Skip to main content

Author J. Derek Penn will kick off Westminster’s networking symposium

Share on:

Posted on Friday, September 22, 2023

Westminster College will host its annual Professional Networking Symposium (PNS) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, giving college students the chance to start developing a network of professional contacts.

But before students begin mingling with alumni and professional and industry experts, J. Derek Penn–author of “Diary of a Black Man on Wall Street: From Youngstown, Ohio, to the Big Apple”—will deliver a keynote address at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, in Orr Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The Wall Street financial executive, author, speaker and former professional athlete will discuss how to leverage both the college and sports experience, and how to prepare for the first year at school to the first job and beyond.

Penn, originally from Youngstown, Ohio, earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and an MBA from Duke’s prestigious Fuqua School of Business. He held brief stints in the NFL and CFL. He has worked for firms such as Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Fidelity Investments, Pershing LLC and BNY Mellon.

On Friday, Westminster undergraduates—and alumni seeking networking opportunities—are invited to participate in the 2023 networking symposium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students from all disciplines will gain an understanding of potential paths for after graduation, including career and graduate school options.

This year’s PNS will feature a career fair, breakout panels and networking opportunities with alumni and multiple experienced professionals. Each session is designed to address specific topics and interests for students in all majors, include participants with relevant experience and moderated by field professionals.

Businesses represented at this year’s career fair include Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Baker Tilly, BNY Mellon, Duquesne University School of Pharmacy, Fastenal, FNB, Homegrown Initiative (Mercer County), Jackson Sams Wealth Strategies, Kelly Education, KPMG, Life Science Connect, Matthews International, Northwestern Mutual, Pennsylvania Legislative Budget & Finance Committee, PrimeCare Medical Inc., NVR-Ryan Homes, Schneider Downs & Co., SMS Group, Touchstone Capital Inc., Widener University Commonwealth Law School and Youth Advocate Program Inc.

Students attending PNS will qualify to earn the Networking Award, given to outstanding students who demonstrate success in networking at the symposium. Applications are submitted by alumni and carefully reviewed by a team of evaluators. The winner will be announced at the opening remarks kicking of the PNS career networking fair.

The PNS was founded by Dr. Daniel Fischmar, professor of economics emeritus at Westminster College, and alumni Dr. Christie Nelson ’06 and Benjamin Nelson ’06.

For more information about the symposium, please visit or contact the Office of Professional Development and Community Engagement at