Humber’s Lakeshore campus was abuzz with activity Monday night at The Centre for Entrepreneurship as Humber co-hosted the Student Career Panel in partnership with Fashion Group International of Toronto (FGI). It was the college’s first time hosting the event, historically held in downtown locations.
Nearly 70 attendees listened intently as panelists representing a wide scope of the fashion industry spoke about their professional experience.
“We recognize that fashion students are looking forward to beginning their careers, and we thought, what better way to highlight what students are doing now than at a career night,” said Jennifer Dawson, program coordinator, Fashion Arts and Business at Humber and co-regional director of FGI. She explained FGI’s Board of Directors took care to include speakers that represented diverse roles within the fashion industry to give students an idea of the many avenues available to them.
Dawson and Jess Gill, member of FGI’s Board of Directors, acted as moderators for the discussion. Panelists Paige Nemeth, associate buyer at Holt Renfrew; Christine Toye, a two-time Emmy Award winner for costume design and styling; Sabina Fenn, a fashion illustrator and entrepreneur; Dominique Martin, marketing assistant and brand accelerator with Cadillac Fairview; and Brigitte Truong, an influencer, entertainment host and producer, all spoke frankly about their careers. The discussion ranged from their experience as newcomers to the industry, day-to-day responsibilities, the importance of mentorship and making genuine connections within the industry.
Nominating Chair for FGI Sue Roadburg said she was moved to hear the panelists emphasize the importance of cultivating soft skills. “You learn technical skills in the classroom, but what also matters is communication. It’s listening, being out there, and building relationships,” she said.
Panelist Christine Toye said she was thrilled to have the chance to speak to students. “As a professional, I’m always learning, so it’s so important to teach and inspire students to also aspire to constantly learn. I really want to get that in their ear,” she said.
After the panel discussion, students from Seneca, George Brown and Humber mixed and mingled with FGI board members and other industry professionals, where everyone was encouraged to make new connections.
“I think it’s really great there was such a variety of people on the panel,” said Vanessa Marion, a Humber PR student. “It’s nice to have those different channels to learn from, because it helps us think, ‘maybe that’s something I don’t want to do, or maybe that’s something I am really interested in.’”
First-year Fashion Arts student Kayleb Brown said he recognizes networking is absolutely key. “Getting my name out there and developing my reputation, I know it’s really important.”
James Cullin, associate dean, Faculty of Business, explained networking opportunities are invaluable for students. “Whether students are enrolled in our two-year program, our four-year bachelor’s degree in Fashion Management, or our graduate certificate in Fashion Management, it’s an incredible opportunity to network with leading industry specialists here in Toronto,” he said. “To meet students from other schools, and even network across programs within Humber—it certainly cannot hurt the career prospects for students here tonight.”
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