Interview with the President; Sarah Russ (Gen Z)

We are featuring over a period of 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 Z, Sarah Russ, recent graduate of North Central University.

Sarah graduated on May 1st, 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from North Central University in Minneapolis.  As she takes time to refresh and reflect over the summer months, she plans to continue to research and explore her future career options.

Career Path

After her graduation from high school, Sarah searched for the best area of study to prepare for a career that would satisfy her passion.  She decided on an Associate of Arts degree in Communications and Creative Writing with the idea that she would be helping people through the ideas, information, and stories she would write.  She discovered that, while she gained valuable knowledge in this course of study, it did not fulfill her passion to directly help people.  After receiving her Associate of Arts, she transferred to the University of Northwestern–St. Paul to major in teaching English to K-12.  She loved the idea of teaching English, but discovered that the reality of the day-to-day classroom experience was not a good fit.

Sarah took some time to reflect on her direction and her passion to work more directly with people.  She decided that to feel fulfilled in her work, a degree in Psychology would be a better fit, and transferred to North Central University (NCU) in Minneapolis. 

During her time at NCU, Sarah explored different areas of psychology to see how her passion could translate into a career. Through her Behavioral and Social Sciences program, she learned to understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ people do what they do.  She talked with friends, and sought opportunities within her college.  For one semester, she worked as an Academic Coach and Advisor for the Student Success Center.  She found her work with the students enjoyable and brought her closer to her goals.

To build on her experience, Sarah researched Personal Development internship opportunities, and was hired as an intern to work with Cindy Edwards, Career and Professional Development Coach and Trainer.  She interned for one semester, observing Cindy, and learning about career development practices.  Under Cindy’s supervision, Sarah coached 2 students in career exploration, assessing their interests, strengths and personality, to help them come to their own conclusions about their career direction.  Sarah said her internship with Cindy and her volunteer work as a Career Coach at the Basilica of St Mary, helped to fuel her interest in career development.  Yet, at this stage of her career exploration, she is not ready to finalize her decision.

Strengths

Sarah is seeking a career that will allow her to satisfy her passion to help people directly, and to apply her strengths in communication, relationship building, a strong memory for details, ability to see the big picture and helping people actualize their goals, guiding them to develop and grow.  As an attached observer, she describes her coaching style as personalized, customized and meeting people ‘where they’re at’.

Sarah’s studies and interest in the fields of Mental Health Counseling, Education, and Communication present a combination that she wants to continue to explore.  As she reflects and researches during the summer months, she may decide on the option to continue her education; she hopes to have found a direction by this fall.

5 generations in the workplace

Sarah has primarily worked with Generation X and Z.  She recognizes the differences and also sees that they overlap and can learn from each other.  She describes Gen Zs as valuing creativity, originality and an openness to think outside the box, and Gen Xers as leaning towards security and faithfulness, with single-minded dedication.  In Sarah’s experience, the values of the two generations overlap in their loyalty to their respective callings and their chosen cause.

MCDA Membership

Sarah became a student member of MCDA in the Fall of 2019.  As a member, she has enjoyed the benefits of forging new relationships and building connections. 

She has been impressed with how MCDA markets events and feels it’s a good approach in sustaining membership, and attracting new members to MCDA.

As Sarah has benefitted from her membership, MCDA has also benefitted from her contributions to our organization.

We support Sarah in her career exploration, and know that whatever direction she takes, those who employ her and those who seek her guidance will be rewarded.

Donna Bennett

MCDA President 2019-2020

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