BETHANY, W.Va. – A networking dinner hosted by the Bethany College Office of Career and Professional Development and the Office of Alumni and Advancement offered a lesson just as relevant to the alumni in the room as it was to the students about the enter the workforce.

Sue Ryan Career DinnerSue Ryan ’89, director of news and media relations at the University of Notre Dame, focused her keynote address on the importance of gratitude both professionally and personally.

“None of us are here tonight, without the help of the special people in our lives that have really supported us, urged us along the way,” Ryan said. “Mentors, managers, professors, family members, when you think about all those people who have touched your life in some way, we really stand on the shoulders of giants, right?”

Ryan then encouraged the dozens of students and alumni in attendance to take out their cell phones and text a thank you to someone in their lives who has helped them in some way.

Working hard, developing new skills, staying current on technology and understanding industry trends are important to achieving career success, she said.

“But the one thing that people will remember about you and either draw them to you in the workplace or away from you is who you are as a person, what your attitude is, and how you conduct yourself professionally,” Ryan said.

She encouraged students to get in the routine of saying thank you early in their careers.

“Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated,” Ryan said. “And we can create that culture in our own workplaces by modeling it ourselves. So as you prepare to leave college and begin your next chapter, I encourage you to remember that it’s not just what you do in the workplace, but how you do it. And that’s going to lead to success in your careers. And that will be a very important component of the how in your life.”

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The dinner was the Career Center’s first since Fall 2019. The idea is to give students a chance to speak with successful alumni and get insight and advice on their chosen career path.

Other participating alumni were:

  • Angie Ryder Bado ’77, independent political strategist and president of the Bethany College Alumni Association.
  • Robert M. Brosh, Jr., Ph.D. ’85, chief of Helicases Genomic Integrity Section, National Institutes of Health Biomedical Research Center Translational Gerontology Branch of the National Institute on Aging.
  • Deno Emili, J.D., ’78, director of alumni engagement at Bethany College.
  • Bruce Fahey ’77, shareholder in Remington Co., LPA’s Akron, Ohio, office.
  • Darren Johnson, Jr., ’19, lead class actions analyst at BNY Mellon in Pittsburgh.
  • Jim Porter, J.D., ’86, partner at Adams and Reese LLP in Tampa.
  • Jennifer (Fleahman) Rohrig ’11, manager of business retention and expansion at the West Virginia Department of Economic Development.
  • Sarah (Alkire) Walter ’10, teacher at Weir High School in Weirton, W.Va.

Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.