Enactus & Citi: The Inside Scoop
On February 1st, ten teams came to Citi for the second training event of the year. The students had a busy day as they participated in a project development workshop ran by the Citi Innovation Lab, which was followed by teams meeting their mentors. In the afternoon, teams learned how to pitch effectively with Andrew Keogh from Aristo and then pitched their projects and received feedback. Ronan Lavin from Enactus NUIG and Erin Kehoe from Enactus TCD share their experience of attending the training day with us.
Ronan Lavin – Enactus NUI Galway
‘As a project leader, attending the Citi Pathways to Progress events are an exceptional way of gathering crucial insights from qualified individuals and national competing teams about your projects. Having attended both training days, my project, Understanding: Le Chéile has grown so much over the past few months. Moreover, the team and I, as passionate students, have grown both professionally and personally thanks to the work that is carried out at the events. The opportunities Pathways to Progress offer are endless. We had the opportunity to hear from the best of the best when it came to Marketing, Sales, PR, Innovation, Financial Streams, etc. and it is the implementation of the advice that you are given that allows your project to become so much better.
Pathways to Progress gives you a great chance to hear from other teams and how they are getting on. The ‘off-the-cuff’ presentations and pitching throughout both days enables you to get to know your team and your project on a whole new level. You are, without even knowing it, learning how to better communicate and work better with your team mates. These skills are a vital asset to any project or any committee you get involved in, as these are the fundamental elements that are required in the Norming and Performing stages of successful team development.
At the first Pathways to Progress event, I had only just joined Enactus and was only learning about Le Chéile. Thanks to this event, I got to learn so much about all the various aspects of Le Chéile from those around me. The quick transitioning from each business mentor to the next keeps you on your toes as you are actively listening, adding new ideas and seeking counsel on what steps should be taken next in the developing of your project.
My favourite part of the events is when you meet your project mentor. These guys are just great! They are full of enthusiasm and really are so engaged in the work that you are doing as a team. They are just as passionate as you are and all they want to do is help and support you and ensure you are going in the right direction. At the last Pathways to Progress event, all the teams had the privilege of meeting and obtaining the most incredible pitching advice from one of the greatest public speaking mentors Ireland has to offer, Andrew Keogh. Andrew who is the founder of Aristo.ie, has years of experience helping businesses across the globe with their pitching abilities, and to be able to listen to him and have the opportunity to present in front of him is something that I will remember for a long time.
My advice to others who plan on attending Pathways to Progress: 1. Get a good night’s rest before hand so that you can be as active as possible and contribute where necessary. 2. Don’t be afraid to pitch. If you’re not a confident public speaker, just remember that nobody is. This is a great chance to express yourself and develop your confidence and public speaking skills. Finally 3. Network!! Get to know everyone in the room. You have plenty of time to broaden your professional network. At the end of the day it’s all about enjoying yourself, learning new skills and meeting motivated and inspiring people.’
Erin Kehoe – Enactus TCD
‘This month I was fortunate to attend the second training event of Citi Pathways to Progress. A very early start was made so much easier with a goodie bag for all event attendees! A Citi graduate recruiter started the session off with top tips when applying for internships and graduate programmes. These tips were extremely relevant as many of us are trying to secure summer internships and placements.
Following this, members from the Innovation Lab in Citi walked us through personas. They explained how it’s important to understand the people that our projects seek to help. After that, we had a talk on marketing our projects and the importance of having a marketing strategy in place. It got us thinking about implementing a social media plan to reach our customer segments but also to highlight the important work and progress that many of our projects are making.
Our mentors then came in for a working lunch, where we looked at how our projects can develop over the next weeks and months, especially as the Citi showcase gets closer. My favourite part of the day was the session led by Andrew Keogh from Aristo, on how to perfect our pitch. Andrew walked us through some of the common mistakes made by people while presenting and offered us an easy template when delivering our message. We took on this valuable advice and prepared a five-minute pitch on our projects. We delivered this pitch to the group and received very helpful feedback. It was great to have the opportunity to learn from each other and hear everyone’s perspectives.
From this training event, I had three takeaway pieces. Firstly, I learned the importance of putting yourself in the shoes of those you hope to help. It’s always easier to think of a problem and find something you consider to be the solution. The Innovation Lab showed us how important it is to view problems from someone else’s perspective and to bring them along with you every step of the way to ensure you continue to meet their needs. My day in Citi also taught me the importance of having a marketing strategy in place. In the early stages of a project, it’s easy to forget about promoting the work that we are doing and marketing our projects. It really came across the importance of taking time to plan out all our social media content in advance so that it doesn’t get forgotten about. My last takeaway was the pitching advice from Andrew Keogh, ‘Don’t let your pitch be a movie – its a trailer’. When you have five mins to convince someone to buy into you, your project and your message – there’s not always time for all the details. You can’t fit the whole story into your presentation so you should trace the outline of your idea and include the best bits, much like a trailer.’
Each team will return to Citi in April and will pitch for funding for their projects. Are you interested in attending? Register now here.