Young professionals ‘Choose to Participate’

Young professionals in Tallahassee gathered at the Florida Historical Capitol Museum for the  “Choosing to Participate” event to gain vital information Monday.

The event featured three young professionals who were active participants during their college years and whose main purpose was to let young students know that it’s never too early to get involved in organizations.

“It’s just about the importance about being engaged, especially civic engagement,” said R. Jai Gillum, director of income strategies for United Way of the Big Bend in Tallahassee. “I’m a FAMU graduate, and I was really involved, and it opened up a lot of doors for me and my professional career.”  

Gillum said every job she’s had in her career started because she was active and volunteered. Gillum saw that networking and getting involved took her a long way.

“It’s important to be involved and have some great résumé builders,” Gillum said. “It’s so many things to get involved in, but you should try to go for the things that you’re passionate about instead of what’s popular at the time.”

Ernst Pirrelouis, a fourth-year political science and criminology student at Florida State University from Fort Lauderdale, stressed to students that they should always do service and build a strong network that will benefit benefit them in the long run.

Pirrelouis believes everything someone wants to do in life has to be built upon networking and that one must also build a quality team together and build an empire.

“I don’t want people to get confused and think they can go to college, do nothing and be successful,” Pirrelouis said. “If you don’t build a network, then you mostly likely won’t end up with the career you seek.”  

Among the many high school students in attendance was senior Seth Reid, a home-schooled student from Valrico, Fla.

Seth said this event gave insight of how young students can make their communities better and give back. Reid hopes to get involved in government and politics once his college career is complete.

“It’s easy to think, ‘What can I do for myself résumé-wise and how I can promote myself?’ but I learned it’s not about that,” Reid said. “It’s about what I can do to help my community where I’m at and beyond where I’m at.”