For years, Fordham students have had the benefit of first-hand tips from successful business executives through the University’s alumni network. Alumni also get that benefit and with today’s not-so-certain job market, networking with success couldn’t come at a better time.

(R to L) John P. Alberto, John Longobardi and Edward I. O’Brien, Jr., discuss marketing yourself in a tough economy. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

The Spring Executive Leadership Series at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus on May 19 covered a timely topic: “Marketing Yourself in a Challenging Economy.”

The featured speakers for the event, sponsored by Fordham’s Office of Alumni Relations, were President’s Council members and alumni John P. Alberto (FCRH ’72, GBA ’75), senior vice president of human resources for Combe Incorporated; John Longobardi (CBA ’85), group director of corporate relations and business development for LaBranche & Co.; and Edward I. O’Brien, Jr. (FCRH ’80), a private investor who most recently served as executive vice president of Keefe, Bruyette and Woods Inc. Alumnus Joseph Siano, (CBA ’04), moderated the discussion, which was heavy on good, old-fashioned advice for the group of young alumni that attended the event.

“Just like Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at [Fordham’s 2009 Commencement on May 16], it doesn’t hurt to be the first one in and the last to leave,” O’Brien said. “Especially if you’re in financial services, you should be at your desk at 7 a.m. Hard work and working long hours is very important.”

John Alberto agreed. “If you don’t work harder than everyone else, you’ll be stuck in the middle,” he said. “Also, always be honest and have personal integrity.”

Marketing oneself in this challenging economy is of the utmost importance, Longobardi said.

“When I go into the office every day, I think, ‘How can I bring value to my company?’ You have to really take hold of what your successes are and display that in pursuit of your next job,” Longobardi said. “And think about that when it comes to your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Be careful of what you have on there because you’re selling yourself every day.”

Office etiquette is important, O’Brien said, as your actions leave lasting impressions.

“Don’t worry about the politics,” he said, “just come in and do your job.”

Many of the young alumni who attended the event find themselves in a job transition or wondering if they could jump into a different field.

“Think about your current skills and experience and whether you can transfer them into a new field because in many chances you can,” Albert said. “And where’s your passion? Are you willing to get some additional skills?”

O’Brien reiterated the hunt for work that the job candidate will enjoy.

“We had lots of people working on Wall Street just because their fathers did. It’s not for everybody,” he said. “Know your passion and go for it.”


Gina Vergel is Senior Director of Communications. She oversees the digital news coverage, public relations, and social media for the university. Before joining Fordham in 2007, Gina worked as a reporter for the Home News Tribune, and The Ridgewood News, where she won Society of Professional Journalist (New Jersey chapter) awards for breaking news and feature writing, respectively. She can be reached at [email protected] or (646) 579-9957.