On Feb. 1, 175 high schoolers and business professionals filled the large gymnasium at the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield in an impressive networking event called the Future Leaders Conference.  

The conference, planned by the Ridgefield Keystone Club (the Club’s nationally award winning high school character and leadership program) and the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce, was designed to introduce teenagers to possible careers and connect them with local professionals in those industries. The night was comprised of a Networking session, a Career Fair with local business professionals sharing their expertise, and a Job Readiness and Life Skills Workshop conducted by Robert Salaga, Owner, Tutoring Club, and Director, Aon Strategic M&A Advisory.

Attendees came dressed to impress and used the one-on-one opportunity with experienced professionals to discuss career paths, practice networking skills, and gain exposure to the working world. The conference closed with a panel discussion with professionals from the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce who shared stories about their own career choices while offering words of wisdom and inspiration to the young adults in attendance. “This incredible networking opportunity gave young adults, like me, the opportunity to steadily prepare ourselves for the real world out there. One moment, we’re all blinded, scared, and confused- then, networking comes along. Suddenly, we aren’t so lost anymore. I’d like to thank all of the professionals for making this possible,” expressed Nikita Licudine, Sophomore.

The conference was very well attended by both high schoolers and business professionals throughout the greater community. A total 175 people—75 professionals and 100 high schoolers — attended the networking event.

“I cannot thank all of the business professionals enough for taking the time out of their busy day to come and share their knowledge and expertise with the Keystone members. The interactions and discussions made allowed for the teens to open up a whole new perspective on the many possibilities and opportunities this life has to offer, that they can one day achieve. The night was an impactful one and I thank everyone who attended for making that possible. The teens fully enjoyed the opportunity to have conversations with each of the professionals, and many of them were pleasantly surprised by the careers they had never been introduced to prior. I hope everyone involved knows how much the staff and Keystoners appreciate your thoughtfulness. I look forward to continuing this partnership and hosting this tremendous event each year!” explained Jess Podrazky, Program Director and Keystone Advisor at the Boys & Girls Club.

The Boys & Girls Club plans to host the Future Leaders Conference again next year. To find out more information or how you could become involved, please contact Jess Murphy Podrazky, Program Director, at jmurphy@bgcridgefield.org.