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New Career Day Format Features Industry Spotlight Sessions

“To persist after disappointment or setback, you must believe that your worth is not attached to a result or an outcome.”

This quote by Dr. Clarence Lee Jr. has been a personal and professional guidepost for Bobby Thompson ’07, the interim director of student-athlete development for UC Berkeley’s intercollegiate athletics program. In this position, Thompson spearheads development initiatives for the university’s more than 850 student-athletes representing 30 Division I athletic programs.

After Thompson graduated from Howard University with a degree in Communications & Culture, he worked as a production assistant for the Pac 12-Networks for a short time before enrolling in the University of San Francisco School of Law. He was deemed academically ineligible after one year, falling just short of the minimum grade point average required.

“That was a disappointment, but rather than get down on myself I walked across the street, literally, to the sports management program and just graduated with my master’s this past December,” he said.

Thompson was one of more than 40 professionals who participated in O’Dowd’s Career Day, held on March 16, sharing their professional journeys and providing practical and valuable tips for success.

Junior students were able to choose from various presentations by alumni, parents and members of the community who discussed careers in many fields, including education, engineering, entrepreneurship, medicine, law enforcement, politics and public relations/marketing.

Career Day started off with a welcome session in the theater, where presenters shared what they took away from their high school experience that guided them in their career journey. “This was new and set a positive tone for the day,” event organizer and Dragon Launch coordinator Meghan Bailey Wallingford ’89 said.

In addition to a host of presentations by individuals, students could also participate in Industry Spotlight Sessions, featuring multiple presenters, where they could gain a sense of different avenues that can be taken within a field or how to take an interest and shape it into a career.

Thompson was part of the “Sports” Industry Spotlight Session, along with Shelley Russi ’88 (who works in Referee Operations for the WNBA), Tom Abdenour (an athletic trainer who worked for the Golden State Warriors for 24 seasons) and Shana Daum (vice president of community relations for the San Francisco Giants).

“I genuinely believe there is no such thing as failure if you learn from your experiences,” Thompson said. “I’ve been kicked out of law school. Nobody wants that to happen, but as long as you understand what your vision and your goals are and you keep pushing towards them everything works out – it’s called the learning process.”

After their presentations, the Career Day speakers were invited to join faculty members and staff for lunch in the theater lobby.

Career Day speakers included:

  1. Tom Abdenour (athletic training)

  2. Sgt. Louie Brandt ’85 (law enforcement – police officer)

  3. Jennifer Bunkers (entrepreneur)

  4. Mary Canales (culinary)

  5. Al Carrasco ’76 (finance and accounting)

  6. Damon Covington ’91 (firefighter)

  7. Bob Cross (law)

  8. James Cunningham ’09 (computer science)

  9. Shana Daum (public relations)

  10. Niccolo De Luca ’92 (politics/government)

  11. Annie Eagan ’89 (political fundraising/local government)

  12. Sabrina Farrell ’90 (law – district attorney)

  13. Christopher Fee, M.D., ’89 (emergency medicine)

  14. Cynthia Ferrari (psychology – marriage and family therapist)

  15. Peter French ’84 (law enforcement-FBI)

  16. Una Gilmartin (structural engineering)

  17. Starr Gray ’98 (music industry)

  18. Leslie Hardy Hood ’86 (medicine – OBGyn)

  19. Jacelynn Hill ’01 (social work)

  20. Stephanie Hwang (videography)

  21. Derreck Johnson ’82 (entrepreneurship)

  22. Joel Julien ’87 (education – high school teacher/administrator)

  23. Dr. Annie Kersting (research scientist)

  24. Charles Lau, M.D. (medical app developer)

  25. Carrie Lloyd (photographer)

  26. Ann McFarland (social work)

  27. Meredith Parry (corporate law)

  28. Matt Powers ’99 (geological engineering)

  29. Shelley Russi ’88 (referee – WNBA)

  30. Christie Saccomanno ’10 (education – early childhood/learning differences)

  31. Steve Sciamanna ’74 (chemical engineering)

  32. Terry Scott (aviation – pilot)

  33. Anne Swiney (entrepreneurship)

  34. Bobby Thompson ’07 (Cal athletics – director of student-athlete development)

  35. Sgt. Richard Vierra ’85 (law enforcement)

  36. Michael Wallman (engineer-Google)

  37. Dana Young ’83 (public relations)


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