Students connect with industry experts at JumpStart Career Development Conference

Stateson Homes President Todd Robertson addresses students at the JumpStart Career Development Conference on March 2.
Stateson Homes President Todd Robertson addresses students at the JumpStart Career Development Conference on March 2.

More than 120 Radford University students attended the JumpStart Career Development Conference on March 2.

Held in Kyle Hall, the signature event is uniquely designed and held annually for students to discover their career interests, develop skills and network with industry experts, as well as seasoned and young professionals, explained Center for Career and Talent Development Executive Director Angela Joyner.

At the beginning of the conference, students - dressed in professional attire - were seated at tables based on their industry interests and engaged with one another during a networking breakfast.

After breakfast, they heard from keynote speaker Todd Robertson, president of Stateson Homes.

As the president and majority owner of Stateson Homes, Robertson has more than 26 years of leadership experience in the real estate industry. Prior to launching Stateson Homes, he spent 19 years with a large national homebuilder, where he started his career in 1992 as an assistant project manager.

In Robertson’s inspiring discussion with students, he talked about the qualities and beliefs that lucky people tend to exhibit, such as curiosity, resiliency, action and acknowledging that luck exists. He also shared personal stories of courage, success and failure.

Following his presentation, Robertson took questions from students, including Andre Ragsdale, a junior political science major.

“I really enjoyed Mr. Robertson’s speech,” Ragsdale said. “He definitely gave me insight on what it means to be a young professional and some tips on how to stand out in my professional career.”


Students then attended two concurrent sessions of workshops at which industry experts – including several Radford University alumni – and faculty and staff addressed an array of helpful topics, including time management, leadership skills, managing finances, making meaningful connections and kick-starting the job search.

“These content-rich workshops provided highly sought-after skills and advice that students can use immediately,” Joyner explained. “Students loved being able to network and learn about careers in business, education, health care, arts, professional services and a variety of other industries.”

Freshman Emily Gallmetzer, a finance major, attended a workshop on money management, titled “A Debt-Free Degree By Dough 4 Degrees.”

“I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m really glad that I chose to come,” Gallmetzer said. “I think it’s really important to branch out and meet new people and make these connections. I’ve learned so much. It definitely pushes you to start thinking about your future and what life is going to be like after college.”

Ragsdale attended a panel discussion at which the presenters discussed finding a job from a recruiter’s perspective.

“It was a great discussion,” Ragsdale said. “We talked about resumes and what traits recruiters look for in employees and young professionals.”

The JumpStart Career Development Conference, offered annually by the Center for Career and Talent Development, is an important component of Radford University’s mission of empowering students with the tools and educational experiences that will help them excel in their future careers and address the social, economic and environmental issues confronting our region, nation and world.

Mar 11, 2019
Mary Hardbarger
(540) 831-5150