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UST Goes the Extra Mile with Special Professional Development Offering for Alumni

Ashley Scott, MCTM '20, UST Alumni Board MemberWhat comes after an excellent higher education and the start of a career? University of St. Thomas-Houston Alumni Board member Ashley Scott, MCTM ’20, believes one answer to that question is “career development.” So, in a bid to get even more alumni actively engaged with the University, Scott pitched her idea to have UST Career Services create a series of robust professional development workshops for alumni Celts. And they did.

“Professional development is a journey, so I knew the learning could not be a one-and-done,” Scott asserted. “I said, ‘What if we do sessions or a workshop of three sessions and then parse that out?’" 

The First Session & the Clifton StrengthsFinder

The first session was held on February 10 at The Ion with 26 alumni. Director of Career Services Paula Marsh and Assistant Director of Employer Engagement James Martin designed the initial training around the Clifton StrengthsFinder and led the 2-hour class.

“The Clifton StrengthsFinder is an assessment, which each attendee had completed before the workshop,” Marsh said. “The results help you identify your unique talents, your talent DNA. We led a series of group and individual activities to personalize their results and build knowledge on how to turn talents into strengths.”

It was an opportunity for alumni to learn about where they can thrive. It empowered them to determine where they might want to develop as they take the next steps in their careers.

“During the session, there were great conversations, and they shared powerful insights,” Marsh recalled.

Be Prepared for Surprises

Scott, who attended the session, had taken the assessment several years ago when she was working for Johnson & Johnson and experienced a surprise this time.

“Among my top 5 strengths—futuristic, strategic, connectedness, relator and positivity—one of them had changed, and it accurately reflected my career progression,” she remarked.

 Marsh acknowledged, “We had a few surprises, and with them came conversations around how important it is to determine your interests. For example, you may have a natural strength in a particular area that you are not interested in bringing to your career, and you may be interested in something that is not a strength.”

More Alumni Workshops

The second workshop session, on March 30 at La Colombe d’Or, focuses on what is next for each attendee based on what they want to accomplish. And the third, on April 27, will outline actions that need to be taken to achieve that next step.

Responses from attendees have been outstanding, with texts inquiring, “when is the next one?”

To take advantage of the next excellent professional development session for UST alumni, register here. 

Scott added, “Beyond your university education, professional development is critical. We want our fellow UST alumni to reap the benefits of our thought-provoking sessions and of staying involved with their alma mater.”