Last Friday, our students and coaches toured local company, Cherwell Software, a leading force in IT service management tools and solutions. The company has grown exponentially over the past few years, and the CEO, Vance Brown, has received several awards including being named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Ernst and Young. Mr. Brown was also our keynote speaker at our 2013 Lifetime Entrepreneurship Award Luncheon.
Thank you to the panelists – Chris Bender, Sunil Salve, Sandra Martinez, Chad Cramer, Stephanie Santos, Heidi Wichenhauser, and Tom Hoagland! We learned so much and were inspired by your great corporate culture and incredible growth over the past few years. Thank you for also sharing what makes the most difference in have a memorable interview – showing initiative, knowing about the company, and having great communication skills.
Dr. James Van Scotter and Dr. Jill Bradley-Geist led our students and coaches through an insightful seminar on personality and how it can factor into one’s career decisions and even success. Before attending the workshop, all participants were asked to complete a 44-question “Big Five” personality test, which assesses individuals on the following characteristics:
- Openness to Experience – Defined as “intellectually curious, artistically inclined, creative, and open-minded.”
- Conscientiousness – Defined as “dependable, reliable, achievement-striven, goal-oriented, disciplined, and persevering.”
- Extraversion – Defined as “gaining energy from being with people; outgoing, talkative, assertive, bold, sensitive to reward (externally motivated).”
- Agreeableness – Defined as “courteous, cooperative, forgiving, altruistic, and empathetic.”
- Neuroticism – Defined as “more easily upset, stressed, and worried.”
The two professors discussed with the group how these five traits can influence workplace behavior. Additionally, they noted that intelligence is actually the most influential indicator of job place success, above personality. Following is how conscientious an individual is (as defined above). These are the two most critical factors impacting general performance across all industries.
Included in the discussion was the idea that personality can change over time or according to situation. For instance, it is possible for someone to develop extroverted tendencies while being a true introvert through practice and a gradual rewiring of one’s brain. Additionally, it was noted that neuroticism isn’t necessarily negative and is actually a preferred trait among some detailed-oriented positions such as architects and doctors.
Each participant received a personalized personality assessment, which included scores (on a continuum) for each of the five characteristics. These scores were put in the context of the “average” person within their age group.
Thank you to Dr. Van Scott and Dr. Bradley-Geist for leading us through this workshop – learning more about ourselves and others is always a worthwhile endeavor!
In the Career Coaching Program, we value experiential learning, and that is why we plan activities in the community that allow both students and mentors to touch, see, feel, and understand different types of businesses. To kick off this semesters activities, we arranged a tour of J.D. Phillips Water Resource Recovery Facility on Friday, October 24, which is managed by Colorado Springs Utilities. During the 45-minute tour of the facility, which is conveniently located near campus just West on Garden of the Gods Road, the group learned how our waste water is treated and purified in order to be made either potable or non-potable. Afterward, the group rejoined back at UCCS for a panel discussion with six CSU employees. The discussion was rich and enlightening, covering topics such as how Colorado Springs is managing an increasing population with limited water resources, volunteer firefighter team, and natural gas trading. The students also learned about how CSU filters through over 15,000 applications every year to fill less than 300 jobs as well as some of the political challenges our local utilities face with regulation and governance. An educational Friday afternoon, for sure! Thank you to Kerry Comer and Sandi Yukman for helping to put this event together. Also, thank you to our esteemed panelists, Renee Adams, Tristan Geahart, Steward Cooper, Tami Blackwell, Na Hoang, and Glenn Gross!
We just launched our new Career Coaching Program for the 2014/2015 year! 17 Awesome pairs of students and Career Coaches have just embarked on a learning journey together, and we are excited to see the outcomes. During our orientation breakfast last week, we had professional photographer Shannon Coker take each student’s portraits. Don’t they look great?! Welcome, class of 2014/2015!
These guys clean up nicely! We were pleased to bring in Shannon Coker of Shannon Coker Photography to snap these very professional portraits the students can use for their social media profiles. Didn’t they turn out great!? Now that they act the part, they can look it, too.
Now that we’ve covered the corporate world, we thought we’d take a totally different look at business through the eyes of local entrepreneurs working at Epicentral Coworking in Downtown Colorado Springs! We toured their space, which consisted of spacious rooms with shared desks, conference rooms, lounges, and a community kitchen. In addition to getting to speak with co-owners Hannah Parsons and Lisa Tessarowicz, our group of 30 students and Career Coaches heard the stories of four uniquely passionate entrepreneurs. Here were a few takeaways:
- The “tipping point” or in some cases “pain point” of an entrepreneur is when he or she sees a problem and wants to be the solution. In some cases, people have to hit a point where they are completely dissatisfied with where they are or how something is currently being done, and they decide to change things.
- Create a “transition fund.” Many people are handicapped by fear, leaving their steady income and benefits to pursue a dream. Stash money away for when opportunity arises, you can pursue it knowing that you are taken care of in the short-term.
- You can’t do everything as an entrepreneur. Know what you’re good at, and hire professionals to do the rest! (We specifically talked about the importance of finding a good bookkeeper, accountant, and legal adviser.)
Thank you to Scooter Wadsworth, Noel Boyce, Julian Flores, and Kimberley Sherwood for providing great advice for our students! And thank you to Hannah and Lisa for hosting!