Former ESPN anchor instructs, learns at Communication Forum

Lindsay Czarniak communication forum George Mason University Fairfax

Lindsay Czarniak talks to communication majors at a forum on Oct. 23. Photo provided by Mason Department of Communication.

“Bet on yourself,” Lindsay Czarniak, former ESPN anchor, told the audience at George Mason University’s 2018 Communication Forum. 

Czarniak repeated this advice many times at the Oct. 23 event in Dewberry Hall on the Fairfax Campus, saying that if students took one thing away from her speech, that should be it.

“The biggest thing in getting a job is to get your foot in the door,” Czarniak said. “It is important to make a contact in the industry that you want to be in and reach out to them, and they will be very willing to answer your questions. If you treat people well and work hard, you can do anything, and things will go your way.”

Czarniak’s appearance as keynote speaker was part of the annual forum presented by the Insight Committee in Mason’s Department of Communication. The forum offers discussion and professional advice to communication students and any other Mason students with a career interest in communication. Nearly 20 communication professionals and Mason alumni offered mentoring sessions to students to provide advice on workplace skills and better prepare them for future jobs.

“There are many ways that the Communication Forum benefits students,” communication professor Carl Botan said. “The obvious way is the mentoring opportunities that are offered and that people get to spend time around tables with senior industry members. However, in addition to getting direct information about jobs and opportunities, students may come away from the event with an increased sense of confidence in their career choices.”

Paige Healey, BA Communication ’15, who is pursuing her MBA at Mason, credited her attendance at a Communication Forum session when she was a Mason undergraduate student with helping her find a position as a manager of internal communications at Northrop Grumman Corporation. She came to this year’s forum as a mentor to pay it forward.

“One of the mentors that I met, Mark, worked at Northrop Grumman, and he told me that every business needed communication people,” Healey said. “When I was applying for jobs I saw a position at Northrop Grumman and decided to go for it. I mentioned that I had met Mark during my interview, and here I am three years later.”

Chloe Clark, a sophomore communication major, said she learned it is crucial to network with professionals in order to land a position for your future career. Additionally, she said, “I learned how important it is to send follow-ups [to] potential employers.”

Czarniak, who from 2005 to 2011 worked at NBC affiliate WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., and who voluntarily served as a table mentor after her keynote speech, said she, too, took something from the forum.

“I loved getting to learn about all of the students’ interests during the table discussions,” she said. “This way, students and professionals get to learn about one other and have real interactions.”