USF Sarasota-Manatee students shadowed local executives on Friday.

USFSM, Sarasota Chamber initiate job-shadowing event

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: February 02, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla. (Feb. 02, 2018) – Carlos Moreira was intrigued by wealth management’s many specialties and sub-specialties, while Ian Tanzer was taken by the industry’s rigorous compliance side.

Maxwell Miller explored the complexity of real estate leasing agreements while also probing the sales side of multi-million-dollar commercial projects.

Across town, Sami Araboghli heard about the unpredictability of facilities management at adult care communities: “You never know what you’re going to do” from one day to the next. “Every day is different.”

The four were part of a pilot program by USF Sarasota-Manatee and the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce to provide students with one-on-one, executive-level job-shadowing experiences.

For two hours Friday, 11 USFSM students “shadowed” local executives to learn the intricacies of their businesses, how they evolved through emerging technology, regulations and changing public attitudes, and, generally, what the executives do on a day-to-day basis.

The idea, according to Jay Riley, director of business development and engagement at USFSM, was to enhance the students’ education while providing “an authentic context” of the workplace.

“This was the first of what we hope will be many such events involving students and the local business community working together,” he said.

The executives, representing nine companies, are all Sarasota Chamber board members. They were matched with the students based on the students’ career interests and academic majors. Dubbed “Shadow a CEO on Groundhog Day,” the event was created together by chamber board members and USF Sarasota-Manatee.

During the event, the students attended meetings, asked questions and simply observed as the executives went about their routines at accounting firms, manufacturers, real estate companies, hotel-resorts, engineering firms, financial advisors and others.

“This is an unparalleled opportunity for students to gain on-the-ground insight into a career they plan to pursue,” USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook said. “These kinds of experiences add excitement and practicality to their classroom preparation and we are very grateful to all of the professionals who have shared their time and expertise.

“This endeavor also continues to build valuable bridges between USF Sarasota-Manatee and the local business community,” she said.

After the session, the students and executives attended a lunch and networking event at the chamber where the teams shared their views about the experience.

Phil Mott, a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley in downtown Sarasota, said he enjoyed the interaction, describing it not as “job shadowing” but more as a mentoring experience where he shared knowledge of his profession.

“It was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a long time,” he said.

Mott spent two hours with three students – Moreira, Tanzer and Xianli Johnson. He described his day to them, the structure of the wealth management business, its core values, responsibility to its clients and the ever-evolving compliance side.

Interacting with the students, he explained later, would hopefully convince them to pursue opportunities locally once they graduate.

George McGonagill, vice president of facilities at Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay, was matched with Araboghli, a junior. The two toured the adult care community, located on John Ringling Boulevard near St. Armand’s Circle, talked about its expansion plans and the regulatory process and how life is never the same from one day to the next.

“I was just impressed with how much they do,” Araboghli said, referring to facilities managers. “Until you sit down and talk with them, you never know how much they do, and it can be very complex.”

Chamber President Kevin Cooper said one intention of the shadowing session was to convince students about the Sarasota-Manatee area’s many job opportunities.

“Awareness is a critical pathway to success,” he said. “We want students to be aware of the many opportunities present in Sarasota and employers to be aware of the homegrown talent emerging from our educational institutions.

“Ultimately, that connection is a vital part of our workforce continuum,” he said.

The businesses that participated were:

WWSB ABC 7 Sarasota

Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay

The Resort at Longboat Key Club


Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc.

Morgan Stanley

Hembree & Associates Inc.

PGT Industries

The Ringling

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