NAPERVILLE, Ill. — A group of North Central College students recently experienced what it’s like to make an important presentation in front of corporate executives.
On short notice, the students prepared and delivered a 12-minute presentation about their involvement with the College’s Enactus (formerly Students In Free Enterprise, or SIFE) chapter. They made their presentation Sept. 20 in the conference room of a Chicago hotel before dozens of KPMG executives who gathered from around the world for an annual business meeting. The Chicago-based accounting firm is one of SIFE’s major international financial supporters.
“We say in SIFE all the time that we take what we’re learning in the classroom and implement it into business situations, and this experience was exactly that,” says Jaclyn Boyle, a senior from Elwood who is majoring in business management and environmental studies. “I have taken multiple communications courses, but it was a great experience to take everything I was taught in those classes and put it to good use.
Kye Holston, a senior from Douglasville, Ga., who is majoring in sociology and anthropology, was another of four students who delivered the presentation. He appreciated the benefits of working together as a group on the project.
“Working on other SIFE projects has taught me how to pool together differing opinions to help an outsider and still make something collaborative happen,” he says. “It’s one thing to have an idea. It’s another thing for a group to have ideas. But when so many diverse people get together for the sake of helping one another and making something happen, that’s what it’s all about.”
In the presentation, students briefly spoke about their personal backgrounds then explained how the College’s SIFE group is involved in a variety of projects, from helping a Guatemalan pottery maker ship goods without breakage, to helping Hopi native Americans identify new markets, to helping Guatemalan coffee growers distribute and sell their products to customers in America.
“This was great practice for doing an actual big presentation to a company,” says Samantha Suarez, a senior form Romeoville who is majoring in interactive media studies and sociology. “You learn how to think quickly on your feet.”
The 40 or so people in the audience gathered from all parts of the world for the week long conference during which the SIFE students presented.
“I met people from Uruguay, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Kenya,” says Erik Frandin, a senior from Utica who is majoring in accounting and management. “Having this experience speaking in front of such a diverse group really helped me a lot.”
Other SIFE members—including Kathryn Carpenter of Naperville, Gail Oesterle of Muster, Ind. and Samantha Andersen of Sycamore—helped the four presenters prepare by designing a PowerPoint presentation, writing the presentation and coaching the students.
“I was excited to meet the representatives from KPMG, not only for the titles they held but because of their international background,” Andersen says. “I looked forward to talking to them and getting feedback on the presentation from a global perspective.”
The event was one of the last by the group under the name SIFE, which on Sept. 30 said it was changing the name of the worldwide student organization to Enactus. The name change is thought to better represent the group’s mission as “entrepreneurs in action.” Visit enactus.org to learn more.