Interview with the President; Heather Kienast (Gen X)

 We are featuring, for the next 5 months, one MCDA member from each of the 5 generations in the workplace – Traditonalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millenials, and Gen Z

This month I interviewed Gen Xer, Heather Kienast, Sr. Career Services Advisor, Rasmussen College.   

Heather Kienast 

Career Path

Heather began her career while in college studying Criminal Justice and General Sociology, with the goal of becoming a police officer.  She shifted to Social Services while working with cognitively disabled youth within the Winona community and school district.  After taking a break from college to relocate back to her hometown in Wisconsin, she returned to school, at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, to complete 2 Bachelor’s degrees: one in Sociology and one in Organizational Administration with a minor in Communication.

Through networking, Heather was hired by the Boy Scouts of America in 2003 as a Learning for Life Executive, and spent 7 years serving and partnering with school districts, various companies and governmental organizations within a 12-county area to develop career exploration for high school youth.

In 2004, she returned to college for her Master of Arts in Counseling. Her interests shifted throughout her program from K-12 to higher education.  In 2011, Heather relocated to the Twin Cities with her family, and in early 2012, she took a position with Rasmussen College as a Career Services Advisor supporting students and graduates throughout their job search journey within all 50 states. After 4 years, her position shifted to Career Services Advisor for all graduates on the Blaine campus, and moved quickly to Sr. Career Services Advisor for Health Sciences and Nursing graduates across the college, serving Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.

Heather works not only in a career advising capacity for the college, but also supports curriculum development and program accreditation; and is employed as a part-time adjunct instructor. Additionally, Heather works part-time as the Costume Shop Manager for Out on a Limb Dance Theater Company and School, a nonprofit dance company and school.  There she supports a team of volunteers who work to create costuming for hundreds of dancers and company members, including her daughters.

Strengths

Heather’s strengths show up in all that she accomplishes; they are both innate and were developed early on in her work with youth.  She excels in critical thinking and communication, and is most passionate about advising and resume writing.  In both of these areas, she loves helping students get to the place where they understand and utilize their ‘amazing’ gifts.

What attracted Heather to MCDA?

Heather’s manager came to her and challenged her to get involved in an Association.  Heather did a lot of research, “Yet”, she said, “nothing clicked until I came across the MCDA website.”  She liked that MCDA includes a diverse group of members who served in a variety of capacities with the Career Development field.

MCDA Membership: What works? What doesn’t work for Heather?

“I see that MCDA is evolving and changing, and I like having the webinars.”  What gets ‘tricky and tough’ Heather noted, is that, because of her busy work schedules and personal life as a mom of 4 children, she finds it hard to attend the extra MCDA events.  She asked if MCDA could video the Round Tables, and asked whether there is a way MCDA could develop smaller cohorts of professionals (i.e., post-secondary professionals) to, “meet, discuss and share ideas about supporting the individuals we serve.”

Heather is a great representation of our MCDA members!  Be sure to introduce yourself when you are able to catch her at one of the upcoming events.

Donna Bennett

MCDA President 2019-2020

1 thought on “Interview with the President; Heather Kienast (Gen X)

  1. Nancy White

    Heather, you are amazingly talented! I hope you will be attending the MCDA Conference on March 13, I want to talk to you and learn more about your work life particularly your time with the Boy Scouts. I spent some years with the Girl Scouts and want to swap stories.

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