat with the Chief” has already shaped up to be an awesome perk for CCSJ students.
"I have been blessed to work with many community leaders that are generous with their time, talents, and treasures,” Rosetti said. “I believe these will be some of the best memories students will have as take-aways from their experience at Calumet College of St. Joseph.”
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