Nov. 2 the 15th annual etiquette dinner was held at Pacific Grill Events Center near the UW Tacoma campus. The goal of the program was to learn proper business etiquette for meals and events.
The annual etiquette dinner was started by Gary Milgard — founder of the Milgard School of Business — in hopes of providing the opportunity for students to network with professionals in the business community.
Joe Lawless, Executive Director of the Center of Leadership and Social Responsibility, sees Milgard’s vision as a great asset to UWT.
“Gary wanted UWT students who graduate under his business school to be able to represent themselves and the school,” Lawless said. “Because of its potential to help students gain professional tips, over 100 students have attended this year which is the most we’ve ever had.”
Students, faculty and business community partners gathered at 6 p.m. for a standing reception where appetizers were provided. The event sponsors were also present in the meeting room, with companies such as Key Bank, Weyerhaeuser, Dwyer, Pemberton & Coulson, Wells Fargo, MultiCare and Brown & Brown Insurance who helped make the event successful.
Participants were dressed in professional business attire and socialized while waiting to be seated at tables. Each person this year received a box of custom made business cards that were provided by an anonymous donor.
Shortly thereafter, everyone was called to the main dining room for a three-course served meal while listening to a presentation from guest speaker Cybrina Cooper, a talent acquisition specialist from Enterprise Holdings.
The first course was an appetizer that included bread and butter with tea, lemonade, coffee or water. The second course was either the citrus roasted chicken or vegan roulade entree, as well as a dessert option which included chocolate bliss bars and pastries.
While the attendees were having their meals, Cooper asked questions about dining etiquette and watched for the first raised hand as many students were eagerly waiting to answer them.
Shane Benoit, communication and information specialist at the Milgard School of Business, shared his own experience, explaining what Milgard students were exposed to by attending the annual etiquette dinner.
“The speaker asked questions like ‘which fork, plate and glass is yours?’ [and] ‘What are appropriate dinner conversations?’” Benoit said. “‘Is it fine to drink alcohol during a company dinner?’ And ‘Can you send a quick text during the meal?’ [All of these questions] were addressed during the meal.”
As the attendees received their courses, Cooper presented information on which utensils to use and dinning manners.
“I learned how to be properly excused from the table, utensil placement and that some companies view mild alcohol as permissible with a two-drink limit,” Benoit said.
The event ended right on time at 8 p.m. with many participants socializing and taking pictures with their friends and mentors afterwards.
“It was awesome for me to engage with students and become more familiar with both our business and campus community,” Benoit said. “I enjoyed taking pictures at the event. I left around 8:30 p.m. after socializing, as many other participants were.”
Lawless believes that the annual etiquette dinner can be a great opportunity to eat amazing food, network with the business community and learn some tricks to land a job or receive a promotion.
“I think it really makes an impact,” he said. “I’ve heard from students (from back when I first started working here) who are now working out in the real world, and they talk about how much they remember from the etiquette dinner and how much it helped them.”