Beat the Streets Academy member Jessica Kemgne learns about distribution marketing at the A&E Networks table.
Beat the Streets held its first-ever Academy Career Day on Feb. 20 at the UPS Customer Center in Hell’s Kitchen, hosting a diverse array of companies and employers for students to explore.
At the event, BTS Academy students were given the opportunity to interact with different career speakers and get familiar with their respective fields, day-to-day work lives, and the paths they took to get there. Of the 14 organizations represented at Career Day, there included Amazon, A&E Networks, Varonis, and the University of Michigan School of Nursing.
The idea behind this event, according to BTS Program Manager Emma Randall, is to expose students to a variety of career opportunities so that they can better understand where their options and interests lie.
“I never knew what I wanted to be until I met someone who was a female coach who was a leader in the world,” Randall said. “And so I think giving these young adults access to somebody who could possibly be a mentor and guide that pathway for them will be incredibly important for their long-term success.”
Many of the companies at the event also presented BTS students with official career opportunities. Software company Varonis, for example, spoke to students about applying to their five-week summer internship. Similarly, Professional Physical Therapy provides volunteer opportunities and observation hours for those looking to gain experience in the field.
Beyond experience, Peter Lawrence, an investor at Arlington Value Capital and former wrestler at the New York Athletic Club, believes the most important component of career success to be passion.
“Like wrestling, it’s important to find something you’re passionate about. It’s a lot easier to work hard when you wake up excited to put in work,” Lawrence said.
Raymond Barczak, UPS Vice President of Transportation and Chair of the BTS Board of Directors, similarly advocates for applying the values taught through wrestling to professional careers.
“My biggest advice to anybody is perseverance. And that's what you learn through wrestling,” Barczak said. “If you lose a match, you study it and ask, ‘what did I do wrong?’ You go work on it. And then next time you have that match, you don’t make the same mistake.”
As BTS looks to continue its expansion of the Academy program, which provides resources such as one-on-one tutoring and internship opportunities, Randall emphasizes the importance of making connections and attributes the pilot program’s success to the power of the wrestling community.
“If it was just our staff, the impact we would make would be very, very small,” Randall said. “But we have so many great people surrounding BTS, and it amplifies and exponentially improves our ability to create that lifelong impact our mission is based around.”