Fireside Chats

Wednesday, December 11
3:15 pm - 4:00 pm
Mark Thomas Foyer (First Floor)

Fireside Chats

Branding Employers to Students and Alum in a Virtual World

Presented by: Patty Jagodzinski, Jon Paul Hernandez & Ron Gaschler,  DeVry University
Audience: Both College & Employer

Description: We were faced with low student engagement. We needed to create a plan on how to make the employer exciting to the student without the face to face interaction. Participation at our campus events were diminishing and we had no interest from students or alum to travel to campuses for events. Additionally, the challenge of creating excitement and engagement with more than 45 campuses and a robust online program across the nation was not scalable.

Concern/Issue Identified: How do we get employers in front of students? Branding Employers to Students and Alum in a Virtual World

Solution: Utilize different modalities to reach students and alum including a one-to-many approach

  • We discovered after multiple brainstorming sessions that there was not a one size fits all fix
  • We needed staff to manage multiple campuses at once and created regional maps to break the country up into 3 regions. Teamwork would be essential to success.
  • Modalities initiated
  • Mass targeted emails to students based on area and degree program
  • E-Blast for employer branding nationwide opportunities targeting degree program
  • Positing job opportunities on our internal online job board
  • Flyers distributed at campuses
  • Monthly Employer Webinars
  • Alumni Networking Events
  • “Career Week” annual event
  • Virtual Career Fairs for degree programs by geography
  • Career Portal Employer Branding
  • Military Hiring Initiative
  • Diversity Recruiting
  • National Talent Sourcing

The Career Pop Up: (Literally) Meeting Students Where They Are

Presented by: Kelsey Bensky & Becky Young, Sonoma State University
Audience: College

Description: As part of Sonoma State’s yearlong process of re imagining, rebuilding and restructuring the Career Center with 3 new professional staff, we had a big challenge ahead of us. Part of this challenge includes creating awareness that we exist as an office on campus, reducing the intimidation factor that students come in with, as well as building a culture of career into the campus conversations, which has not been the case prior to this past year. The idea behind this presentation is to share an innovative event we experimented with to address some of these challenges (including the planning process, takeaways, lessons learned) and share ways this can be implemented at other campuses. Additionally, we plan to facilitate a larger discussion about the related challenges many career centers face: changing student dynamics which impact how students consume information, students being unaware that career services exists at all, and/or feeling intimidated about coming into the career center. The Pop-Up event aimed to begin addressing some of these challenges immediately.

The event we hosted was our first ever “Career Pop Up.” The event was a 3-day Pop Up that happened the week prior to the career fairs, where we essentially took the career center, and moved it out into one of our main plazas on campus for 3 days. The space was more of a “career village” as one person stated. We had five 10×10 pop up tents, and included:

  • Drop in advising & resume review (with career advisors, other advisors who volunteer their time, and employers)
  • All of our career education materials & resources
  • Do’s and ‘donuts’: top tips for the career fairs
  • Lunchtime workshops each day
  • Our Career Closet
  • A “stress free zone” (including therapy dogs)
  • Employer connections area

We created and marketed the event as a casual, fun, engaging and inviting space for students to get career support. This event supported our effort to increase our center’s visibility, and decrease the intimidation that exists for many students about visiting our center. In truly meeting the students where (many of them) were, we were able to access students who many not have otherwise come into our space. This event is very adaptable for other organizations – we even built a “Career Pop Up Toolkit” that can be shared digitally with attendees who are interested in bringing this to their campus.

This presentation fits into the “inspire, shift, act” in several specific ways. First, we hope to inspire other career centers to consider ways they can iterate on or create new programming/campaigns to address these common challenges. Secondly, as our students populations are shifting demographically and generationally, it is imperative that we re-think how and where we deliver career services. Moving away from the approach where students must seek us out is imperative to address the way students consume information. Thirdly, we at SSU are aiming to build & shift the (non-existent) culture around career; while that doesn’t end with a Pop-Up event, it made a great impact for us at SSU and created a buzz across campus. We are really excited and hopeful to share more about this event with attendees, and engage the group in a meaningful discussion about the larger topics mentioned.

Walking the Talk: Changing Office Culture One Step at a Time

Presented by: Brent Fujinaka, Kay Jernigan, & Thomas Tsutsumoto, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Audience: College

Description: As Career Counselors and Career Development professionals, commonplace advice when working with our students are: Professional development is important. Look for opportunities to grow and become the professionals you want to be. Don’t settle for an unsatisfying work-life. And yet, as is so often the case, we might easily deliver these messages to our students but fail to regularly assess and evaluate our own workplaces. Do we feel supported in our own work? Do we feel valued and validated? Are we satisfied with our office culture? How would we rate our work-life balance? In the flurry of the academic year, amid increasing budget cuts or pressure to address growing student needs, it is very likely that career development professionals lose sight of our own messages to students.

In 2017, career counselors from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa gathered to discuss needed change in their office. A pressing, hierarchical leadership had stymied growth and innovation. Schedules were inflexible, and priority had remained focused on shrinking student appointment numbers. Professional development was deprioritized and forgotten. Counselors decided it was time to act and proceeded on a pathway toward change that challenged a dominant office culture in place for more than a decade.

This session will examine the strategies utilized to create grassroots organizational change. Career counselors will share their initial goals and strategies, and discuss best practices learned during the change initiative. These practices were both intentionally planned and the result of circumstance; each instance, however, provided opportunities for learning and growth and may present applicable scenarios for the audience.

As career development professionals, we are often aware of the concepts of workplace dynamics and satisfaction, but how often do we challenge the current status to better serve the needs of our staff, and through them, better serve the needs of our students? This session will offer a look at a real-life scenario and offer strategies that may apply to other institutions or ideas for initiating these important discussions.


  • Introductions
  • Context for Change
  • Developing Change Goals
  • Strategies and Learned Practices
  • Audience Small Group Discussions