TALK hosts sixth annual networking banquet


The sixth annual TALK networking banquet was held at the Meadow Brook Hall on Wednesday, March 30.

Alvin Pitris

Technology and Leadership Keys (TALK) hosted their sixth annual networking banquet at Meadow Brook Hall on March 30. The event featured representatives from six companies, including Comerica Bank, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PWC.

The event kicked off with keynote speaker Paul Czarnik, who is the managing director at MadDog Technology.

Czarnik covered a broad array of topics, encompassing the impact of technology on companies, interview tips and “big data.” He started off with rejecting the notion that every business needs to be a technology-based company.

“Every employee needs to be a technologist, but the company needs to focus on the business at hand,” Czarnik said.

Czarnik then talked about careers. He spoke of four things to emphasize when searching for employment: job, career, profession and vocation.

“A job is tactical – this is how you put food on the table. Your career is strategic – this is how you build your wealth and assets. Profession is your purpose in life. And your vocation is your passion,” he said.

Czarnik proceeded to speak about interview tips. He mentioned to focus on reasons for wanting to work at a particular company. He also said to know your big hairy audacious goal, or BHAG.

“If you’re ever in an interview, and there is a whiteboard there, figure out a way to utilize the whiteboard and express your ideas,” he said.

He then moved on to speak about “big data,” which is analyzing patterns using different sources of information. He provided a multitude of web services that students could utilize for free, such as Amazon web services, Google Analytics and Microsoft Analytics.

“From data, you get knowledge…from knowledge you get wisdom…and from wisdom you get collective intelligence,” he said.  

Czarnik finished by saying that successfully interpreting “big data” can lead to new answers and discoveries that can be developed into tangible ideas.

For the remainder of the event, guests had the opportunity to network and speak to various representatives from different companies. OU alum Sheri Gordon, who was recently named among Crain’s 20 in their 20s, represented General Dynamics Land Systems. She is now senior analyst of government relations at her company.

Gordon explained the importance of practicing your presence. When defining presence, Gordon referenced what she learned from Amy Cuddy, author of “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.” She attested that people assess you primarily based on two questions: Can I trust this person, and can I respect this person?

Gordon went on to discuss the significance of the first few minutes when meeting someone. Appearance, body language and being vocal are key factors in defining your presence to others. She described how your presence should reflect three words to which people would describe you.

Remember, Gordon said, “Don’t fake it until you make it, do it until you become it.”

For more information about how to join TALK, visit