BE Club Creates Opportunities for Networking...and Community

many hands in a circle
Rebecca A. Eckland

If you want to make positive changes in our community and the world, the Business and Entrepreneurship (BE) Club offers you the chance to do exactly that, regardless of your major. Club President Byanka Johnson has experienced this firsthand. A Political Science major, she joined the BE Club in Fall 2020 as Club Secretary. This semester, she’s the Club President and said that the experience, so far, is offering her many opportunities to meet other TMCC students and members of the community. 

“I thought it would be fun to engage with the business community and see how things work,” Johnson explained. The experience gave her exactly the glimpse she was looking for. “I wanted to know how CEOs operate without actually having to take a bunch of business classes.” By taking an active role in the club, she has helped to support several community outreach events, including last semester’s partnership with the Reno Burrito Project. 

Under Johnson’s leadership—and with the oversight of faculty advisor and Marketing Instructor Kofi Poku—the BE Club is focusing on the theme of "Creating Networking Opportunities for Business Success" in the 2021–2022 academic year. 

“The whole networking aspect has been really great for me,” she said. “I’m actually in the Political Science Club as well, and so I’ve been able to meet a lot of new people in the business and political science worlds, which are people in the community I will probably work with at some point. I was thinking that if I can start networking now as a student and they see my progress at TMCC, this could lead to a potential career later on.” 

So far in Fall 2021, there are two major initiatives that Johnson is focused on, including the first-ever BE Club Jacket Drive. The drive is hosted at the Dandini Campus, with the goal is of collecting as many jackets as possible for TMCC students who might need them as the cold weather sets in. Organizing the drive provided Johnson with the challenge of writing a proposal for the project and working with several different campus entities to make it happen. 

“We wrote a proposal and that was submitted to Wizard’s Warehouse. And then we also had to go through the Student Government Association in order to get the drive approved. I’m not a business major, so this certainly showed me that there are a lot of steps to go through in order to get something like this approved,” she said. The club would like to collect a minimum of 100 jackets and other items of warm clothing for the inaugural jacket drive. Johnson would also like the drive to become an annual tradition at TMCC, and expand it to include other TMCC locations. 

Those who are interested in donating a jacket for the cause can drop off their items at donation boxes located in the Sierra and Red Mountain Buildings on the Dandini Campus, in front of Wizard’s Warehouse or the Learning Commons, respectively. 

“If people are in need, we could create this resource. And if [getting a warm jacket] helps a student to get through the semester without having to worry, I think we have reached our goal,” she said. 

Meeting with the Mayor

The second project for Fall 2021 for the BE Club—and for Johnson as BE Club President—was organizing a guest speaker for the club’s Oct. 28 meeting. “This year our theme is ‘Creating Networking Opportunities for Business Success’ and we wanted to provide a way for our students to meet new people and create those relationships,” she said. 

At a recent officer’s meeting, it was proposed that the club reach out to Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve. Johnson was surprised when she reached out to the Mayor’s office and her invitation was met with a generous acceptance for the meeting that will happen on Zoom from 2–3 p.m. 

“Hopefully Mayor Schieve will let us know how her networking has led her to become not only a great businesswoman but the Mayor of the city. She’s made the city a great business community and for business students, I think it would be great if she could engage with us and let us know that our business ideas are noteworthy in Reno,” she said. 

Johnson emphasized that the Oct. 28 zoom meeting with Mayor Schieve is open to any TMCC campus community member—student, faculty or staff—who would like to join.  After all, participating in a student club at TMCC is what got Johnson more involved, and how she hopes to continue making a positive difference not only in her personal and professional life but in the community as well. 

“I think students should stop by the meeting and at least engage with the Mayor, and hear her experience. As you know, she started small and local... and that’s a lot like the BE Club. We’re a small, local organization, but if we work together on meaningful projects, we can make a positive impact,” she said. 

For more information about the BE Club, contact them by calling 775-673-7132.