Dinner held for student leadership

Undergraduate Student Government hosted a wide variety of student leaders at a dinner on Wednesday night for a gathering of the “Council of Presidents.” The event, which was co-hosted by Delta Omicron Zeta, a co-educational leadership fraternity, brought together student leaders from across campus organizations for a chance to cooperate and network.

Fine dining · Keynote Speaker Kelly Porter, a USC alumnus and managing director at Woodside Capital Partners, speaks to the audience about the important of perseverance. - Kevin Fohrer| Daily Trojan

Fine dining · Keynote Speaker Kelly Porter, a USC alumnus and managing director at Woodside Capital Partners, speaks to the audience about the important of perseverance. – Kevin Fohrer| Daily Trojan

The aim of the event, held at the Radisson Hotel, was to provide an opportunity for student leaders to mingle, exchange ideas and collaborate. Though USG has hosted similar events in the past, this year was the first time the gathering was hosted as a formal banquet Different representatives from over 80 organizations were in attendance.

The dinner featured distinguished alumni guests — including leaders in business, law and news media — as well as a keynote speaker.

The event began with brief introductions from leaders in DOZ as well as USG, including newly-inaugurated vice president-elect Rini Sampath.

“We’re here to celebrate the accomplishments of numerous organizations,” Sampath said.

The event included a brief overview of the organizations at USC as well as a list of their accomplishments this year.

Samantha Brown, a senior majoring in psychology and president of USC eSports, also noted the achievements of the different organizations represented. “It was interesting to see all of the organizations and their accomplishments,” Brown said. “It definitely puts into perspective what our organization has done compared to them.”

USC eSports is a competitive gaming club with over several hundred members. The club has hosted three tournaments this year, the most of any year, including a USC-UCLA rivalry tournament, according to Brown.

The majority of the event comprised of the interactions between the students of various organizations and distinguished alumni.

Joridan Barash, a freshman majoring in french horn performance who also serves as president of the Sack of Troy, a satirical news magazine at USC, noted that the opportunity to speak with alumni was beneficial.

“It was really nice to talk to people from clubs that aren’t similar to mine,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn from people of different organizations. But most of all, I enjoyed talking to the alumni. I even got some specific advice in investments.”

Michael Reilly was one of the distinguished alumni at the event. He graduated from USC in 1985 with degrees in finance and Spanish, and also earned an MBA from the Marshall School of Business in 1986. He currently serves as the chief investment officer of the equities division at TCW Group, an investment firm located in downtown Los Angeles. He noted that USC has developed its enrichment experiences since his graduation.

“I had a tremendous experience attending USC, and there were many opportunities at the time I attended,” Reilly said. “But now that I come back to campus and see such a diverse group of enrichment activities, study abroad, alternative spring break, and all of the different ways students can network and get leadership experience and volunteer in the community is just really impressive. I think that that is going to prepare them very well as they go out into larger society and undertake leadership roles out in the professional world.”

Tyler Makin a president of USC Racing, appreciated talking to other students who had passion for their organizations. USC Racing is a club that builds race cars from scratch and competes against over 80 teams from all over the world.

“It’s always cool to get together with some other student leaders and see the other people at USC who are really passionate about at least one thing,” Makin said.

The event concluded with a speech by keynote speaker and USC alumnus Kelly Porter, who graduated from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 1985 and later earned his master’s degree as a Sloan fellow from Stanford University. He currently serves as managing director at Woodside Capital Partners, an investment bank based in Palo Alto, Calif.

He began his speech with  light-hearted jokes about USC rivals UCLA and Notre Dame. He also touched on more serious topics, however, describing setbacks in his own career path, which included stints at the Home Shopping Network and Fox Cable Networks, after his graduation from USC. He offered advice to aspiring leaders in attendance.

“I can promise you that in your career and your life, you will experience some real obstacles, some of which will probably be enormously debilitating,” Porter said. “When that happens, be resilient, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and be relentless.”