Downtown Brooklyn Partnership hosts first Talent Connect Open Office series for Brooklyn students

DBP’s Talent Connect Open Office Series is an opportunity for college students and entry-level professionals to meet and greet Brooklyn's finest companies.

November 21, 2018

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership was proud to host the first ever Talent Connect Open Office series— providing opportunities for Brooklyn’s higher education students to see the real-world applications of the skills they are currently learning, explore career paths, and hear about jobs and internships. This series of free visits to successful tech and innovation companies of varying sizes and stages of growth included office tours, presentations from founders, and informative Q&A sessions.

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Students from ten of Downtown Brooklyn’s higher education institutes, including NYU Tandon School of Engineering, CUNY City Tech, and St.Francis College, were invited to attend the series, and over the course of four days students paid on-site visits to five “Open Offices” to hear from the companies’ team members. 

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The Open Office series kicked off with a visit to WeWork Labs, where Labs Manager Dimitris Kouvaros explained how WeWork Labs recruits promising early-stage startups and provides them with the space, community, and programming to help them grow. The students then heard from from five startup founders all based out of WeWork Labs: BowtieApp-AppStojoKindra, and Stable Insurance (pictured above) — companies working on products ranging from a line of nifty collapsible reusable cups, a custom digital gift book, to an artificially intelligent receptionist. Each founder shared their stories about starting a company from scratch and discussed what they look for in new hires and  interns.

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Kicking off a cold Wednesday morning, students visited HappyFunCorp (above), a product engineering firm that works with a variety of clients, from Fortune 500s to startups. Founder Will Schenk talked about how the company works not only on software engineering, but also on design, product, and business strategy, and shed light on how he handles a large team as well as the HappyFunCorp workplace and product management strategy.

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Wednesday continued with a visit to Huge (above), a full service digital agency headquartered in a beautiful loft space in Brooklyn, with offices worldwide. At Huge, students were given a deep-dive into Huge’s mission to transform brands and build businesses, as well as its employee culture of innovation. 

The next day students heard from Responsify founder, Edmund Zaloga, who shared his experience building a company from the ground up, and his insights into what it really means to specialize in market research, business development, and customer acquisition. Responsify is a digital marketing startup offering a suite of services including content and inbound marketing, responsive website design, and business and customer alignment. 

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Closing out the week, students paid a visit to New Lab (above), a hub for entrepreneurs working in advanced technology, located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Education Program Manager, Briana Ryan, gave a tour of the beautiful New Lab space (below) and a presentation on the mission of New Lab and the types of companies it hosts. The Open Office included a visit from special guests Honeybee Robotics, a small spacecraft technology and robotics company that builds innovative and cost-effective robots and electromechanical systems for advanced satellites and planetary exploration. Project engineers Chris Bolger and Narmeen Khan discussed their experiences working at the cutting edge of robotics, and hosted a Q&A session.

The Open Office program was put together for students in technology and business programs. The students in attendance at the sessions ranged from those studying computer science, software engineering, design and creative technology, customer experience design, data science, to PR and marketing. 

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership would like to thank the companies for their enthusiastic support of the series, and for taking the time to graciously host the groups of students.

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The mission of DBP’s Talent Connect program is to build a bridge between Brooklyn’s higher education institutes and local innovation firms— connecting students to job and internship opportunities. Downtown Brooklyn is home to a wealth of higher education institutes, with over 42,000 undergraduate and graduate students. We believe that this talent should be channeled into the equally thriving Brooklyn enterprise economy.

The Talent Connect Open Office series was made possible thanks to the generous support and sponsorship of NYU Tandon School of Engineering and TD Bank. 

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