April 17, 2023 | , ,

Your Philly Career Starts HERE: make new connections, build your network, and find your fit!


At Campus Philly career events, college students and recent grads (aka: YOU!) can connect with Philadelphia-area companies and grad schools to uncover your passion, make professional connections, and discover the next step in your career—or grad school—journey.

In addition to sharing the numerous career advice articles on our site, we’ve always found that the best way to help you prepare for our career events is to hear from employers—directly!

Read our mini-interviews with WSFS, Planned Parenthood, Pennoni, firstPRO (and more!), below, featuring young professionals who offer excellent advice and resources to fuel your career launch in Philly.

Meet Kristy McLaughlin, SHRM-CP, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at WSFS Bank

Tell us about launching your career. What was your journey like?

I actually didn’t start my career in Philly! When I joined WSFS full-time, I was still working from our Wilmington, DE location. Even after I moved to Fishtown, I commuted to Wilmington for about a year until WSFS acquired Beneficial Bank, which gave us our location on 18th & Market.

As soon as I transferred to the Center City office, I knew it felt different! It was as though I finally belonged to the city I had been living in—when I officially became a part of the workforce “hustle and bustle” that made the city feel alive.

Why should students and recent grads apply to open roles at WSFS?

Students and recent graduates should apply to open roles at WSFS because there are career paths and opportunities that you may not even know about when starting your post-grad journey!

In virtually every area within the Bank, there is exposure to so many different teams, departments, divisions, and business lines that you get a holistic sense of not only what a community-style bank does, but also where you can find your long-term fit within it.

What’s your advice to students and recent grads?

You should definitely attend a career event at Campus Philly if you plan on pursuing an internship or full-time role at any point in your future. This is a great platform to start making connections—networking really is key to your job search!

Networking is also a two-way street; not only can you gain insight into a company, their culture, and offerings, but you also need to make that impression and highlight who you are, what your goals are, and how they align with the company to make an impact, whether it is for a role that you wanted to start yesterday or in the future.


Meet Mia Gay, Community Engagement Manager at Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania

Why Philly?

The best part about launching my career in the Philly region has been giving back to the city where I was raised. I have been very grateful to work within PPSP’s 4-county region for the past 7.5 years.

Tell us about your work at Planned Parenthood. What do you love about your role?

Working at Planned Parenthood has taught me activism, leadership, and professionalism. Starting as a Center Assistant to managing community outreach and engagement, my career at Planned Parenthood has blossomed beyond belief.

Why should college students and recent grads attend a Campus Philly career event

I encourage college students to attend career events because it can highlight their current skills, direct them towards new options, and learn about new skills that can help shape their career goals.


Meet Langston Hawkins, Talent Acquisition Associate at Pennoni

Tell us about your experience working at Pennoni so far.

Working at Pennoni has taught me so much about the various careers within the civil engineering space. Understanding the amount of work, expertise, and collaboration needed to design and create the infrastructure that we see and utilize everyday has given me a whole new perspective.

Any advice for students and recent grads looking to apply to open roles at Pennoni?

I highly encourage students and recent graduates to apply to open roles are Pennoni, because we provide mentorship and professional development opportunities, and you’re able to see your hard work come to life in real time! We are an engineering design firm, but we are a large company with so many other opportunities, from IT to construction services, and more.

Why should folks attend a Campus Philly career event?

If you are looking to build connections, begin your career, or even just discover all of the possibilities that this city has to offer, then I strongly encourage you to attend a Campus Philly career event. To be successful in any field, putting yourself in the right places, with the right people can truly accelerate your career and professional journey.


Meet Jessica Martinez, Senior Recruitment Lead – HR Staffing & Recruitment at firstPRO, Inc.

Why Philly?

The best part about launching my career in Philly has been the amazing community, cultural diversity, and the endless opportunities that are here.

There are a ton of industries to scope out in Philadelphia, including healthcare, retail, hospitality, business, media, manufacturing, and education. You have many options! Philadelphia offers city life while also having amazing outdoor spaces where you can enjoy nature, too.

There is also so much great history here in Philly, great sports entertainment, and there’s incredible food that will satisfy anyone’s inner foodie. It’s a great city to launch a career in, and you’ll find yourself wanting to stay for so many other reasons, as well!

Tell us more about your experience at firstPRO.

Working at firstPRO has taught me a TON, but most importantly, it has taught me how to strengthen my communication with others and to truly listen to what people are saying and not saying.

I have become a better recruiter and professional because I’m surrounded by like-minded coworkers who push me to be my best every day, and are my biggest cheerleaders. It has been extremely rewarding to have the ability to change people’s lives by assisting them with their job search and I absolutely love what I do! firstPRO is an amazing place to jumpstart your career.

Any advice for college students and young professionals?

It can be overwhelming to enter the workforce after college because you don’t know what to expect, but career events can help alleviate some of that stress and put you on a path towards success.

Networking is key! Understanding what roles are out there and seeing what resonates with you is the first step. By putting yourself out there, you are one step closer to finding what you truly are looking for.


Connect with Justin Keller, Senior Recruiter – Professional Services Division at firstPRO, Inc.

Tell us about your experience working at firstPro.

Working at firstPRO, Inc., has taught me that work can act as both an avenue to financially support my hobbies, family, and personal needs outside of the office while also being an outlet for friendship, laughter, and teamwork in the office.

Work used to be about staying afloat and remaining independent, but at firstPRO, I find that I am not just working to support my “outside of work” self, but I am also excited about working to grow and support my team here.

Share your advice for students and recent grads who are interested in joining your team!

Students and recent grads should apply to open roles at firstPRO because applying to jobs can quickly become overwhelming. We at firstPRO work to fully streamline the interview process for our candidates! We are here to help at every stage of the application process, whether that is actively searching for positions, resume editing, interview scheduling, interview preparation, and pushing for interview feedback.

Why should folks attend Campus Philly’s career events

I encourage college students to attend career events because they can learn more about the current state of the job market from someone who recruits for various roles requiring different experience levels each week. Additionally, they can learn more about what types of jobs are out there and get inspiration for what to apply to.

Finally, you can jumpstart your job application process by beginning to create a relationship with a recruiter!


Connect with Sydney Clarke, Human Resource Specialist at Five Below

What should students and recent grads know about a career at Five Below?

We are a hypergrowth company with many opportunities for undergraduates and recent graduates. I started out as an intern, then was hired full time, and recently was promoted to a new position at Five Below. One of Five Below’s values is “Let Go, Have Fun, Build a Career” and I have had the opportunity to live that value.

Why should folks attend Campus Philly career events?

They are a great opportunity to network with professionals, companies, and different industries in Philadelphia! Networking and interviewing tend to overlap, and having conversations about your career aspirations can open so many doors.


Meet Hannah Yeakey, Community School Partnerships Coordinator at PHENND

Tell us about your experience working at PHENND. What have you learned so far?

Working through PHENND doing an AmeriCorps Vista year on community partnership work has taught me flexibility and advocacy, and a lot about the wide array of community organizations and partnerships that work with schools in Philadelphia. PHENND has provided opportunities for growth and leadership in a school-based setting, working as the community partnerships coordinator for a district school.

Why should college students and recent grads apply for PHENND’s open roles?

PHENND provides significant professional development and support during your one year Vista service term, and they really want you to succeed both in your school or non-profit placement and also as a young professional! PHENND focuses on creating good matches between Vistas and their site placements, in order to make the PHENND fellowship year a great stepping stone into a socially impactful career.

We are so glad PHENND has been a part of JobFest in the past. Why should folks attend future Campus Philly career events?

These events are great opportunities to meet future employers, and learn about the wide array of options post-grad from Vista fellowship years, like at PHENND or other employment opportunities!


Meet Austin Jones, Account Manager – New Jersey Devils at Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment

Tell us about your experience working at HBSE. How did you land the job?

I always knew I wanted to work in sports as a kid. I never thought I would start in sales, as I always wanted to play or be in player operations.

As you learn about the industry you have to make moves to propel you to where you want to be in your career. I started my sports journey by dedicating my time to the industry. I participated in Living Sport, which is a program that connects you to people in the industry and peers who want to break into the sports world. That one experience opened my doors to working March Madness, NFL Draft, Minor League Baseball, and then here with HBSE.

I gave my time and put my head down in order to land a full-time position with the New Jersey Devils. The journey is never easy, but if you stay on long you’ll land where you want to be soon enough.

What should students know about HBSE?

HBSE helps craft individuals from different backgrounds. HBSE is willing to bring everyone in with open arms and then develop them into a professional.

I heard of HBSE when I was young, then I got hired in August of 2021 and everyone was telling me: “They’ll mold you into the person you want to become.” At first I didn’t know what that meant, but now, after almost two years of being here, I see the results.

Also—my teammates are the best because we spend time outside of work and truly developed a relationship. They push me to excel at the highest level because we all want to see each other succeed at the job and at life!

Why should students attend Campus Philly career events?

You have to make the jumps that your competition and peers are hesitant to make. If you are willing to do so and make an impression on a manager or employee of an organization, then you put yourself in the spotlight.

Networking can lead you to a path of employment or path that will allow you to connect with more individuals in the world.  My advice is to put yourself out there and to not be scared of the failure. Every failure sets you up to come back stronger—and it starts by networking!



No matter what your major is, when you’re graduating, if you’re looking for your first job or second job (or a new side hustle), or you’re interested in going to grad school… Campus Philly career events are YOUR chance to take that next step.


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