Tell me about yourself.
I have worked in career counseling and coaching for the last 8 years, all of which have been in higher education. In the last four years I've been the primary career services provider to roughly 2000+ undecided and exploring first- and second-year students (those with no major yet), and I learned a lot about what college students care about, and that their future is certainly uncertain--a topic that I loved diving into with them. My work with exploring students was challenging at times, yet mostly very rewarding because I had the ability to make students aware of how to actualize and act on their goals, and at times it was my job to simply give them permission to not have a clear vision. Having grown a lot as a person and professional in the role, I worked my way into another position, where I serve as the Associate Director of Alumni Career Services at a large R-1 institution. Working with a diverse group of individuals, from various industries, who have a variety of career-related needs has been incredibly rewarding. I have now assisted thousands of students and alumni with different career interests, and it's thrilling work. I love what I do, and I've always been interested in starting my own company to provide career coaching to individuals that need and want a good, quality, trustworthy coach--one that truly cares about careers, understands what employers want, and cares deeply about each person's well-being. That's why I'm writing here today, in the hopes that you'll see this and want to reach out for help.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I would have to say that one of my strengths, and I believe my supervisors would agree, is my ability to create and sustain strong relationships with most everyone I meet. Creating relationships comes naturally to me, mostly because I care genuinely about people, their lives, and their goals. This is a simple example, but I believe it demonstrates this well: when I meet a new staff member it's really important to me to make them feel welcomed and comfortable right away, which is why I make the effort to plan a lunch date early on in their on-boarding. We get to know each other much better right from the start and the relationship naturally develops from there. Sometimes, developing these relationships early on has additional benefits later, like when we become partners on projects, or if they need advice about an upcoming meeting.
Another strength would be creativity, and to back that up--a drive for innovation. I love creating new things and derive a lot of satisfaction from improving systems, creating new content, brainstorming, and so forth. It's not just creating that I love, it's seeing how the creation gets implemented and the successes of each project or idea. One of the most creative ideas I was able to implement was a workshop called Explore Lab -- it took students through a series of moments that required them to deeply think about what they wanted to get from their college major, and helped them understand why so many people "don't know what they want to be when they grow up." (It's a question that doesn't really ever go away.) I presented Explore Lab at a national conference, and it has since been shared with and implemented at career centers across the nation.
Of course, not all creations are 100% successful, which leads me to my weakness. There have been moments in my professional career where I'd pitch a new idea for a program to my boss and it'd be a quick and strong no. At times, I could take this very personally, and think there was something wrong with me. "Did he think I can't do it?"
Now, with time to reflect, I realize that every time he told me no, he was right. Either the program wasn't going to be the best use of my time, or it wouldn't have a big enough impact, and so forth. So, now, I don't have as hard a time hearing no to my ideas. Instead, I think about the "big picture" and where the no is coming from.
What's your greatest accomplishment?
I'm really most proud of the work that I do now--helping people become more true to themselves, happier, and complete through career coaching. So, I suppose my greatest accomplishment is becoming a career coach. Of course, no one I know has ever grown up thinking "You know what I want to be when I grow up, a Career Coach." You see, I started my college life as a first-generation student (neither of my parents attended college) at a small community-college, and later earned my first degree, a BA in Anthropology from San Francisco State University. After that, I didn't know what path to take, so I looked for work where I could make an impact on people. I also knew at that point that I loved the environment of higher education and could imagine working at a college. I began to look for careers where I could combine my love to help and higher ed. Ultimately, it led me to academic advising careers, which in California, at the time, required a Masters Degree in Counseling. I researched and pursued the field of counseling, completing my degree in 2012. Earning my MS in Counseling was the hardest, and best thing I ever did for myself. While in the program, I was exposed to career development and loved it, so I earned a specialization in it. Afterward, I worked in career services and as I grew as a professional in the field, I became interested in coaching techniques and worked to become a Board Certified Coach with emphasis areas in life and career coaching. There is no accomplishment greater that I can think of than that of my earning my education, which has provided me the chance to do work that I love so dearly.