Interested in Membership?
Learn More arrow icon

Minnesota Career Development Association

MCDA 2011 Spring Newsletter

February 28th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Inside this issue:

  • The President’s Corner
  • New Coaching Resource
  • MCDA Winter Event
  • Building Social Capital
  • Member Spotlight
  • SIG Spotlight
  • Book Review
  • Welcome New Members


The President’s Corner by Carmen Croonquist


The days are finally getting longer and last week’s thaw got many of us into spring fever mode.  For me, spring is a time for rebirth, rejuvenation, and reconnection.  One of my annual highlights of spring is the Minnesota Careers Conference, scheduled for April 28th & 29th.  While I cherish the high caliber content and valuable programs at the conference, I consistently leave feeling energized and inspired by the career development professionals with whom I interact.  I have always been grateful to live in a region with a passionate, dynamic, well-informed, close-knit career development community. 

This year’s conference features an extraordinary line-up of speakers. William Arruda received rave reviews last year for his pre-conference workshop and keynote presentation on personal branding.  He will be back to offer a pre-conference certification program on On-Line Identity.  Cynthia Kivland, author of “Smarter2Smarter: A Coaching Guide for Smart People – The Seven Skills Every Smart Person Needs and Every Employer Wants,” will be collaborating with Nancy Branton, founder of the Workplace Coach Institute, to offer a pre-conference workshop on “The Resilient Workplace.”

I have long admired the work of Richard Leider, our keynote speaker.  Richard is someone, in my opinion, who literally “oozes wisdom.”  To commemorate the 25th anniversary of “The Power of Purpose,” every conference attendee will receive a signed copy of his book. I tracked down my well-worn copy of “The Power of Purpose,” circa 1985. Even after 25+ years, the major concepts remain relevant in 2011.  Leider believes that all human beings crave meaning and purpose; that we need to be aware of why we get up in the morning.  He contends that purpose begins with clarity about who we are, and the belief that we have the power to shape our own lives by focusing our actions on what deeply satisfies us to our core and maximizes our sense of self-worth. 

With this in mind, I would like to share a poem written by my friend Ann Strong from Denver, CO.  Like the work of Richard Leider, this poem captures the essence of getting in touch with our sense of purpose and passion.

Standing in the Center of Me

“I’ve been tempted to step to the right
when I suspected that’s what he wanted me to do.
I’ve talked longer than I wanted because
I thought she would like me more.
I waltzed way over to the left
before I caught myself trying to please.
I’ve bent over backwards
until I noticed how much it hurt.
I agreed to projects that didn’t inspire me
because I thought I needed the money.
And, then it occurred to me:
all these contortions cause a lot of confusion.
Left to the whim of what I think you want me to be,
or what I believe she wants me to say or
what I hope he wants me to do,
then I am lost.

So I consciously choose to step back into the center of me.
In any moment, I choose based on how it feels to me.
Do I feel alive?
On purpose?
Of service?
This is the center of me.

Do I feel less than?
Not enough?

This is me attempting someone else’s dance,
attempting to stand in the center of something other than me.

Yet, there is no something else.
I can either stand in the center of me,
or deprive the world of my Self.
So, I choose now
to stand in the center of me.”

My wish for each of you reading this is to have clarity about who you are and what you want – and the courage to live in accordance with your purpose.  I look forward to seeing you at the conference!

New Coaching Resource!  By Shelley Jensen-Decker

How many times have you been faced with a client who needs some practical advice and gentle coaching around a tough career issue in the workplace, but you don’t know how to help them without placing blame for their situation squarely on their shoulders? The issues they may be facing include interpersonal situations at work, specific behaviors affecting their career progress, or bias in the workplace, all tough issues to discuss candidly with anyone, particularly a potentially vulnerable client.

The book, What’s Stopping Me From Getting Ahead? What your Manager Won’t Tell You About What it Really Takes To Be Successful, by Robert Goldfarb is a must have for anyone who works with individuals on career development/career management, as well as for anyone who manages people. 

In his book, Goldfarb has created a resource that helps you to become a better and more direct coach, as well as help your client develop the proper self awareness to be coached.  It is a vital and valuable coaching “how-to” manual that offers specific step-by-step actions that will help you, as the career coach, guide your clients through these situations in a respectful manner.

Goldfarb draws from his 30 years of experience working with executives and their employees to create real world cases framed around the 12 most prevalent reasons people don’t succeed in their careers. These 12 reasons, which are outlined below, are divided into four categories: Behavior Your boss Will Not Tolerate, Emotions You Arouse in Others, Behavior that Keeps You Stuck, and Overcoming Bias Directed at You. 

  1. Lacks integrity, manipulates, claims credit for the work of others, or causes mistrust
  2. Overlooks what’s important, never wondering, “Is this what my boss wants?”
  3. Seeks personal credit and resents working with others toward a common goal
  4. Is arrogant and dismissive, provoking opposition from associates, even when he or she is right
  5. Refuses to yield on even the smallest point, placing ego above the organization
  6. Is rigidly analytical, having little patience for intuition or “gut feel”
  7. Discounts those of different gender, race or ethnicity
  8. Lacks passion for change, seeing fresh ideas as impractical
  9. Is uncomfortable managing former peers, seeking their friendship rather than their respect
  10. Doesn’t delegate, finding it easier to just do it than to hold others accountable
  11. Focuses on problems rather than solutions, always warning that the “sky is falling”
  12. Uses humor as a weapon, causing coworkers to wonder “If that’s supposed to be funny, why does it hurt?”

Each of the case studies illustrating the above issues includes three very important perspectives: What I See (the employee or client), What the Boss Sees, and My Diagnosis and Recommended Actions (by the author, Goldfarb, or by you, the Career Coach!).

These perspectives, in particular the recommended actions, can help you to provide specific and respectful advice to your clients, and/or frame questions around the core issues so that they can determine their own answers. For instance, in coaching someone who is technically superior at their job but overlooks what’s important to the boss, Goldfarb suggests that you advise the individual to “listen to not only what your boss says, but to what you sense your boss is not saying.”  In addition, he recommends you coach the individual to ask their boss “This is how I see the project – do you agree?” before launching into it.

These are but a few examples in a resource that abounds with concrete action steps and coaching questions that can help us to help all of our clients to be more successful in their careers.  I think you’ll find this book well worth your time!

The MCDA Winter Event by Irene Rossman

Nick Tasler was the keynote speaker at the MCDA Winter Event on February 22 at the Roseville Library. Nick is the author of “The Impulse Factor—An Innovative Approach to Decision Making”.  Nick’s compelling presentation included information on how and why we make decisions and how this knowledge can be applied to working with clients in their career decision making.  Nick has developed a Decision Pulse assessment that participants were able to complete and discuss during the session.  Nick defines Decision Pulse as “the one supreme guiding principle for all our decisions.”  Participants indentified their Decision Pulse as encompassing one of the following: Authority, Security, Humanity, Relationships, Achievement, Power, Stimulation, and Freedom.  In addition to excellent content, Nick’s powerful presenting style made for a fun, interactive and educational afternoon.

Building Social Capital by Lisa Cook

Spring will be here soon – a time for new beginnings.  Many folks are undergoing new beginnings nowadays – some by choice, others not.  As they say, “It’s not the hand you’re dealt – it’s how you play your cards.”   

Recently I met a middle-aged single professional who was laid off from her job in Cleveland, Ohio, where she had lived 25 years.  Within weeks, she landed a job in Wilmington, North Carolina and she and her two cats left their long-term home to start a new job and life in a different part of the country.   Apparently, the cats weren’t too happy about it.   I asked how the move had gone for her.  She has been in North Carolina a year now and it’s starting to feel like home – apparently, she doesn’t miss Cleveland winters at all!

This woman’s situation resonated with me.  Four years ago, I moved to the Twin Cities from the East Coast and found it challenging to build a social life here from scratch.  In case you meet with a client in career counseling in need of new social connections, whether from relocation, life changes, or job loss, here are some strategies you might find helpful. 

Volunteering is great not only for meeting folks but gaining new skills.  Local sites include: VolunteerMatch, Hands On Twin Cities, Single Volunteers of the Twin Cities and One Brick.  Meetups are a terrific source for offline social networking.  Toastmasters International attracts professionals interested in strengthening their public speaking skills.  Adult education classes at community centers and public schools are great – especially if they run long-term (I’ve met wonderful friends through my three years in the same Jazzercise class).  Joining a gym or a club, attending church or shopping at the same stores – venues where we see the same people over and over again – seem to work the best.  Another tip is to offer someone in need some help – shovel snow for an elderly neighbor, make a new neighbor brownies, give someone a ride to the airport or hospital, pick up groceries for someone who is housebound – these are efforts that forge stronger social ties.  

In his book Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam wrote about “social capital.”  Social capital is defined as how community-oriented folks are – gauged by volunteerism, voter turnout, how much time they spend visiting with friends or entertaining in their homes, and general feelings of trust people have towards each other.  The good news is that Minnesota came up third in his state social capital rankings back in 2000.  I have made it a personal goal to build social capital in both my personal and professional life.  The more people are inter-connected socially and philanthropically, the more society benefits as a whole. 

Thanks for all the work that you do with your clients.  Helping them connect with others and find gainful employment in these challenging times is a very important cornerstone of social capital!

Book Review – Whistle While You Work: Heeding Your Life’s Calling by Richard Leider and David Shapiro
Reviewed by Suzie Karsnia

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a Great Conversations event through the University of Minnesota’s Continuing Education and Conference Center where Richard Bolles and Richard Leider had a “great conversation”.  I could go on about this event, however, it is the book I purchased immediately following the conversation that I’d like to tell you about.  Whistle While You Work:  Heeding Your Life’s Calling is a book that is easy to read.  It talks about our “calling”.  Everyone is called to be something that uses our gifts, talents and fulfills our passion.  Everyone from a taxi cab driver to a CEO has a certain calling that can drive them and lead them to satisfying work.  We need to discover what that calling is. 

This book guides you to discover your own calling.  First, it includes real-life stories of people who have found their calling.  Secondly, the authors share their expertise to give you insight on how to find your calling and they direct you to reflect on their insight.  Thirdly, you are encouraged to start a Calling Journal.  Throughout the book the authors have you stop reading and answer some questions relating to what you just read.  They encourage you to apply your new knowledge by writing in your journal and discussing your answers with family and friends. 

I consider this book to be both a text book and work book.  Information isn’t spewed at you to absorb on your own.  It guides you and asks you to complete activities related to your reading.  It is for these reasons that I have used this book in my Career Planning courses.  I also see this book being helpful for anyone that works one-on-one with clients.  I have gotten positive feedback on this book from students.  Clients that feel stuck, dissatisfied or undecided on their career would especially benefit from reading this book.  Personally, I love my job; however this book has helped to remind me to be more thoughtful on what committees, groups, tasks and activities I choose to take on.  Are you answering your calling?

Save The Date !

The fabulous MCDA 2011 Minnesota Careers Conference and Professional Development Institutes will be held April 28th and 29th. Get your registration in soon by going to

SIG Highlight – All of them!

As MCDA members we are fortunate to have a wide variety of events and groups to attend to keep our professional knowledge sharp and to stay connected.  As we set development goals for the rest of 2011, some of you might be looking for new ways to gather the latest career information.  To help you in your search, here is a snapshot of the four Special Interest Groups (SIG’s):

Career Planning & Adult Development (CPAD)
Focus: To learn about current trends and issues, expand professional networks and share experiences.
Meeting location:  MN Teamsters Service Bureau in Minneapolis
Times:  7:30 to 9:00 am
Dates:  Usually the first Friday of the month
Contact:  Carmen Croonquist at

Northland SIG
Focus:  Networking and professional development for professionals in northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.
Meeting location:  Holiday Inn, Duluth
Times: 8:00 to 10:00 am
Dates: First Thursday of every other month
Contact:  Tracy Laughlin at 218-729-3454 or

Organizational Development SIG
Focus:  Topics related to providing career planning resources to employees in organizations.
Meeting location:  Dover Restaurant in Doubletree Hotel in St. Louis Park
Times:  8:00 to 9:30 am
Dates:  Third Friday of each month except December
Contacts:  Leslie Philmon at or Tom Bodin at

Second Half of Life SIG
Focus:  Topics related to the aging boomer generation and changing trends in their lives and work.
Meeting location:  Varies
Times:  Varies
Dates:  Special events are announced when scheduled
Contacts:  Kate Schaefers and Jean Tollefson at

Member Spotlight on Kim Bartels

Editor:  Kim, tell us a little about your background. 

Kim:  I am a first-generation college graduate and I grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa.  I did well in school, yet when it came time for college, I thought I had three career choices:  beautician, waitress, or college.   I was good in math and did not want to be a waitress or beautician, so I chose college.  After changing my college major from math to psychology, I went straight through until completing my doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology.  My dissertation was on first-generation college student adjustment – I was trying to figure out why I was going to school for so long, given my upbringing!

Editor:  What do you feel are your greatest accomplishments?

Kim:  Trying new occupations and not bending to pressure to do/be what others wish for me.  This includes leaving a tenure-track faculty position, trying out management consulting, and starting my own business.

Editor:  Kim, you’ve had a variety of occupations in your career.  Tell us what you are currently doing.

Kim:  For four years now I’ve been running my own business, Balancing Act for Moms, LLC.  I love doing career counseling with professional women who are also mothers.  Many of them initially think they have to work full-time and on-site, and I help them explore other work options such as flex time, contracts and telecommuting, all of which I have done in my past.  Unlike the relatively straightforward career counseling I performed almost twenty years ago, career counseling with today’s mothers is much more complex.  And this year, I want to add leadership coaching for women back into the mix.

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

Kim:  As an ENFP on the MBTI, with a Self-Directed Search Holland Code of SEA, I absolutely love helping people brainstorm and think outside of the box about what is possible for them, career-wise.  Sometimes, I worry that I am overwhelming them with possibilities! 

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

Kim: Over the years, I have come to appreciate more and more, the importance and the occasional difficulty of the following: Honest self-awareness; Courage to leave one’s comfort zone to actively chase our dreams; and Networking for personal and professional growth.

Editor:  What is the best career book you’ve read and why?

Kim:  During an MCDA Roundtable presentation in 2009, Irene Rossman and Kim Marrone introduced me to Herminia Ibarra’s book, Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career.  I find such value in Ibarra’s emphasis on our having many “possible selves” and on the importance of people in career transition taking action and then reflecting on what they’ve learned. My career education was overly focused on assessment and under-focused on action!

Editor:  Kim, thanks for taking time to share about yourself and for being one of our committed MCDA Board members!

Board Highlights by Carmen Croonquist

 Thanks to the work of our Professional Development Committee, we now have two graduate student liaisons serving on the Board.  This originated from our Fall Retreat when we discussed how to connect with graduate students and encourage them to join MCDA.  We believe this is a win/win endeavor: that our organization will benefit from fresh ideas from graduate students entering our profession, while the students will benefit from their experience on the Board.  Our new student liaisons attended the February Board meeting.  They are Christine Giefer from the U of M and Leslie Svacina from UW-LaCrosse.

 Other developments: the MCDA Board is exploring ways to partner with Shift and other organizations that share our vision. David Buck from Shift attended our January Board Meeting to begin the discussion.  Last but not least, our Technology Committee set up a Google docs site to establish a common place for documents that pertain to Board business, succession planning, and event planning.  I would like to thank each Board Member for their continued dedication and contributions to MCDA.

Welcome New Members

The following members joined MCDA December through February:

Caron Hassen, State of Minnesota-DEED

Beth Hobbs, Gillette Children’s

Heidi Gaulke, Rasmussen College

John Clark, Normandale Community College

David Peeples, Twin Cities RISE!

Julie Pritchard, Adler Graduate School

Amanda Obenauer, Corinthian College – Everest Institute

Ana Eliason, Everest Institute (Corinthian Colleges)

Melva Landrum, Everest Institute

Courtney Wilcox, Everest Institute (Corinthian Colleges)

Andria Harren, Saint Cloud State University

Allison Gredesky, The Emily Program

Mary Connolly, East Metro Women’s Council

Darla Samuelson             

Jennifer Helmeke, Walden University

Simone Sutherland           

Sharon Balke, Capella University

Peter Rippentrop. Saint Mary’s University

Leanne Halling, Goodwill/Easter Seals

Jeannie Stumne, CEHD Career Services – University of Minnesota

Christine Karel, Rasmussen College

Stephanie Shea, Riverland Comm College, Adler Graduate School

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.