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Minnesota Career Development Association

MCDA 2010 Winter Newsletter

November 26th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Inside this issue:

  • The President’s Corner
  • MCDA Members Present at NCDA Conference
  • MCDA Fall Event
  • The Fred Mandell Experience
  • Member Spotlight
  • SIG Spotlight
  • Book Review
  • Welcome New Members

The President’s Corner by Carmen Croonquist

With the holiday season approaching, I’ve been reflecting on the art of gratitude – a concept that has been getting a bit of attention lately with the advent of the positive psychology movement. Those of you who have heard some of my presentations will recall that my approach to working with clients on career issues is to help them address and improve their “mindset” in addition to developing the “cutting edge tools” necessary for maximizing career fulfillment.

Gratitude is a powerful emotion, an attitude, and a state of being that has a miraculous impact on how we see and experience our world. According to Mike Robbins, author of “Focus on the Good Stuff: the Power of Appreciation,” a central truth of the Universe is that we attract more of what we focus on – so if we look for things we appreciate and are grateful for, we are far more likely to bring more of this “good stuff” in our lives. Gratitude is a choice. Every day and in every moment we have a choice to feel and be grateful, regardless of our circumstances. It’s almost impossible to feel grateful and victimized at the same time – a key step in helping clients reclaim their power. My advice to my clients is to go on a media sabbatical. Since most of what we see and hear in the media focuses on the negative – or what is “wrong” with the world – we often take on a skewed vision of the world.

Instead, I recommend ending your day with a gratitude journal. Take some time to reflect on your day and write down at least five things for which you are grateful. In my case, this often becomes a “rampage of appreciation” since I have so much for which to feel grateful – from my basic needs being met to the wonderful people in my life to having the privilege of being in a career that enables me to impact individuals in a positive way.

I would specifically like to express my gratitude to my colleagues in the Minnesota Career Development Association who volunteer their time to bringing great programming to our members. To Mary Dwyer, Shelley Jensen-Decker, and Irene Rossman – thank you for making our Fall Event such a success. To Dina Bergren and Liz Brenner — thank you for coordinating our monthly Roundtable meetings. To Mike Haugen — thank you for your willingness to take on the responsibility for coordinating the Minnesota Careers Conference once again. To everyone else that I have neglected to mention by name, thank you for all of your contributions to our field. I am truly blessed to live in a part of the world where there is such a dynamic and positive career development community.

MCDA Members Present at NCDA Conference by Irene Rossman

Minnesota is widely recognized as a leader in career counseling and career development and this is further demonstrated by presentations of our members at the 2010 National Career Development Association Conference last July in San Francisco. The theme of the conference was “A Bridge to a Brighter Future! Inspiring Careers—Empowering Lives!” and MCDA members Carmen Croonquist, Michael Stebleton, and Elizabeth Craig presented compelling topics at this global event.

Carmen Croonquist, MS, our current MCDA President, gave a presentation entitled “A Recipe for Happiness for the Helping Professional”. The session focused on assisting counselors who are dealing with burgeoning caseloads and clients who are coming to terms with fear, uncertainty, stress, and grief. Counselors who feel happier and lighter are more focused, connected, and effective with their clients and they have a positive impact on overall workplace morale. Over 125 participants were in attendance to learn strategies for relieving stress at work and construct their own “recipe” for maintaining positivity and wellness.

Elizabeth Craig, MBA, MCDP, presented on “Facilitating Across the Generations”. With multiple generations learning and working together, Elizabeth explored how career professionals can ensure meeting all of their learning needs. She introduced new perspectives on the contributions each generation may bring to teamwork and practical techniques that work across all generations. Participants discovered 11 strategies and practical techniques for facilitating that span time, preferences, and experience.

Elizabeth also presented on “Living and Working on Purpose”. She introduced interactive exercises that provided clarity around personal life purpose and direction utilizing the newest practical knowledge and takeaways and helped participants discover how to make positive life and work choices to live their version of the Good Life.

Michael Stebleton, PhD, and assistant professor in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota, presented on “Infusing Career Assessment into a First-Year Experience Course”. Mike’s program demonstrated how career professionals collaborated with faculty members to offer a strengths-based curriculum in a first-year experience at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Emphasis was on self-efficacy, self-exploration, and strength identification using StrengthsQuest. Highlights of the program and results of the study were shared.

MCDA is enormously proud of Carmen, Elizabeth and Michael and their contributions to our profession and career community. Their knowledge, dedication, and generosity help make Minnesota a leader in the career field.

The MCDA Fall Event by Kim Marrone

One of the advantages of an active and intelligent career development community is having access to great speakers and topics, and the recent Fall Event was no exception. This Fall Event was led by our own Dean DeGroot, MS, LP, on the subject of “Surviving the Jungle of Fear: Finding Your Way in Today’s Workplace”.

Dean began by pointing out the elements that are contributing to fear in the workplace, such as the struggling economy which leads to job losses, technology which leads to less personal interaction and constant corporate changes such as reorganizations and mergers. In addition, communication within organizations may be less personal or less frequent which can lead to lack of trust and a feeling of isolation on the part of employees.

There are three main steps that we can take to reduce fears. The first is to Establish Focus by assessing strengths and skills and learning to make good decisions. Secondly, Build Support by finding advisors, mentors or allies who can become your support team. Lastly, Create Optimism by surrounding yourself with positive people and messages. The attendees shared ideas for helping people get out of negative thinking such as the “What are you going to do about it?” question.

One of the key contributors to fear in the workplace is bullying, and Dean shared the statistics that 24% of companies surveyed reported that bullying existed in their organization in 2003 and that overall, 72% of bullying occurs from bosses. We learned common characteristics of the Target who is being bullied and to distinguish a Target mindset from that of someone feeling like a Victim.

As Career Counselors, how can we help those who are being bullied in the workplace? Depending on our particular position and training, there are many options. Encourage them to have or to find a strong support system. Discuss ways to build their confidence and to appropriately read body language. If necessary, help them to create an exit strategy and to analyze new job opportunities correctly. In a nutshell, help the person being bullied to find their dignity.   

The Fred Mandell Experience by Kate Southwick

It was a dark and stormy October night. The potted plants at the entrance of the hotel swayed in the 40 mph winds that howled through the parking lot. I badly wanted to go home after work, but this was the first joint event that MCA and MCDA had collaborated on and the topic had called to me — “Navigating Change at Midlife and Beyond: The Great Masters of Art Reveal the Secrets to a New Paradigm”.

As I took a seat I noticed that the table displayed an assortment of blank paper, baby wipes, charcoal sticks, and cute little alien head erasers. A recipe for creativity? As I pondered these ingredients, introductions were made by the emcee and Fred Mandell took the floor.

He started with … yes… a drawing activity. Upside-down drawing to be specific. Fred deliberately engaged participants in an activity to prepare our brains for the next two hours of creative work. His interactive workshop was built on the foundations of his new book, “Becoming a Life Change Artist; 7 Creative Skills to Reinvent Yourself at Any Stage of Life”. After hundreds of interviews with artists and experiencing his own life changes (Fred moved from university professor to business leader to author to sculptor and painter), his insights were:

  • Life Change is a creative process which mirrors the creative process of the great artists.
  • Life Change takes specific creative skills, which are learnable and applicable to our lives because they are life skills.

During the workshop, Fred shared the following information with us.


Eric Erikson suggests only two stages of development after forty: Adulthood and Old Age. In contrast, Gene Cohen offers a richer theory of adulthood which includes four stages:

  • Midlife Re-evaluation – Early 40s to late 50s               
  • Liberation – Mid 50s to early 70s
  • Summing Up – Late 60s into 80s
  • Encore – Late 70’s to End of Life


Fred explained the four phases of life change. Change begins with a creative dilemma: a tension arising out of our current situation and what we would like to be different. Next we start to explore, expanding ourselves, learning and gaining new experiences. Then in the discovery phase, we find what is meaningful, evaluating what is important to keep and what we can discard. In the fourth phase, we integrate what we have discovered with our past experiences and find ways to become more whole, more fulfilled.


So how do we navigate these life change cycles during our adult years? The great masters used creative skills that not only produced celebrated works of art, but can transfer to living a more fulfilling life as we mature. These seven creative skills are: Preparation, Seeing, Using Context, Embracing Uncertainty, Taking Risks, Discipline, and Collaboration.

I enjoyed talking with new people at my table and brainstorming innovative ways to help clients (and ourselves) to navigate change more creatively. I left the event invigorated with new ideas and insights. Although the weather hadn’t changed and the wind still howled, I knew these creative skills could help me embrace uncertainty and survive the storm.

For additional information, check out Fred’s Life Planning Network (, a national professional group for people working with clients in the second half of life.   

Member Spotlight on Barb Laporte

Editor: Barb, tell us about your path into the Career Counseling field.

Barb: My first career out of college was school-teacher. I taught first-grade for a couple of years. It was a private school, and when they decided to consolidate with another school, I decided it was time for me to try another type of job. I landed a position as a Customer Service Representative at Honeywell, which a few years later led to a training and development position there. The classes I taught included communication for engineers – challenging, to say the least. J One week I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on assessments, where I was introduced to the MBTI and the Strong Interest Inventory (it was called the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory then) and I realized this was far more energizing than teaching engineers the importance of listening! It took awhile and another job at Carlson Companies, but eventually I went to grad school and focused on career counseling. My first jobs after grad school were at outplacement firms like Drake, Beam, Morin and Lee, Hecht, Harrison. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to practice career counseling in outplacement, in government, and now in academia.

Editor: What do you feel are your greatest accomplishments and why?

Barb: Raising two children to be two awesome adults is far and away my greatest accomplishment. Anyone who is a parent will understand why! Professionally speaking, publishing my book “Goal Achievement through Treasure Mapping” was huge for me. It had always been a dream of mine to write a book, and when I experienced the power of using pictures and words to represent a goal and have it manifest, I knew that would be the subject of my book.  

Editor: Do you have any advice or tips to share with others in the field?

Barb: One of my professors in graduate school advised our class: “Never work harder than your clients!” That has been my mantra, because I think many of us in the counseling field want so much to help that we do that. That phrase has really helped me keep perspective.

Editor: What do you like the most about being a Career Counselor, Barb?

Barb: My favorite things are when a student (my clients are now all students) tells me that they have experienced success in the job search at some level, from feeling more confident because they have a really marketable resume to landing a position because of our mock interview practice sessions.  It is a great way to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

Editor: Tell us about a favorite strategy you like to share with your clients.

Barb: Treasure mapping is something I rarely discuss with students, and only selectively when I was in private practice, just because of its’ rather esoteric and somewhat spiritual flavor, but I truly believe that it can be an extremely powerful tool. It helps people recognize how they might be blocking their own success, appreciate what is going well, set their intentions while keeping an open mind, and stay positive when faced with disappointment. Ultimately, treasure mapping is a strategy that not just job seekers, but anyone with a goal, can use to help achieve their desires.

SIG Spotlight – Organizational / Career Development SIG by Tom Bodin

The Organizational / Career Development SIG is a collaborative effort of both the Minnesota Career Development Association (MCDA) and the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD-TCC ). Topical discussions and presentations are related to needs of Organizational Development and Career Planning practitioners / coaches and those interested in networking and learning more about the fields.  This group explores both Organizational and Individual growth through the lens of personal career responsibility, as well as the existing and emerging needs of employees within an organization.

Leslie Philmon   612-359-2007
Tom Bodin      952-525-1475

Third Friday of every month, except December
8:00 – 9:30 a.m. (Breakfast is optional)

DoubleTree Hotel (Dover Restaurant)
St. Louis Park, MN 55426

Free to all participants.
ASTD / MCDA membership is NOT required

2011 Calendar:
 To Be Posted Soon

Book Review – Me 2.0:Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success by Dan Schawbel
— Article by Nicolle Skalski

This all-inclusive personal branding guide incorporates everything you need to know to “Brand Yourself for Success” for your career and beyond in a constantly evolving Web 2.0 world.

The rise of technology and the internet has changed the way we work, the way employers seek out talent and professionals seek out jobs. As a result, a new kind of career professional has emerged. Career oriented professionals can no longer count on traditional methods of communication for managing their career and job search.

Dan Schawbel addresses the reasons why personal branding is so important in today’s volatile environment, and he walks you through a step-by-step process of practical tips answering your “why” and “how to” questions.

Although targeted toward the Millennium generation, I recommend that anyone interested in progressing in their career — whether an entrepreneur, a full-time employee, experienced professional or student — study this book and implement the easy-to-follow strategies.

The book follows a logical progression, and is divided into three sections:

  • The Rise of Personal Branding – This section provides the audience with the history and definition of personal branding, and the importance of taking control of building your brand today for your success tomorrow. The importance of networking and relationship building, both on and offline, is emphasized here as an essential piece in building and growing your brand.
  • How to Command Your Career in Four Steps – In this section, you will learn Dan’s proven 4-step process of discovering, creating, communicating and maintaining your personal brand.  He includes the essential ingredients of your personal branding toolkit, and outlines how to use Web 2.0, such as social networking sites, wikis and blogs to create a digital presence for your brand.
  • Using Your Command to Achieve Success– Here, the author presents the considerations and implications of becoming an entrepreneur, and how to use your unique brand identity and web 2.0 tools to become a successful business owner.

Additionally, two sections in Chapter 4 that particularly caught my interest as a Career Development professional are devoted to how personal branding in an increasingly competitive and digital world is changing the way recruiters seek out talent, employers brand themselves, job seekers look for work, and career development professionals advise their clients. The rise and evolution of the internet has changed the way we search for jobs and develop our Careers. Our new Career Search and Development “toolkit,” including LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, video resumes, and even virtual worlds, allows us to capitalize on our own networks. Finally, “Me 2.0” should be required reading for anyone who has a vested interest in the stake of their future career.

MCDA Board Highlights by Bridget Kenadjian

1)      The Spring Conference Planning Committee is in full swing and they have selected Richard Lieder to be our keynote speaker. The Committee and the Board are looking at last year’s conference evaluations for PDI Speaker suggestions. More to come . . .

2)      MCDA’s four committees — Professional Development, Technology, Sponsorship, and Membership/Marketing — are developing their goals and budgets for the year.

3)      The Board voted to purchase access to CareerWell, which offers tele-interviews as a form of Professional Development for MCDA members only. To participate, go to: and register for a session.  Even if you cannot attend the audio session, register at the beginning of each month, and you will receive the audio link. Recent topics and speakers include Putting the Public back in Public Policy – a Call to Action for Workforce and Career Development Professionals and Howard Figler, author of seven career books.

The Newsletter Needs You !

Have you read a good career development book recently? Do you have ideas and interests that others would like to hear about? Consider sharing your knowledge with the MCDA membership by writing an article for the quarterly newsletter. Articles can be short or longer and we welcome a wide variety of authors and topics. Please contact Kim Marrone at with questions or for more information. We’d like to hear from you!

Welcome to New Members

 The following members joined MCDA September through November:

Kathy Arola, Pine Technical College

Margaret Ball-Giles, Global Health Gateway

Thomas Bodin, OI Partners – Organizational Innovations, Inc.

Robert Callahan, Retired

Gayle Hackner, Self-employed

Ben Hansen, St. Cloud State University Career Services Center

Carolyn Healy, Self-employed

Maggie Kubak, Universoity of Minnesota

Cindy O’Donovan, Concordia University

Renae Pereira, Dakota County

Mary Redfield, Central MN Jobs & Training Services

Jill Sondergaard, Metro State University

Lisa Thomas, Career Management Services

Jean Tollefson, Authentic Renewal

Jennifer Tone, University of St. Thomas

Gail Waller, Dunwoody College of Technology

Kathy Ward, Quality Career Services


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