Phi Gamma Nu Members Travel to Charlotte, NC for Professional Development Trip

Posted on 11/17/2015 4:06:00 PM

Eberly College of Business and Information Technology’s Phi Gamma Nu (PGN) Business Fraternity sent 34 members to Charlotte, N.C. for their third annual fall professional development trip on Thursday, November 5.

During this three-day trip PGN visited corporate offices, met with seven IUP alumni and several local business professionals and toured local Charlotte attractions. 

On Thursday, the day of arrival, PGN divided into two groups to visit two insurance companies just outside of Uptown Charlotte. One group met with 1995 IUP graduate Michelle O’Connor and her associates at her independently owned company, O’Connor Insurance Associates (OIA). The other group visited the Charlotte office of Erie Insurance, one of the companies OIA represents.  The members at Erie Insurance met with vice president and branch manager Teresa Young, district sales manager Jacob Jaskiewicz and vice president and IUP graduate George Rhea. Both companies discussed the insurance industry and potential growth for new college graduates in the industry while recent college graduate Jacob Jaskiewicz provided the members with insight about the transition from college to the professional work environment. Underclassmen Professional Picture - PGN Charlotte Trip

PGN then traveled together to the Bank of America headquarters-building plaza in Uptown Charlotte where senior financial advisor for Merrill Lynch and IUP graduate Michael Lanphier joined the PGN members. Lanphier directed the members to the 28th floor of the Merrill Lynch building where he presented them with a beautiful view of the city and glimpse of what a corporate office looks like. Lanphier gave the members a brief tour of the floor and provided a background presentation about his success and information on the financial industry as well as opportunities for college graduates. 

 PGN Selfie - Charlotte Trip“It was a great experience touring the Bank of America building in Charlotte,” said a senior PGN member Brett Roberts. “Mr. Lanphier gave us great insight and shared his professional experiences that will be truly beneficial to us in the future.” 

The first day of the trip ended with an alumni dinner in Uptown Charlotte’s EpiCentre at Vida Cantina. Four IUP alumni joined the group for dinner including 2009 graduates Brian and Karen Barefoot, 2008 graduate Davena Monstrola and 1999 graduate Amy Lombard. Charlotte school district teacher and real estate agent Brian Barefoot discussed the importance of networking when moving to a new city. Karen Barefoot, also a Charlotte school district teacher, spoke primarily about Charlotte’s growth as she recommended Charlotte as a great up-and-coming city for recent college graduates. Amy Lombard, IUP Eberly Development Officer, stressed the importance of connections with alumni, and Davena Monstrola, marketing manager at Lowe’s corporate headquarters in Mooresville, NC answered questions about searching for jobs in the Charlotte area, especially in marketing. 

Erie Insurance - PGN Charlotte Trip“Meeting alumni was the highlight of my trip,” said PGN member Natalie Kinderman. “It was very helpful learning first-hand about each of their unique job experiences that led them to their success today. They had great advice and recommendations that we all could use in our own job search.” 

On Friday the members were given the opportunity to tour Charlotte’s local attractions and popular surrounding neighborhoods. Many members visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame, toured the Bank of America football stadium where the Charlotte Panthers play and visited the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Other members traveled outside of the city to various cafes and retail shops in new up-and-coming neighborhoods such as Noda and Plaza Midwood. 

Eddie's Seafood - PGN Charlotte TripBefore returning to IUP’s campus the organization visited Charlotte’s iconic Lake Norman, the largest manmade body of water in the state. The members enjoyed lunch at Eddie’s Seafood which offered delicious menu items and a venue overlooking the lake. 

Overall, the trip was extremely successful and proved to be exceedingly beneficial for the members that attended. The members expressed appreciation for the opportunity to travel, network and see possibilities for their careers after college. 

“Visiting Charlotte was a great experience that I will never forget,” said senior PGN member Jen Giotto. “I really enjoyed exploring the city, bonding with the other members and networking with the alumni.”

 — Bethany Barefoot, PGN President