Alumni Notice Career Results After Professional Development Workshops
Here’s a fun fact you won’t find on Google: The University that cares the most about its alumni is the University of St. Thomas-Houston. Prove it, you say? That’s easy. UST just completed a dynamite series of three professional development workshops for alumni only, and participants indicate it was a smashing success for yielding results.
“Absolutely,” Emilee Hunter ’20 said, “I definitely noticed results. I was recently hired at The Menil Collection to serve as executive assistant to the CFO using the tools I learned in the workshops."
Lead Cord Blood Collector at MD Anderson Kristine Urrutia ’16 had been ready for a new challenge within her organization before the workshops.
She said, “I used the new skills and tools, and leadership started noticing me, giving me more of a leadership role in the program. Because of the positive feedback, I’ve applied for one of the open positions.”
Workshops Wowed Participants
All sessions were designed and led by members of UST’S superb Career Services Center team: Director Paula Marsh, MBA; Assistant Director of Employer Engagement James D. Martin II; and Career Development Specialist Adalgiza Canjinji.
Each workshop was designed to be a standalone. But taking all three offered a powerful formula for success. In the first session, participants discovered their five main strengths using the Clifton StrengthsFinder. The second workshop was about building their unique brand using their skills and charisma, which really spoke to Hunter.
“C.H.A.R.I.S.M.A. stands for Cultivating relationships, Humility, Attitude, Respect, Initiative, Self-development, Manners and Appearance,” Hunter recalled. “It was encouraging and enlightening and gave me tools to sit down and plan my future as well as my family’s.”
By the third session, participants had all the tools and had planned what they wanted to achieve. Then, it was time to create an action plan to ensure they continue driving towards their goals. They also needed to build their support system, incorporating networking.
Urrutia explained, “It was about building my unofficial ‘board of directors.’ I had to decide who I wanted at my table to be my mentors and truth-tellers. This is where we are supposed to use our networking skills to help us grow. I had space for eight people at my table, so I wrote down their names and why I selected them. For instance, I had one person for diversity, another for expertise, another for mentoring and so forth.
Paula Marsh added, “The support system is inclusive of key people, including a mentor or sponsor, an accountability partner, a connector, and an active listener who help to guide the alum through the professional development process.”
Wildly Successful Sessions Sparked Reengagement of Alumni
Alumni Association Board member Ashley Scott ’04, MCTM ’20, came up with the idea to offer the professional development workshops and called the sessions a “wild success.”
“Each event sold out,” Scott said. “We received an outpouring of positive feedback and have seen reengagement of alumni who are getting involved for the first time in years. This is a strong indication we are hitting the mark for bringing value and serving this community in ways that resonate with their areas of interest.”
Where to Learn About the Next Great Alumni Opportunity
Hunter heard about the workshops through UST’s alumni newsletter. Urrutia became aware by following UST and the Alumni Association on Facebook. Don’t miss out. Click here to follow UST and here to follow UST Alumni.