Mr. Burnham Kicks Off Our Speaker Series Encouraging Students to Network

For our first Speaker Series of the year, we were delighted to welcome Mr. Sean Burnham to speak to us.

Mr. Burnham began his speech by telling us a story about a young man who was unsure of his future. He presented various options to this student and discussed the opportunity cost of each path. Through this example, he showed us that we would face difficult choices throughout our lives. These choices, Mr. Burnham explained, are limited in number and don’t always present themselves. With this, he demonstrated one of his main points: the significance of taking advantage of every opportunity possible in life.


Next, Mr. Burnham explained the importance of networking and establishing connections early in our careers. Mr. Burnham noted that many young professionals submit resumes online and expect swift responses from various companies. This idea, he explained, could not be further from the truth. It’s about who you know and how you distinguish yourself from other applicants to employers. His point here reveals the importance of building relationships with qualified people to open doors to countless networks and additional opportunities. This played more into his idea that networking is quintessential in constructing a career, and he developed this idea further throughout his speech.

Mr. Burnham then moved to the idea of social networking in a more digitalized world. Through an example of an aspiring professional taking a picture in front of tailgates and parties, Mr. Burnham indicates that this person has established themselves as a partier, and businesses will be less inclined to hire that person. He explains that we should be cautious of what’s posted on social media and create the best possible image of ourselves because we are our best brand ambassadors. Mr. Burnham then stresses the significance of cleaning up all social media accounts to limit negative concerns from employers. The reason he introduced this  idea was to demonstrate the importance of creating a clean social network where employers have no reason to dispose of an application immediately.


Mr. Burnham encourages students to begin networking early. Presenting yourself and establishing connections with various professionals is key, Mr. Burnham explained, and finding the right places to create these opportunities is equally as valuable. Places such as job fairs and industry events bring successful professionals who could present openings and opportunities. He used an example where his son took the initiative early in college to attend a networking event and met a distinguished lieutenant who presented him with invaluable opportunities that led him to his career. Through this, Mr. Burnham illustrated the importance of putting yourself in advantageous positions where opportunities will present themselves.


Mr. Burnham concluded his speech with short statements about approaching a conversation right. Through reading the room correctly, timing the conversation perfectly, creating a practical approach, connecting on a deep level, and following up, Mr. Burnham offered the steps to making the absolute most out of any conversation we could encounter. Every conversation is meaningful when establishing a career because it aids in building productive networks.


On behalf of PR-FBLA, thank you, Mr. Burnham, for your “pearls of wisdom” and for investing your time in our futures.


-Chris Camp, Reporter