Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SWFC attends Lotosphere 2012: Business Made Social

By Jennifer Wallace - Tampa Coordinator for Industry Relations and Graduate Placement

Lotosphere 2012, Business Made Social was hosted by IBM at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL January 15th-19th. This year, Southwest Florida College was invited to participate in the Group  Business Software (GBS) College Day at Lotusphere 2012, held on Monday, January 17th. Over 700 students from 14 Florida colleges and universities attended the event.

SWFC Tampa Campus had 24 students participate in the GBS College Day at Lotusphere 2012. Mr. Gary Stein, Program Manager for Business/IT and Mrs. Jennifer Wallace, Tampa Coordinator for Industry Relations and Graduate Placement proctored the event. GBS provided transportation from the SWFC Tampa Campus to the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, where they were provided with breakfast and welcoming gifts. The General Session was opened with a surprise performance by the popular rock band, OK GO, followed by celebrity guest speaker, Michael J. Fox. Following the General Session, students were given the opportunity to participate in User Experience and IBM Innovation Labs and “Meet the Developers.”

At noon, the students were transported to Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Convention Center for a Social Business Lunch with Panel Discussion. Joerg Ott, CEO of GBS, moderated, as students addressed specific career questions to a distinguished panel, including:

Mitch Cohen, Messaging and Collaboration Manager, Colgate Palmolive
Professor Larry Gee, San Jose State University
Sam Fatigato, CEO, Ascendant Technology
Adam Lazarus GBS College 2011 Alumni, Product Marketing Engineer, GBS
Bob McDonald, VP Software Service IBM Collaboration Solutions, IBM

There was also an IBM or GBS professional dining with students at each table!

The afternoon consisted of various Technical and Business Breakout Sessions, including:

  • Building Gadgets with OpenSocial, Speakers: Ryan Baxter (Software Engineer), Andrew Davis (Software Developer), Stanton Sievers (Software Engineer)
  • Developing Exceptional Mobile & Multi-Channel Applications Using IBM Web Experience Factory, Speaker: Jonathan Booth, Senior Architect, IBM
  • Reinventing Communication Roles @ IBM, Speaker: Don Neely, Program Director, Analyst Relations, IBM
  • What would you do if you knew you could not fail…, Joerg Ott, CEO Group Business Software

The event concluded with a Career Fair, in which students were able to sit with employers in a round-table discussion on a five-minute rotation. During the Career Fair, we learned that the company CDW is opening a Tampa office and will be hiring for all positions, from Business to IT, and the link to the CDW career page was shared with students this morning. In addition to making valuable connections to professionals in their field, every participant will receive a follow-up email with instructions detailing how to apply for internships, which will include an essay requirement. Both IBM and GBS will pull from these applications to fill their summer internship positions.

Wendy Collins, a SWFC graduate and returning student, was a raffle winner! She will have a limousine escort to dine with the CEO of IBM and GBS! In the past, recipients of this prize went on to become permanent employees of IBM and GBS!

About Southwest Florida College: Southwest Florida College is an accredited, private institution of higher learning that is listening to employers and providing its students with placement assistance in today’s most demanding career fields. The college is located in Fort Myers, Tampa, Port Charlotte and Bonita Springs. The Institute of Interior Design is also located within the Bonita Springs campus. For more information, call 1-877-455-0107 or visit

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