Skills in Listening, Communicating, and Connecting with Others are Developed through Jumpstart Weekend

Today’s companies are looking to hire individuals who are exceptional not just on paper, but who can personally convey power, authenticity, and passion. A program called Jumpstart Weekend, launched in 2015, helps develop those exact qualities. Comparable executive leadership communications workshops can cost around $5,000, but students at Cal State East Bay’s College of Business & Economics (CBE) attend for free thanks to support from alumnus Dave Ruth (BSBA '90, MBA '92), who attended the first workshop and personally benefited from the lessons. 

Students in CBE develop their abilities in listening, communication, and connecting with others. After completing the sessions over two days, participating students receive a signed certificate from the lead facilitator and the Dean. 

When Pavani Chendica (BS Business Administration ‘19) received her certificate, she proudly posted a photo on LinkedIn. 

She said, “This Jumpstart Weekend Program helped me get rid of my fear of public speaking and I was able to effectively communicate my thoughts and deliver storytelling. This program was a big asset for me to face my interview with confidence for my marketing internship. I had a lot more positivity, and am willing to help others around me much more.”

What originated out of an MBA course taught by Marketing lecturer Tom Bagwell has grown into a series of workshops tailored to undergraduate and graduate students. 

For MS Accountancy student Isha Dedhia, attending Jumpstart as an undergrad helped her learn how to impactfully share her story. 

“Not only did I make good friends, but I also became a better speaker. I was not looking to spend 16 hours of my weekend in this, but I’m so glad I did!” She has subsequently returned as a workshop facilitator to support new groups of students.

This is more than just a public speaking workshop, this is where students learn the importance of storytelling. Jumpstart Weekend has allowed attendees to open up in a safe and encouraging environment, where common experiences build connections.

For a campus, that is seen as a commuter school, you often see students enter this workshop without knowing each other very well and generally being hesitant to have their voices heard,” said Travis Nelson, CSUEB Director of Alumni Engagement.

As former staff for CBE and facilitator for past workshops, Travis has seen this transformation in students firsthand. “Students who didn't have a voice before, leave that room with a voice. Everyone leaves knowing that they deserve to be heard and seen, and everyone sees the challenges that they have overcome as a strength that helps define them as a person.”

With today’s campus going virtual, CBE will continue to create a place of community where students can build their networks, empowering themselves, and in turn empowering each other as tomorrow-makers.

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