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Minnesota Career Development Association

MCDA 2012 Winter Newsletter

February 7th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Inside this issue:

  • The President’s Corner
  • Type: Watch Your Language, Please!
  • Save the Dates
  • Member Spotlight
  • News from NCDA
  • Book Review
  • Interview Spotlight
  • MCDA Board Highlights
  • Welcome New Members

The President’s Corner by Janet Pribyl

Wow!  Here we are, well into the New Year and it’s looking even better than the last.  As I look over the past few months, I want to thank the MCDA Board for creating wonderful opportunities for all of us to learn and network with others in our profession.

The November Fall Event, “Winning Presence for Career Development” by Pete Machalek, co-founder of SagePresence, presented us with a story structure to look at ways career development professionals can build on the skills we already possess to inspire ourselves, and our clients, to take action. About 53 professionals participated and I came away with a new enthusiasm for what we all do as career professionals as we strive to inspire others to make changes and develop strategies to pursue happier lives.

The November National Career Development Month observations went extremely well! Darren Kaltved and Ben Hansen provided daily career development tips to all MCDA members throughout the month. The monthly Roundtable, held on November 15, was transformed into a party celebrating all career professionals. It was hugely successful with many new faces attending. Many of the approximately 40 people even stayed past the projected 7:30pm conclusion!

To end the year, on December 13, MCDA with Metro State University, Career Partners International Twin Cities, and Meaningful Connections, co-sponsored Jason Alba, career strategist and author of “I’m on LinkedIn – Now What?” addressing “Career Management 2.0 for Career Professionals.” We came away with new ways of looking at using technology and helping our clients organize and manage their job searches. I’d like to explore the possibility of more collaborative efforts like this one, for the New Year.

Looking forward to 2012, the MCDA Board continues to work tirelessly on events. The monthly Roundtables will continue with great topics, as usual. Because of the success of the National Career Development Month Celebration, we are considering a similar event for the spring. Stay tuned!

The Winter Event is scheduled for Thursday, March 1, with Nancy Branton, CEO and co-founder of Workplace Coach Institute and the President of People Potential Group, speaking on “A Coach-Approach to Career Assessments.”

Our keynote speaker for the Spring Conference, April 20, is Elizabeth H. Sanders Park, covering “The Top 6 Things Employers Want to Know,” based on her book “The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job.”

The two pre-conference Professional Development Institutes (PDIs), both full-day workshops, on Thursday, April 19, will cover timely topics, “No One is Unemployable” offered by our keynoter, Elizabeth H. Sanders Park, and “Building Meaningful Visibility Online for Career Development” offered by Anne Pryor, Kathleen Crandall, and Risë Kasmirski. Look them all up on LinkedIn!

A call for proposals for breakout sessions for the conference just went out and I encourage all of you to consider sharing some of your knowledge and enthusiasm. There is so much we know and do; it would be great to hear from you. Hope to see you at the Conference!



By Donna Bennett, M.A., LP and Jean Kummerow, Ph.D, LP

We have used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) instrument for a large part of our careers and have found it enormously helpful in our work.  Over time, we have also become increasingly concerned about the ways in which it is misused.  In this article we describe some of our concerns and our suggestions for moving forward.


We love what we do and are both grateful for our career paths.  Type data was a useful guide in making our choices, as was the guidance of mentors, experts, colleagues, advisors and counselors.  Donna was headed on the path of a business degree and a career with an international computer company.  Timely conversations with trusted advisors about her skills, passions and experience led her to the field of psychology and career transition/development.  She switched paths and has never looked back!

Jean wanted to be involved in a university career, perhaps as a professor or in administration.  However, no jobs were available when she graduated with her Ph.D., so she went into a consulting job conducting psychological assessments for companies recruiting new hires.  That led to learning more about psychological assessments, including the MBTI® instrument, and more about how people learn and decide about career paths.

If we, and our advisors, had depended on what might seem the “right” career paths for our types (that is the occupational fields the majority of people of our types enter), neither of us would be working in, nor had successful careers in the career development field.   Donna as an INTP would be working in computers, surveying, photography, research, or scientific and technical fields.  Jean as an ESTJ would be working in management, law enforcement, cleaning services, insurance or administration.

As a result of our own experience and of those we’ve counseled and advised over many years in the field, we believe it’s important to rely on many aspects of the individual and to separate the person from the type.  It’s important to remember that type is just one part of who someone is.  Relying on lists of careers for each type is far too limiting.


While the use of type is a powerful tool in career guidance, as counselors/advisors, how we think about type can be crucial to the overall process.  If we think in terms of black and white with no ‘grays’, and/or have negative experiences with certain types, it may influence how we talk about type.   For example, we often hear our own colleagues use stereotypical comments such as, “Thinking types are so stoic and impersonal.”  Or, “I hope you haven’t invested much in your educational path because there aren’t any of your type working in that field.”  Yes, we have heard both of these and many similar comments!  While the intention may be to inform, these comments unfortunately come across as labeling or judging.

As professionals, we know that our words have meaning and our clients rely on us to listen to them and to give them helpful feedback.   If we think in limiting ways about type or use stereotypic, labeling language with colleagues, this may spill over into our conversations with clients.  Without even realizing it, we may project opinions that we don’t intend.


What about you?  When you examine the way you use type, have you fallen into stereotypic comments like these?  When one is the receiver of a stereotype comment, often an emotional, defensive reaction occurs.  This may be because we hear this as ‘limiting’ language rather than ‘informing’ language.  We all preach the idea that all preferences are equally valuable, but do we always practice it?  In a sense, are we sometimes guilty of running the type framework amok?


So how do we move beyond the stereotype?

1) By listening to our own language and catching ourselves;

2) By asking colleagues to let us know when, rather than a helpful description of type, they might hear stereotyping.  Examples of stereotypic language include:
(F) “He’s a Feeling type and just doesn’t know his boundaries!”
(T)  “She’s just so critical but what do you expect from a Thinking type!”

3) By searching for a way to reframe our language to inform rather conclude.  Examples of reframing our language include:
(F) “He cares a lot about others and in the process, often forgets to take care of himself.”
(T) “As a Thinking type, it’s important for her to note when she sees what may be wrong with something in order to make it better.”

4) By identifying people in our lives whom we like and respect and who represent all 16 types and seeing how they do things; we may even find ourselves wanting to adapt some of what they do to our own situations.  This can also remind us that there’s more to a person than their type.


It’s helpful to remind ourselves that all types contribute to all jobs/careers, and also that there are no wrong types!  It’s all about what we make of ourselves, and how we help others learn about themselves.  Being alert and intentional in using language that honors all aspects of a person can add a professional edge to our valuable work.


Save the Dates!

We have two professional opportunities coming up that you’ll want to add to your calendar:

Winter Event – From 1:00 – 4:30 at Roseville Library on Thursday, March 1st
Click here for more information on the Winter Event.

Spring Careers Conference – Thursday and Friday, April 19th and 20th
Click here for more information on Spring Careers Conference.

Member Spotlight – Janet Pelto

Editor:  Janet, it seems like you’ve been in career counseling for many years.  How did you first get into it?

Janet:  My path to being a Career Counselor is a perfect example of what John Krumboltz calls ‘planned happenstance’, the idea that you need to follow what seems to fit what you’re looking for and be open to, and act on, unexpected opportunities.  To be honest, being a career counselor sounded like a dreadful career to me!  In graduate school, I even remember lamenting that it was too bad that I didn’t want to be a career counselor since so many people seemed to be unhappy in their work; I figured career counselors would always have a job.

Editor:  Well, something must have changed along the way.  What events led you into the field?

Janet:  Long story short:

  • A friend called to ask if I was interested in a part time, temporary job as an academic adviser; I applied, interviewed and was offered the job
  • I loved the job!  It had everything that was important to me in a work situation: supportive, fun-loving co-workers, a well managed office, work that included helping, an opportunity to do strategic thinking, and variety.
  • That fall, two full time, permanent positions in that office opened up – one for an Academic Adviser and the other for a Career Counselor who also did some academic advising.
  • I applied for both and was offered the career counseling position.  I accepted – I wanted to work in that office – and while I had done other types of counseling, I had never done career counseling.
  • In spite of my sentiments in graduate school, I accepted the career counseling position, and was desperately hoping I’d be able to tolerate the career counseling part of it.

Twenty-some years later, here I am….in a career that has energized me almost every day.

Editor:  Wow, you’re a living example of Ibarra’s “Working Identity”.  And, not only have you enjoyed your career counseling positions, but you’ve been very involved in MCDA through the years.  Please tell about some of the ways you’ve been active in MCDA.

Janet:  Being part of MCDA has been the highlight of my career.  I am grateful for the opportunities to contribute to the organization and for the wonderful friendships I have developed over the years.  As an introvert, I was intimidated about the prospects of getting involved, but I immediately felt at home in MCDA.  Over 20 years I’ve held positions such as President Elect / President / Past President, Trustee, Conference Co-chair and Conference Facilities Coordinator, just to name a few.

Editor:  And, your hard work and commitment to our field have been recognized with some pretty amazing awards.  You’ve received a “Triple Crown” of career development awards – the Jules Kerlan Outstanding Achievement Award, the Marty Dockman Award and the MCDA Merit Award!

Janet, thank you for over 20 years of dedication to and investment in our career development community.  Your efforts have made a difference in many ways.


News from NCDA by Paul Timmins

Believe it or not, it’s time to plan ahead for the summer! The NCDA Global Career Development Conference will take place on June 21-23 in Atlanta, GA. Set in the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., the conference theme is Building on the Dream.

The conference features keynote speakers, sessions, and PDIs like you’d expect. One feature of the conference that I have NOT seen too many other places are the tech labs, which offer hands-on learning opportunities for participants to be introduced to specific types of technology. This year’s sessions cover topics like HootSuite, Moodle, Drupal, and LinkedIn, among others.

Details about Registration, Hotel, and Agenda can be found on the NCDA website. For full details, see


Book Review: Good to Great by Jim Collins

Reviewed by Jennifer Rosand

Having a background in business, I tend to gravitate towards business-related topics. However, as a career development professional, I also find that themes from these business focused books are fitting for anyone – regardless of industry or organization – wanting to understand more about the field, the decision making processes which foster organizational change, and the business jargon used in the process. One of my favorite books of this genre is “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins. Written for wide appeal, this book outlines relevant topics in an easy-to-digest style.

 The subtitle of this book, “Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t”, is a great window into its content. The focus is not just on “good” companies and organizations, but “great” ones.  “Great” means a company that has sustained change over time and maintained a healthy profit. To a career development professional, the relevant and main points from this book include the topics of leadership, hiring practices, and employee motivation.

On the topic of leadership, Collins describes the characteristics that strong leaders of truly “great” companies have, including: self-efficacy, ambition, diligence, and the humility to not know all of the answers.  He stresses that great leaders will be egalitarian in nature and will “lead with questions, not answers”.

In career development, the topic of leadership cannot be underestimated. As career professionals working with individuals looking to advance their careers, understanding the ingredients of great leaders is paramount to our clients’ success, should they wish to move their careers in that direction. Even if our clients – or ourselves – do not end up as top management, those qualities can be adopted to help in daily work roles which will only lead to greater success in the workplace.

Another main topic that Collins discusses in his book is the concept of “getting the right people on the bus”. He strongly emphasizes rigorous hiring practices, discussing the importance of keeping the “right people”.  He writes of the importance of initially bringing on-board self-disciplined individuals and how they can be used to drive strategy for an organization.

For some of us in career development, these concepts might be difficult to swallow at first. We may want to believe that our clients are all of the right people in the first place! But we can use this information with our clients to reveal what top management might be looking for in their new hires and use that knowledge to our clients’ advantage.

Throughout the text, Collins discusses employee motivation, through the use of facts, vision, and passion. He discusses how employees who are a good fit for the organization tend to be intrinsically motivated and how business strategy and organizational culture play key roles in making a company “great.”

This book offers our clients an opportunity to develop their business sense, learn industry language in an easy-to-understand way, and begin to understand leadership decisions. Whether our clients are working on the front lines in hourly positions, vying for that top C-level position, or are just wanting to develop their existing careers, understanding what makes an organization “great” will be a valuable asset to their employers and, ultimately, their own careers.


Interview with Patricia Berg, Recipient of the MCDA 2011 Jules Kerlan Outstanding Achievement Award

By Irene Rossman

Patricia Berg was the 2011 recipient of the MCDA Jules Kerlan Award. During her impressive 25-year career, Pat has been a business owner, coach, and career counselor. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Career Partners International, a Career and Executive Coaching organization. Patricia is active in numerous professional and community endeavors and serves on the board of SHIFT as Board Chairman.

 Tell us about your background and what led you into the field of career development.

For a number of years I worked in Human Resources – as an administrator, recruiter, and ultimately as a Director of HR.  I found that much of the employee relations and coaching I was engaged in focused on careers – how to engage a workforce, how to provide career feedback, how to build skills, how to coach and mentor a staff, etc.  While on sabbatical with young children, my former employer was acquired and a major downsizing occurred.  They asked me to come in and work with the employees on developing their resumes and helping them prepare for the job search process.  That ultimately led me to the field of career development and shortly after I joined Personnel Decisions International as a Career Coach.

 What do you feel are your greatest accomplishments and why?

The first accomplishment is seeing clients succeed.  Navigating through a career transition can be challenging for all kinds of reasons.  When clients successfully land in a position that’s a good fit, it’s our reward as career coaches.  I love to hear clients tell their stories and listen to what was important to them in the process.   Secondly would be putting together a business model and strategy that recognizes the individuality of the process.  It isn’t a one size fits all business, and our clients regularly remind us that what we do and how we do it makes a difference to them. Finally, having the pleasure to work with an outstanding team, people who are committed to helping clients, and who share my values of individualization, innovation, and relationship based delivery.

 You are a business owner, career consultant/counselor, executive and entrepreneurial coach….so many roles in your career! What do you enjoy the most about your job/career?

Most of all I enjoy working with people on a 1×1 basis to help them figure out what’s next in their career and then create a strategic plan to help them reach their goal.  When you work with people during a period of transition, you often establish deep and on-going relationships.  These people call for years to get advice, touch base, and refer friends or colleagues.  It is these relationships that mean the most to me.

What advice would you give a young person starting out in our profession?

I would advise them to really understand their underpinnings.  My values have driven all of my career choices.  What do they believe in, what’s most important to them, how do they want to be perceived in the marketplace, and what kind of a reputation do they want to build.  Secondly, professional development is important for everyone.  Joining in and participating in MCDA and other professional development groups keep you learning.

 Final Comments:

I would like to extend my thanks to MCDA and the career community. It is an honor to be recognized with this award and I am deeply appreciative. When I reflect on the importance of the work we do, and how next to family, careers are a central part of people’s lives, the impact of the career profession cannot be emphasized enough.


MCDA Board Highlights               

  1. The Treasurer is working with the accountant to close the books for 2011.
  2. Event Updates included a summary of the Fall Event and discussions of the upcoming Roundtable, the Jason Alba event, the Winter Event and the Spring Conference.
  3. The Board discussed a few changes to the newsletter timing and distribution.


Welcome to New Members

The following members joined MCDA September through January:

Erik Berquist
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Aundrea Billings
McNally Smith College of Music

Ruth Brittain
Herzing University

Mary Cleary
St. Paul Public Schools & University of Minnesota

Jessica Dieltz
Metropolitan State University

Beth Glassman

Sherri Guerrero
Capella University

Stefanie Hofman
Adler Graduate School

Danielle Lindquist
American Medical Systems

Sarah Luedtke-Jones
Luther Seminary

John Meeker
Meeker Search and Encore Consulting

Charity  Morrow
Rasmussen College

Michele Moylan
Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Val Olson

Susan Ortner
Human Capital Independent Contractor

Karen Phang
Bayon Advoco LLC

Nicole Primozich
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Karre Skaare
University of Minnesota- Duluth

Susan Speetzen
Fairview Health Services

Pam Weller
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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