Last month, on June 18th, The Apareció Foundation presented the 14 Under 45 Speaker Series, an “un-dinner” party. The event gave high school students the chance to meet and mingle with Chicago representatives ranging from finance, technology, engineering, business and more to share their experiences and successes.
Yaritza Velasquez was just one of the students from West Leyden High School who had the rare opportunity to network and learn from some of the most innovative professionals in Chicago. Velasquez shared that one of her favorite parts throughout the night was learning the basics of how to network efficiently from LinkedIn representatives.
“They gave us a lot of tips and tricks to networking, but didn’t lecture us,” Velasquez said. “They taught us through conversation and treated us like we were equals. Speaking with them truly felt like a two-way street; they taught us and we taught them.”
During the event, there was time set aside for panel members to ask questions about their involvement with their respective companies. Velasquez helped co-moderate the discussion with one of Apareció’s board members and founder of VisMed 3D, Dima Elissa. The panel helped Velasquez understand the perspectives of each individual company.
“14 Under 45 was important to me, because it gave high school students the chance to meet professionals we wouldn’t meet in an every day setting,” Velasquez said. “It gave us the opportunity to reach out and get a glimpse at what they do and how it integrates with their daily lives.”
Velasquez has plans to pursue accounting at the University of Illinois at Chicago this fall and is very excited to start her studies. 14 Under 45 gave Velasquez the opening to connect with Chicago professionals that gave her a fresh outlook on her career. The Apareció Foundation has plans to organize more events like 14 Under 45 to provide consistent mentorship for young women.