Daemen University’s Dare2Dream program – a mentoring and support program for students of color on campus – sponsored a career day on February 3 at New Era Cap, a global headwear and clothing company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. Members of the Dare2Dream team, including program founder Lamark Shaw, Director of Career Services at Daemen, accompanied 18 students on a visit to New Era that included a tour of company headquarters, presentations by company executives, and question and answer sessions with employees from a number of different departments.
“This was the first time we partnered with New Era to provide a career day for Daemen students, and the event was amazing,” explains Shaw. “In addition to our Dare2Dream participants, Daemen students from a variety of majors joined in for an afternoon of real-world experiences at New Era. The company could not have been more accommodating.”
According to Shaw, the career day was initiated by Da’Shawn Hines, a graduate assistant in the Career Services office who had participated in a couple of internships at New Era during his undergraduate studies at Daemen. Now working toward his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at Daemen, Hines says he saw a unique opportunity and reached out to the company. “I learned so much from my internships at New Era, and I knew a career day there would be of great value to our students,” he notes. “The event gave them an opportunity to go beyond textbooks and see how what they are learning is applied in an actual corporate setting.”
New Era provided the students with a tour of their headquarters and the company’s many different departments, from marketing and human resources to IT and sales and distribution. Company executives then held panel discussions with the students, digging deeper into the details and functions of each department.
Miguel Rodriguez, Director of Community Standards & Student Advocacy at Daemen and a member of the Dare2Dream leadership, also attended the career day. He says the career day aligned with Daemen’s commitment to experiential learning for students. “Our students were so engaged, learning from New Era executives about their roles in finance, distribution and logistics, and diversity, equity and inclusion,” he explains. “And to cap it off – no pun intended – the tour guides brought the students to the company store and let them each choose a hat to take home at no charge.”
Shaw says the university hopes to make the career day at New Era an annual event and his office has already held discussions about a possible visit in the fall. He adds that such events are particularly important for students in the Dare2Dream program. “Our focus is on helping students of color navigate the challenges they will face after graduation and develop the skills they will need to start a career,” Shaw concludes. “We are so grateful to New Era for helping us with our mission.”