Business 2020 inspires high school students

More than 450 high school students will catch a glimpse of the business world at Youngstown State University’s Business 2020 event on Thursday. YSU will hold the 17th annual event in Kilcawley Center from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The event will feature three panel discussions and a guest lecture by YSU alumnus Presley Gillespie, executive director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation.

The Williamson College of Business Administration collaborated with Junior Achievement of the Mahoning Valley to provide information to students from 14 area high schools.

“This is a great way to educate students and prepare them for opportunities in business,” said Betty Jo Licata, dean of the WCBA.

Licata will kick off Thursday’s event with a welcome address.

“We’re bringing students to campus to help expose them to unique career opportunities in business,” Licata said.

The panel discussion will run from 10 a.m. through noon. Topics will include financial literacy, careers in business, entrepreneurship and job preparation. Students will be able to interact with clickers for each discussion.

Gillespie said he will speak to students about how they can contribute as professionals.

“I’d like to show students what it’s like working for the profit and nonprofit worlds of business. The two are very similar,” Gillespie said. “In business, you should be treating customers the way you want to be treated.”

Gillespie graduated from YSU in 1992 and has worked for the YNDC since 2009. He said he hopes to share his unique perspective in the professional world with students.

“It all comes down to developing strong relationships and developing your personal branding,” he said.

Gillespie also prepared a “212 video” for the students in attendance; he said he hopes it will help them raise the bar in academics and in the business world.

“I hope they have a better understanding what employers are looking for today and what type of skills they should begin to think about,” Gillespie said. “I hope they leave knowing that they can control their own destiny.”