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On November 17, a select group of Montgomery College students were invited to The 2019 Rockstar Awards dinner, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Rockville at the Manor Country Club. Two of these students, Ava Edalatkhah and Aisha Khan, represented the Southern Management Leadership Program and reported on the great value of this very fun, memorable, and inspiring evening. Below are their reactions:

Ava explained, “I met extraordinary entrepreneurs and business leaders both in my field of interest and many from different career paths as well! During this dinner we were encouraged to introduce ourselves to different business leaders and entrepreneurs to gain some insight, build our network,

and get a better understanding of the business world (both in our field of interest and even some outside of our field of interest!). It was a breath of fresh air, seeing that there are many people like myself who enjoy stimulating conversation with people you know and people you just meet. I personally love meeting new people, learning about them, and teaching them about myself to find common ground and build a connection.”

Ava described the experience: “After spending some time networking with local business leaders, taking photos with peers, and munching on some delicious appetizers, we were directed to the ballroom where we were given an amazing dinner and watched as some business leaders received their awards. I honestly didn’t know that there were such tight-knit business communities who build each other up and celebrate their success together. Although it was a little intimidating at first because I had never experienced something like this, over time I realized that this is something I definitely want to grow to be a part of. They say “who you surround yourself with, is who you are” so I definitely want to surround myself with successful people to have a little boost in my career and overall path in life.” Ava was also pleased to run into someone she knew–Kelly Leonard, Director of Training for Cook Ross, and master of ceremonies, as the parent of a close friend! That’s Kelly and Ava in the picture to the right.

Aisha was impressed to hear from some of the many outstanding entrepreneurs of Montgomery County, explaining that “we heard from Entrepreneur of the Year, Michael Gottlieb; Owners of the Business of the Year, Marstudio; a representative from the Non-Profit of the Year, Cornerstone Montgomery; and more.  I was also able to converse with some of these influential business owners.”

Aisha also found that this event taught her “a lot about networking events in general. Although it can be overwhelming it is a great opportunity to ask questions and make connections. Most leaders and entrepreneurs at these types of events were once in our shoes, so they are almost always happy to help. They welcome questions and provide great insight and guidance. Connecting with other MC students was delightful as well. I was able to hear about other students’ business ideas and future plans. Overall it was a great time and I am extremely grateful for Montgomery College and Southern Management for this opportunity.”



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