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Minnesota Career Development Association

MCDA 2010 Spring Newsletter

February 25th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Inside this issue:

  • The President’s Corner
  • Linking Up at the Winter Event
  • Back to Basics
  • Book Review – A Whole New Mind
  • Member Spotlight
  • MCDA Award Nominations
  • Welcome New MCDA Members
  • Board Highlights
  • MCDA Board Member Elections
  • SIG Highlights

The President’s Corner by Irene RossmanIrene Rossman

It isn’t officially spring yet, but with the bulk of winter finally over, our thoughts turn to spring, rebirth, warmer weather, trees budding, and plants emerging. Spring is a hopeful time, a time to look forward to growth and renewal.

For our MCDA organization, our spring conference is an exciting event to plan, anticipate, and look forward to. The conference committee chaired by Mike Haugen has worked tirelessly to make the 2010 conference a smashing success. The conference represents the culmination of another successful year for MCDA and for the talented career professionals who make up our membership. Personally, I am so excited to hear William Arruda speak about personal branding. It is a topic I continue to learn about and integrate into my work with clients.

At first glance the concept of branding might appear to be a trendy or catchy phrase that doesn’t apply to “real” people. We are exposed routinely to the brands of celebrities and personalities such as Oprah, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Tiger Woods (oh, how a brand can change in an instant!). The list goes on and on.

But when the concept is closely examined by experts such as William Arruda, we realize that branding can be an effective and useful tool in our work as career counselors. What makes us unique? What differentiates us? It is important to ask these questions of ourselves as well as our clients. Each one of us possesses authentic talents and gifts that are expressed in our work and careers. I love the branding process because it goes to the heart of these special talents, gifts, and passions and how we bring those to the world. It is easy to underestimate our strengths and focus on our weaknesses. The branding process forces us to examine who we are, what we really love to do, what we can contribute, and how those contributions can benefit a potential employer or organization.

Focusing on branding can also be enormously helpful when preparing clients for interviews. Questions to ask clients might be: What are your strengths and greatest talents and how might these attributes positively impact a potential employer? What are the most valuable personal qualities you offer prospective employers? What is your passion at work? What jazzes you and makes you excited to go to work every day? What accomplishments made you most proud and added the most benefit to the company or organization?

In addition to the keynote presentation and breakout sessions on Friday, April, 23, two terrific professional development institutes are being held on Thursday, April 22: William Arruda is presenting a personal development institute that allows attendees to become certified in the 360 Degree Reach Branding Assessment, and Carmen Croonquist and Patty Bales are concurrently leading a presentation on Dependable Strengths.

 The MCDA Board is delighted to offer these wonderful opportunities to our membership and looks forward to seeing all of you on April 22 and 23 at the 2010 Minnesota Careers Conference

Irene Rossman is MCDA President for 2009-2010. Her contact information is or 952-915-7605.

Linking Up at the Winter Event by Paul Timmins

Winter EventAt the MCDA Winter Event, “LinkedIn Strategies for Career Professionals,” Anne Pryor promised to help participants deepen their understanding of LinkedIn as a tool for assisting career counseling clients. She said that she could take us from 2nd grade to Ph.D. in 3 hours. I don’t know that I was exactly at 2nd grade level before the session, but I wasn’t much higher. Let’s call it 3rd grade. But I definitely know the site much better now!

Anne, an MCDA member who works at Career Partners International, actively uses LinkedIn as a tool to assist her clients who are developing their networks and seeking employment opportunities. During the event on February 11, she spent three hours teaching over 50 MCDA members about the site.

She explained that a LinkedIn profile isn’t simply an online resume; rather, it is an aspirational tool to help clients describe and achieve their future goals. She spent much of her time on the website itself, walking us through the various menus and showing features of the site. She encourages people learning the site to spend time clicking around to familiarize themselves with all its features, and noted that the “Groups,” “Jobs,” and “More” menus are particularly important places to look.

Users need to pay particular attention to their own profiles, which should be 100% completed. She noted that profiles that are 100% completed are 40 times more likely to be found by employers searching the site. In order to have a completed profile, users need to include a summary, specialty information, and at least 3 recommendations — though Anne encourages her clients to have 9-12 recommendations.

Users of LinkedIn can also find information on jobs and on the companies offering them by using tools like the “Company Buzz” function or the “Companies” search field. These tools can help users learn more about the latest news at organizations that are currently hiring.

Finally, Anne recommends that LinkedIn users join at least 4 groups as a means of connecting with others who have something in common with you. (As an aside, I should note that MCDA has a group for its members – just type “MCDA” into LinkedIn’s “Groups” search field.)

All career counselors know the importance of networking for job seekers. Clearly, LinkedIn represents an important tool for anyone hoping to develop their professional connections.

Back to Basics by Kate Schaefers

Robert Fulghum distilled life’s wisdom into simple but profound principles in his bestselling book “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.” Fulghum contends that if we merely remember basic rules we learned as children, like sharing, playing fair, and cleaning up our own messes, the world would be a better place.

I am reminded of these simple truths as we endure one of the worst job climates since the Great Depression. Our clients are desperate for advice about how they can find jobs and avoid lengthy stints of unemployment. They hope their career counselors have “ten easy steps” or inside secrets that will provide a prescription for reemployment.

I’m certainly not knocking a solid process for getting reemployed. However, as I witnessed my husband Scott’s 18 month journey through transition, I realized that his eventual success had more to do with how he treated people, his ability to differentiate himself, and his own attitude, and less to do with polishing his resume. I may have the credential as the career development “expert” in our house, but Scott showed me a thing or two about what is really important in a job search. In the spirit of Fulghum’s simple guidelines, I’d like to offer my own summary of the important principles that surfaced for us.

Be genuine.  Sometimes job seekers get so focused on being the “right” candidate for a job that they lose their own identity in the process. Hiring managers often see through a false persona, and credibility can take a hit if a person isn’t seen (or felt) as honest. One of Scott’s networking contacts commented how refreshing it was to meet someone who was the “real deal.” This person ended up being a tremendous advocate for Scott in paving the way to additional contacts. Perfect, scripted answers to interview questions won’t take the place of being authentic.

Be considerate. Networking remains the most effective strategy for getting reemployed. Networking is a two way street, and it’s about building relationships. When job seekers focus too much on their sales pitch and don’t attend to the person with whom they are networking, it can come across as self-serving and shallow. Be respectful of time, listen, say thank you, keep in touch, and return the favor. Scott’s willingness to “pay it forward” helped him develop lasting relationships with people in his network.

Differentiate by being proactive.  We recommend clients do company research before an interview. Scott took this a step further and actually talked with people in the field, including customers of the business. During his interview, Scott was able to provide insight into the key buying criteria of a particular client that the company was trying to woo. Needless to say, he demonstrated important skills that the company needed, and showed a customer centric attitude.

Keep a positive attitude. I truly believed in Scott’s abilities and knew he would land, but it was difficult to be patient. We both had to trust that something wonderful would come his way. Scott focused on his strengths, knew what he wanted, and trusted that each networking contact, and each application, was one step closer to that goal.

Use your imagination. As Scott listened in networking meetings, he sometimes noticed areas where he could contribute. By freely lending his expertise, forwarding articles and links, even making connections for the person, he demonstrated his genuine interest. At times, he parlayed a networking connection into a paid consulting project. Not only did he help his new clients, he expanded his practical experience into new industries.

Communicate often. Today’s high tech job search is a mixed blessing. We have a plethora of information available at our fingertips, but the magnitude can be overwhelming. Despite the challenges, it is vitally important to maintain ongoing contact with people. Letting people know how a lead panned out, offering regular updates, staying in touch, all are important to maintaining a relationship and staying top of mind. It’s amazing how many job seekers have a “one and done” approach to networking, thereby making it easy for contacts to forget them down the road when they may actually have a job lead.

Scott now has a great job, and we are deeply grateful. The road was long, the path winding, yet the journey was one of growth and hope. We appreciated the fact that many “sherpas” helped out along the way, some by carrying heavy loads, some light, all contributing along the way.  And we learned that in the end, it is the simple but profound things Scott did that made all the difference.

Kate Schaefers, Ph.D., LP is a past president of MCDA. She is owner of Encore Life Planning, a consulting and coaching firm focusing on transitions in the second half of life.

Member Spotlight

With this issue we are reinstating the Member Spotlight so we can get to know our members and learn about what they are doing professionally. In this issue we interview Nancy Fraasch, a long-time MCDA member and past President.

Editor: Nancy, tell us about your professional background.

NF: I started out as a Special Education teacher and then after getting disillusioned with the teaching field during the strikes in the early 1980’s, I went back to get my MBA degree. I wanted to get into more of the business aspect with an adult population.

Ed: What led you into the career counseling field?
NF: After getting my MBA degree I did quite a bit of exploring to find my niche. I knew I still enjoyed the teaching / training arena but wanted more of the business slant with adults. I worked for a higher education institution in Kentucky conducting seminars on job search related topics and found it was very energizing for me. I spoke to groups of high school seniors who had no idea what they were going to do after high school. These students were living in the mining area where the unemployment rate was very high and this was before the Internet so it was difficult for them to imagine what they could do beyond their small town. My hope was that they could find ways to utilize their skills and that I energized them to do more with their life than unemployment and welfare.

Ed: And what are you doing now?
NF: Currently I wear several hats. I am a Career Transition Coach at OI Partners, an international career transition firm where I’ve been for the last 19 years. I also teach a class called “Career Development for Biologists” for the College of Biological Sciences at the U of MN, and I coach individuals in the job search process as “Nancy Fraasch Consulting”.

Ed: Tell us about one of your favorite success stories in helping a client.
NF: I have many great success stories but one stands out for me. I worked with a HR executive from a large local corporation. After being laid off he told me how he hated his job and said he had been getting bitter in the last few years. I took him through some formal and informal assessments and afterwards his comment was, “This explains so much, my job does not fit me!” He had a wonderful “aha” moment. He became a real estate agent and loves it, and he said I gave him permission to do what he really wanted to do.

Ed: Nancy, do you have a favorite strategy that you like to share with your clients?
NF: I have many clients who just want to conduct their job search in front of the computer surfing the sites and not getting out of their “comfort zone.” These are the clients that I say are stuck because they are not willing to do what they need to do to secure a new position. I tell them that about 80 – 85% of jobs are found by networking (depending on their field) so then 80 –85% of their job search time should be spent networking and connecting with people.

Ed: Are there any good career books that you’ve read that you’d like to share with us?
NF: One book that is impacting me right now is “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink. He really got me thinking about where the world is going and the ideas behind it. He opened up a whole new thought process for me. See Lynne Schumann’s Book Review in this newsletter for more info.

Ed: You’ve been very involved in MCDA in the past. Tell us what you see as the benefits.
NF: MCDA is a great organization! I have been a member for many years and finally got more involved in 2003 on the conference planning committee when we had Richard Bolles as our keynote speaker. Since then I‘ve been conference co-chair, board member, board president, newsletter editor, mentor program and even archive document storage (any takers on that one?). Once I got involved I was hooked. I hear so many other members refer to MCDA as, “these are my people” and I couldn’t agree more!  I encourage you all to get involved to get the full benefit of MCDA and its wonderful members. MCDA’ers are the best networkers!

Editor: Nancy, on behalf of the MCDA organization we want to thank you for your many contributions throughout the years, and specifically for serving as the editor of the newsletter until recently. Your efforts are much appreciated!

Book Review by Lynne Schuman– A Whole New Mind

Daniel Pink, in A Whole New Mind, argues that it is the stories in our lives that provide context and richness, and it isA Whole New Mind the stories that we remember. Indeed, Pink believes that the logical, straight-line, rational thinking that has increasingly dominated Western society over the last decades must share power in the future with minds that are much more creative and contextual. For genuine success, the right brain and the left brain must be integrated into a whole new mind.

Pink believes that there is a profound shift now under way in much of the world: “We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear, computer like capabilities of the Information Age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities of … the Conceptual Age.”

The Conceptual Age will require the marriage of analysis and creativity, high-tech and high-touch. Pink captures this in what he calls the new Six Senses:

Design: The human impulse is “to shape and make our environment in ways without precedent in nature, to serve our needs and give meaning to our lives.” Pink quotes Paola Antonelli of the Museum of Modern Art as saying, “Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty to produce something that the world didn’t know it was missing.”

Story: “Narrative imagining – story – is the fundamental instrument of thought.” (Cognitive scientist, Mark Turner) Human knowledge is often organized in story form; Pink argues that our brains have an internal story grammar that helps us understand the world. Knowing how to use that effectively in communications is crucial to success in everything from marketing to politics to our day-to-day work and family interactions. Messages that lack that rich context are less effective, as doctors are discovering as they develop use of stories in their work with patients, both to make diagnoses and to help patients come to terms with difficult outcomes.

Symphony: The capacity to create a picture of the whole from disparate parts. “It is the capacity to synthesize rather than analyze; to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields; to detect broad patterns…; and to invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to pair.”

Empathy: The ability to put yourself in another’s position and imagine what that person is feeling. This is a key ability for successful leadership and organizational management, and essential for understanding emotions. Empathy is fundamental to the other five senses that Pink describes.

Play: Pink argues that people are rarely successful at anything unless they have fun doing it. Therefore, work places that manage to mingle play with work have a huge advantage in the Conceptual Age. The use of games in everything from military training to medical biofeedback treatments to all forms of entertainment technology requires integration of left and right brain thinking. Humor and joyfulness are essential elements of creativity and will be crucial to successful organizations in the 21st century.

Meaning: The final element in the six senses is a sense of purpose in life. In an affluent society, the search for meaning in our lives becomes central. Pink describes the collaboration of scientists and spiritual leaders in trying to integrate facts and meaning, and the growing trend in corporations to create workplaces that offer meaning as well as money.

A Whole New Mind is entertaining and thought-provoking. My colleague and I have used Pink’s ideas in preparing students for the job market (teaching them to tell career stories well) and in thinking about the future markets our students will enter and the skills they need to develop and describe. You may find this book useful as you think about your own future and how your work and your organization may need to change to be successful in Pink’s Conceptual Age.

Lynne Schuman is Director of Career Services & Alumni Relations at the Humphrey Institute and can be reached at

MCDA Award Nominations by Robin Stubblefield

Influential, bridge builder, committed to career development, researcher, making a difference. Take a minute to think about these descriptors. They probably remind you of your friends and colleagues in MCDA. It is now time to recognize those folks for the wonderful work they are doing and the dedication they have shown to the field of career development.

Prior to the Keynote address at the Minnesota Careers Conference, MCDA will recognize outstanding contributors to the field and to the association by awarding the four Awards described below. Please consider taking a moment to nominate an MCDA member or team of members who you feel is deserving of an award that reflects a significant contribution or high level of dedication in some way to the lives of clients, to MCDA, or to teaching and/or research within the field of career development.

The submission deadline is March 5, 2010 so there is still plenty of time to submit nominations! A description of each award is listed below. Please visit to get full details on how to complete the nomination process.

Jules Kerlan Outstanding Achievement Award
This award recognizes an individual’s lifetime achievement (15 years or more) in the field of career development. Ideal candidates possess the following criteria: committed to human development and career development throughout their career*; statewide or national recognition of activities*; influential across any or all branches of career development*; and a bridge builder across different professional organizations and/or among professional colleagues.
* Nominee must meet these criteria

Research Award
This award honors individuals who have conducted applied research that impacts career development. When submitting nominations, please include the title of the project, the target population and setting (include funding source, if applicable), a brief description of the research, the significance of the research for the field of career development, and evidence of impact. Research must be of publishable quality, but not necessarily in a refereed journal.

Marty Dockman Merit Award
This award honors individuals (or teams of individuals) who have made a difference in the lives of clients or served MCDA, the organization. It may be a one-time achievement or an achievement over time.

Sunny Hansen Graduate Student Award
Attention, educators! MCDA will again be recognizing outstanding graduate students for excellence in projects, service, teaching, and/or research that shows a demonstrable dedication to career development as a current or future career. The selected recipient(s) will receive a cash award, a plaque, and membership to MCDA for one year.

Welcome New MCDA Members

The following people joined MCDA from December 2009 – Janaury 2010:

Susan Allen, St. Jude Medical

Tamara Tasche, Career Partners International

Misha Jameson, Metropolitan State University

Pam Holden-Webber, Anoka County

Helene Woods, Dakota County

Susan Way, Walden University

Nita Schroeder, Normandale Community College

Leanne Halling, Goodwill/Easter Seals

Leslie Svacina, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Lori Kraus, University of St. Thomas

Jeannie Stumne, University of Minnesota, CEHD Career Services

Paula Frakes, RidgePointe Senior Apartments


Board Highlights by Bridget Kenadjian

Highlights from the MCDA Board of Trustees Meetings:

  1. The Membership Committee will be sending out a survey in February to both active and former members and trying to determine why people are members, why they stopped being members and what MCDA could do better. Please fill it out! Your feedback is important.
  2. The Finance Committee is looking at Financial Procedures to be sure we are up to date.
  3. The Sponsorship Committee invites new members and is also making calls to potential sponsors.
  4. The Winter Event on February 11th went well with LinkedIn Expert Anne Pryor teaching members about effective ways to coach clients with regard to this professional networking tool.
  5. William Arruda, our Annual Spring Conference keynote, will be giving us a full day of teaching with a PDI on personal branding.
  6. Current MCDA membership is 280 members. 

Where’s the Calendar?

In past issues of the newsletter we’ve included all the SIG and organizational events with dates, locations and times. With the new online format, you will find this information on the Events page of the MCDA website. There are a lot of exciting opportunities coming up so be sure to check it out!

MCDA Board Member Elections

This summer the MCDA membership will elect 5 new members to our Board of Trustees, a new Secretary, and a new President-Elect. We invite YOU to get involved!

Serving on the Board offers opportunities to:

  • Build relationships with career development professionals from a variety of settings and expand your network of contacts in the field
  • Develop new skills in leadership, project management, speaking, writing, editing, program planning, web design, etc.
  • Make a contribution to the profession of career development and the community

Expectations of a member of the MCDA Board of Trustees are:

  • Serve for a three-year term
  • Assist in planning and implementing annual goals and strategy
  • Provide ideas, input and information to the group process
  • Attend monthly 2-hour board meetings
  • Participate in working groups, serve as committee chairs and take on projects

 If you are interested in learning more about opportunities on the MCDA Board, contact Paul Timmins at 612-624-9812 or at

SIG Spotlight – Northland Career Development Professionals Association by Janet Pribyl

NCDPA is a professional organization that serves career development professionals from Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. The group is intended to provide northland career professionals with a local organization that offers the opportunity to network and grow professionally. Members come from diverse positions including career counselors, job developers, life coaches, vocational rehab specialists, and guidance counselors. A wide variety of organizations are also represented from schools to government to non-profits to private agencies and membership is $15.00 for the year, which runs from September to May.

Meetings are held in Sept, Nov, Jan, Mar, and May, at the Holiday Inn, Duluth, from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. The cost for each meeting is $10.00 for members and $15 for non-members, and includes hot or continental breakfast and a program.

Remaining meetings this year are March 4th and May 6th. Our topic for March is “Workforce Readiness Credentials and Certifications,” featuring Kristin Morris, with Workforce Education at the Hubbs Center, which is part of the St. Paul Public Schools. The program will cover a current trend in pre-employment readiness which includes various “stackable” credentials. The “credentials” serve as connections to skill levels necessary for a wide variety of occupations. Kristin will share her knowledge and future ideas for use of these credentials. The topic for the May meeting will be “Compassion Fatigue – How do we best help others when we need to take care of ourselves?” by Dr. Raymone Kral.

Janet Pribyl is the Assistant Director of Career Services at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and can be reached at

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