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Alumni Spotlight: Neil Patkar

Our Alumni Spotlight for August 2022 is Neil Patkar, a graduate of The Lovett School (2018), and of New York University (2022) in Business Finance. He works as Capacity Broker at Karbone, Inc., an energy finance company, facilitating efficiency trade in energy to businesses and cities. During his high school years, Neil attended several of our programs and in his post he shares how 21CL helped start off his professional career on a good footing!

Paint a brief picture of what you are doing now.

I have recently graduated college at New York University, and I am working for Karbone, Inc., an energy finance company. My position is Capacity Broker, and I help in efficient trade of energy across the grid to businesses and cities that need electricity on demand and ensure that fewer blackouts occur.

How did participating in 21CL transform you and lead you to where you are now?

21st Century Leaders greatly helped improve my social and networking skills. I can now confidently walk into any room and start a conversation with anyone. I also got to learn the importance of mentorship and seeking advice from more experienced professionals. Because of these skills, my interviews improved a great deal and I was able to land a client-facing position at a financial institution in New York City. In addition to all this, I met some very good friends with whom I am still connected with until today!

Which programs did you participate in? How did the skills/tools/perspectives you acquired from 21CL prepare you for your next steps, going into college, taking on new leadership roles in your community, college and after?

I attended two summer programs: Summer Youth Leadership Institute (SYLI) in 2017 and the WarnerMedia Institute for Future Leaders -now Warner Bros. Discovery  Future Leaders Institute in 2016. I gained great social skills, educating myself by my own accord, and surrounding myself with good information and media. Through SYLI I learned how to network and I discovered a passion for business with a purpose beyond making money.

Do you have a memorable or ‘aha’ moment during your time at 21CL? (Particular program, meeting professional and diverse peers, speaking in public for the first time, etc.?)

During my final day at SYLI, I learned the importance of appearance during presentations. I was ready to wear normal clothes to the week-long culminating presentation, but Dr. Jacque-Corey Cormier (I remember us calling him Doc Joc) told me that my shoes and full attire would make a big impact on my audience. I heeded his advice, and to this day I still believe you can make a big impact professionally when you dress better, and conduct yourself better than the average person.

Did 21CL assist you in developing a leadership style that makes you an effective leader? If so , how? And have you recently learned something else about leadership? Please share!

With 21CL I learned to be a compassionate leader that leads by example without criticizing others too harshly. Recently I have also learned that no matter how frustrated you are, as a leader, it is important to not lose your cool or do something you could regret later; you got to remember that everyone is watching you. Always keep a cool head no matter what and also be nice to others at all times!