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'The Corner Office' Brings Professionals to Virtual Campus Environment


Buffalo State College has added a new initiative this year to help students establish careers and gain professional insight during a time when job insecurity is a concern for many.

The Corner Office, a new speaker series presented virtually through the Bengal Stripes Leadership Program, will bring panelists from across the nation and various industries to share their keys to success and important lessons learned throughout their careers.

The first workshop will be held Thursday, November 12, at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom and will feature panelists from New Era Cap Company, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, Travelers Insurance, and Ingram Micro. Interested participants can RSVP through November 11. There is no cost to attend.

Luke Haumesser, associate director of student leadership and engagement, and Denise Harris, director of the Career Development Center, started developing The Corner Office in July, both to encourage student engagement during the pandemic and to provide young professionals with innovative leadership lessons.

“You can’t replace the leadership lessons of people who are in the field, who have lived the life, and are doing the work.”

- Luke Haumesser, Associate Director of Student Leadership and Engagement

“We had résumé and cover letter–writing workshops on the agenda, which are great, but we thought students were missing the leadership component in the career arena,” Harris said.

Haumesser added, “You can’t replace the leadership lessons of people who are in the field, who have lived the life, and are doing the work.”

He said students will have the opportunity to ask the panelists questions about a wide range of topics—from advice about specific careers to navigating small business and corporate environments. In fact, the eclectic panel and subjects for The Corner Office inspired the initiative’s name.

“For so many people, the goal is to get to ‘the corner office,’ but if you really unpeel what that means, it symbolizes a progression and a hierarchy,” Harris said. “It’s being the best of the best at that professional role.”

While The Corner Office aims to provide clarity to students who know where they want to go professionally, it can be equally advantageous to students who are unsure of what career path to take or what leadership looks like. In addition to hearing the panelists speak, students will have opportunities to connect with them via LinkedIn and through e-mail for follow-up correspondence and to establish mentoring relationships.

“We are an urban-engaged institution,” Haumesser said, “and this program reflects that mission. We are here to reach out to the community, but also to bring the community in and allow our students to interact with it.”

The next panel, slated for spring 2021, will have the theme “Employers Tell All.” New speakers will give students tips on how to make a positive impression on prospective employers during the hiring process.

Both Haumesser and Harris hope for the longevity of The Corner Office and that students will be able to get the most out of attending, regardless of how the pandemic affects the job landscape in the coming months and years.

“Our departments are trying to adapt the collegiate environment during COVID-19,” Haumesser said. “We also want students to know that the college is still making every effort to provide opportunities to make it a quality experience for them. This program is an example of that.”

Harris added that they’re trying to be creative with programming to meet the needs of all Buffalo State students.

“Hopefully, students will be able to glean some information that will resonate with them,” she said, “so they can make choices that narrow their interests as they choose their own unique career path.”