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Minnesota Career Development Association

MCDA Fall 2012 Newsletter

Inside this issue:

The President’s Corner
Movies and the World of Work
News from NCDA
An American View on the Nordic Career Network
Book Review
Member Spotlight
Save the Date
New M.A. Program
Message from the Editor
Welcome New Members


The President’s Corner by Shelley Jensen-Decker


Greetings MCDA members! It’s hard to believe that summer has come to an end and we are well into fall! Along with the change in the weather comes an exciting new year for MCDA. I am very honored to represent the membership as President, and am looking forward to working with you and hearing your thoughts, ideas and suggestions for improving an already great organization.

I am also looking forward to working with our fantastic Board of Directors, including our newest members Maureen Laufenberg, Sally Power and Gail Waller, as well as re-elected board members Darren Kaltved (President Elect), Shonda Allen and Cindy Hinderks!  Additionally, I want to thank and express my gratitude to our outgoing board members for their years of service and outstanding contributions to MCDA: Marie Carter Brooks, Carmen Croonquist, Mary Dwyer, and Mike Haugen. Finally, I want to say thank you to last year’s President, Janet Pribyl, for her vision, leadership and sense of fun. I am glad that we will get to work together again this year as Janet begins her role as Past President!

As many of you know, MCDA is the state chapter of a larger organization, the National Career Development Association (NCDA, In June, I had the opportunity to attend the NCDA Global Career Development Conference in Atlanta. What an amazing experience!  I met career professionals from all over the world as well as attended seminars on such topics as career dreams and appreciative inquiry, the cognitive approach to career decision-making, and the career story autobiography.

During the conference, I was reminded of how much the world continues changing with respect to the economy, the workplace, technology and education. This continuous change highlights how important our role is in working with clients in transition. Both MCDA and NCDA are great resources with a wealth of information to help us in our work. I encourage each of you to access both MCDA and NCDA as you seek information, education and professional development opportunities. Additionally, consider attending the NCDA Global Career Development Conference as we celebrate its 100th anniversary in Boston, the birthplace of career development, on July 8 -10.

As we enter our centennial year as a global organization, my goals for our local chapter are to:

  • Survey you, our members, to find out what you want and need programmatically from MCDA
  • Strengthen our relationships with our current partner organizations such as Shift, Minnesota Coaching Association (MCA), and American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), as well as build new partnerships
  • Increase and diversify our membership

To achieve these goals, the Board is busily planning and strategizing to make this the best year ever for MCDA! We are also in the midst of planning the 2012 – 2013 MCDA calendar, with a roundtable on October 16, and the MCDA Fall Event on November 16 with a social roundtable following. Watch for more details on these events!

Again, I welcome your input as we move into the 2012 – 2013 year. Please feel free to call or email me with your ideas and questions.

Shelley Jensen-Decker, MCDA President 2012-2013

Movies and the World of Work by Irene Rossman

One of my great passions in life is going to the movies. I don’t mind renting movies but I truly love seeing movies in movie theaters. This is a spiritual experience for me—the darkened theater, the hushed anticipation of the audience, the aroma of fresh popcorn, the glory of cinematography, watching great actors transcend their art into reality. I find it all thrilling. I read all of the movie reviews, and carefully evaluate movies based on the credibility of the reviewer. Academy Awards season is as important to me as any holiday and I give it my full attention. So with all of that said, you can understand my interest in W Magazine paying tribute to the movies in its spring publication. The article discusses how movies this year mirror the mood of the culture—and that we are living in a cautious, alienated, and uncertain time.

This article greatly intrigued me as I thought back on my favorite movies of the year: Moneyball, The Help, The Descendants, The Artist, Young Adult, Bridesmaids, and A Separation.  The article mentions that 2011 was not full of happy endings in movies.   The author describes the main character in Moneyball (wonderfully portrayed by Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the real-life manager of the Oakland Athletics) “as evoking the pain of men everywhere: the startling realization that, after a lifetime of believing otherwise, your best may no longer be good enough.” Rather than the typical happy Hollywood ending, the main character successfully initiates change but comes up short in the big win. He’s faced with choices regarding his values, not necessarily popular and accepted choices. The Academy Award winner for Best Picture this year went to The Artist, a throwback to the era of black and white cinema. Jean Dujardin, who also won the Best Actor award, played George Valentin, a silent movie star who is unwilling to adjust to talkies.  “Like individuals everywhere who feel replaced by the innovations of the modern world, he fights the system. He loses. George’s happy ending is not perfect. He makes certain adjustments that allow him to return to the spotlight. It might not be what he imagined, but it is the reality he has to accept.”

We are all faced with these dilemmas in our lives. Dealing with change, adjusting to innovation, living with uncertainty, the complexity of relationships, doing our best while maintaining our values.  The world of work is a microcosm of the larger culture. Where do I fit in? If I do my best, is it good enough?  Am I keeping up, and am I adapting quickly enough to change?  And, many times, things don’t work out the way we had hoped. But we plug on.

Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Despite uncertainty and disappointment, our imaginations allow us to persevere in finding a great job or career and never giving up on our dreams.

Going to the movies will continue to exhilarate me. It is my time to escape into magnificent story telling. Like other great art forms, movies convey the essence of our culture and the dilemmas of individuals. We can learn a great deal by reflecting and integrating some of these lessons into our own lives.

News from NCDA

by Paul Timmins, Midwest Region Trustee, National Career Development Association

Let’s find the first one!

I’ve talked with a few of you in the past about the NCDA Leadership Academy. Well, NOW is the time to apply for the next Leadership Academy class – applications are due on November 1.

NCDA has sponsored the program for the past 7 years, and unless I’m mistaken, NO ONE from MCDA has ever participated. So, please, PLEASE take note!!! This is a great program, and with the tremendous participation we have in MCDA, and given the high quality of the professionals who work here… there’s got to be some folks we can convince to apply this year!

So, below is a little more information about the Leadership Academy. As you read it, please think about whether you’d be interested yourself, or if there’s a colleague you should encourage to apply.

The Leadership Academy is an attempt to identify and nurture future NCDA and state leaders. Participants commit to attend two consecutive NCDA conferences – and receive a travel stipend to support their attendance. So, this year’s cohort of Leadership Academy participants will convene at the 2013 conference in Boston. There they will attend a series of leadership workshops and training sessions. They will learn about NCDA, and will meet with current NCDA leadership to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the association. They will also meet with past Leadership Academy participants.

After the conference, each of the Academy members will identify and complete a 12-month Action Learning Project. Done in conjunction with a mentor from NCDA’s leadership team, these projects address current challenges in NCDA or in the career development profession. A list of previous Action Learning Projects, and also some possible ideas for future projects, is on the NCDA website (keep reading…the URL is below!).

Finally, the Leadership Academy cohort will re-convene at the 2014 NCDA conference. All participants will deliver short presentations on their Action Learning Projects.

So, if you’ve skipped everything I just wrote and are more inclined to read bullet points, I’ll recap:

  • You’d receive funding to support your attendance at the next two conferences? Yep!
  • You’d get to network with NCDA leaders, and with talented career development professionals from around the country? Yep!
  • You’d work on a REAL project that can help advance NCDA’s work? Yep!
  • You’d develop professional skills that can support your own work here at home? Yep!

Seriously! What’s not to like? Oh, and you’d be the first MCDA person to participate, so you’d have an important opportunity to educate your peers from around the country about hotdish, about spending time up at the lake, and about how yes, the movie Fargo was set in Minnesota but Fargo is not in Minnesota.

The program is competitive, so there is an application process you’ll need to follow—Applications are due on November 1. For more details about the program, including a link to the application, information about past participants’ Action Learning Projects, and other information, see

Of course, I’d be happy to address any questions from potential applicants – my e-mail is .

Let’s get the word out to good MCDA candidates!


An American View on the Nordic Career Network
by Carmen Croonquist

I have always considered myself very fortunate to live in this area, where we have a dynamic, thriving career development community. Not only are connections strong, but career development professionals in our region have always demonstrated a willingness to share expertise and offer support to their colleagues.  Given our Scandinavian heritage in the Midwest, many of you may have wondered how career development organizations are structured in the Nordic countries. As a keynote speaker this past May for the Nordic Career Network Conference in Lund, Sweden, I had the rare privilege of gaining insight into this area.

Similar to MCDA, the Nordic Career Network was formed to help career professionals exchange career information. Founded in 1998, the organization is comprised of career professionals from Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Estonia. The organization has approximately 200 members. The annual conference, coordinated by a planning committee, rotates location among the participating countries each year.  Next year’s event will be held in Finland. The majority of career development professionals in the Nordic Career Network serve in educational settings. Entering the field of career development varies widely in the Nordic countries, with Iceland maintaining the most stringent standards. Career counselors in Iceland must have a master’s degree in counseling with a supervised internship. In Sweden, by contrast, a bachelor’s degree is the only requirement – and it does not need to be in a counseling-related field.

Same but different:  while attending the conference, I found the “hot topics” to be similar in nature to what we have offered at MCDA events.  Personal branding, bringing theory to practice, marketing career events/programs, preparing clients for the labor, using career portfolios, using social media to connect with clients and employers, reaching under-served populations, and having an “everyday toolbox” to be effective with different types of clients were all on last year’s program. My keynote was about the process of helping individuals manage career transitions. The conference is always held in English; however, smaller discussion groups are granted the latitude to communicate in their respective Nordic languages.

While there is some friendly competition between the represented countries (for instance, I was advised by the Swedes to speak very slowly during my presentation so that the Norwegians would understand me!), they all seemed to be unified by a general sense of what it means to be “Scandinavian.”  The essence of this is the overall concern for the health, well-being, and education of their residents. While taxes are high in most of the Nordic countries, post-secondary education and health care are free. The participants with whom I spoke were shocked to learn that the average American completing an undergraduate degree leaves college with a debt load of $27,000. One conference participant commented that this was because Americans seem more interested in making war than educating their people.  Regardless of that unfortunate perception, participants seemed to respect and demonstrate a genuine curiosity about how we provide career development services here in the states. I, in turn, came away with an admiration of their commitment to the field – and to supporting one another.


Book Review on WorkSmarts: Be a Winner on the Job
by Joan Runnheim Olson

The authors of this book, all coaches of the Five O’Clock Club, share their expertise and collective wisdom about what it takes to succeed. The book contains actual case studies that walk readers through challenging work experiences of Five O’Clock Club clients… and how they worked smarter to resolve them.

Twenty Five O’Clock Club coaches and three Five O’Clock Club executives teach readers how to:

Position yourself smartly to excel in today’s fast-paced organizations.

Handle conflict at work.

Make sure those above you know how good you are.

Be an effective leader.

Handle corporate politics.

Keep your job and do well in it

This book provides everything from practical tips to help readers start out on the right foot in a new job to determining if it’s time to move on.

As a Five O’Clock Club Coach, I was asked to contribute a chapter to this book. In my chapter, I help readers determine if it’s time for a change and to consider exploring whether a nontraditional career is a good fit. A nontraditional career is defined as one in which 75 percent or more of one gender dominates a particular field. For example, a nontraditional career for women includes architect, pilot, and engineer and for men they include nurse, paralegal, and teacher. Because male-dominated jobs typically pay 20 to 30 percent higher wages and often have better career advancement opportunities, it’s worth it for women to explore these options. Female-dominated careers such as dental hygienist and registered nurse are expected to increase 36% and 22% respectively through 2018, which deserves a closer look by men as a possible career option.

The Seven Stories Exercise is suggested as a tool readers can use to help decide if a nontraditional career is a good fit. This exercise helps readers explore 25 of their life accomplishments and narrow them down to their top seven. The next step is to write down everything that went into each accomplishment, list the skills and talents required and the types of people worked with. Then look for common themes which will help the reader determine if a nontraditional career is worth exploring further.  Chock full of practical tips and exercises, this book is an excellent resource for professionals who want to successfully manage their career and one career practitioners will want to recommend to their clients.


Member Spotlight — Shelley Jensen-Decker

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

Shelley:  I have an Undergraduate degree in Psychology and an MBA in Marketing and worked in advertising and marketing before transitioning into career development. I’ve worked in career development in all sectors: for profit (Lee Hecht Harrison), higher education (Carlson School of Management Graduate Business Career Center), not-for-profit (WomenVenture), and government. I’ve also had my own practice. Currently I work for Career Management Systems, a Dislocated Workers program, as well as run my own business.

Ed:  How would you describe your path into the Career Counseling field?

SJD:  After getting my MBA, I worked in the advertising and marketing field for almost 7 years. While I loved the work, I had some basic values that were not being met. Specifically, I valued being of service to others and helping them move forward in some aspect of their life. In addition, I observed how people made career decisions and managed their careers — not always in their best interests! Then I went through my own career transition process, and worked with a career coach.  Through that process of assessment, research and exploration, I decided that career development was the best fit.  To transition into this career, I took graduate courses, volunteered and obtained contract work to develop skills and a knowledge base in the field. I started in outplacement and then moved to WomenVenture, where I worked for 11 years.

Ed:  You’ve had quite a varied career!  What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?

SJD:   My overall accomplishment is the ability to see a need and develop a new, unique program to meet that need. For instance, at Lee Hecht Harrison, I created a job development program in the Minneapolis office. At WomenVenture , I developed new programs such as the Working Wisdom program for baby boomers. At Carlson I created the first career transition workshop that helped students with a process for determining their career path. I also developed the first networking event for international students while at Carlson, which connected students with International Alumni who worked in the Twin Cities.

Ed:   Shelley, tell us what you like the most about being a Career Counselor.

SJD:   I really enjoy coming up with and developing new ideas/topics/programs that will benefit clients. I love seeing the “ah ha” moments for clients when they realize something about themselves and their career path. Each client is so unique and I am honored to have the opportunity to help them move forward in their careers.

Ed:  You’ve had experience in a variety of environments.  Do you have a favorite strategy you like to share with your clients?

SJD:  This is something I did when I was first exploring the career development field, and it is also a huge strategy in Herminia Ibarra’s book “Working Identity” – Experiment and try it out first. If you think you might be interested in a specific field, try it out by taking on a project, doing an internship or volunteering. Then you can determine if you have the right skill set and if it is a field you would like to pursue. In addition, you will also expand your network by using this strategy.

Ed:  You’re just starting your year as the President of MCDA.  Is there anything you’d like to share with the members?

SJD:  The main thing I want our members to know about me is that I really want to hear about what they want and need from MCDA – their thoughts and suggestions. Also, I will be creating a survey for the members to share their feedback.

Editor:  Shelley, thanks for taking time to share your background and your MCDA goals with us.  We look forward to an exciting year within MCDA under your leadership!  Thank you for your service to our professional community.


Save the Date! 

Our fall event will be held on Friday, November 16th.  More details will be coming out soon.

New M.A. Program by Carmen Croonquist

The field of career development is a dynamic one. Individuals are changing jobs and careers more frequently than ever. Career practitioners need cutting-edge tools to assist their clients with the process of reinventing themselves. This spring, those seeking to enter the field of career development gained new options for specialized training to become a career counselor. Adler Graduate School in Richfield, MN, recently unveiled an M.A. in Adlerian Counseling and Psychotherapy with an emphasis in Career Development.

What’s unique about Adlerian Psychotherapy?

There are many components of Adlerian Psychotherapy, but the central beliefs are that individuals strive for safety, belonging, and significance. Adler professed that to adapt and cooperate with others, individuals must address three major “life tasks”: work, friendship and love. Attention is paid to birth order, early recollections, lifestyle, and social interest. Adler believed that individuals tend to develop mental illness when they do not have a sense of belonging or contribution to their respective communities. The occupation one chooses, therefore, is an integral part of his or her personal self.

What’s unique about the M.A. in Adlerian Counseling and Psychotherapy with an emphasis in Career Development? 

In addition to gaining a solid Adlerian counseling foundation, students who graduate from the program can combine their interest in career development with the ability to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC). Students pursue a 45-credit degree with a 9-credit option to add courses that enable eligibility for LPC. Students can further enhance their “toolbox” by adding a 12-credit option for a Certificate in Professional Life Coaching. The Professional Life Coaching program is certified by the International Coach Federation. There are four classes in the program that are specific to career development: Foundations in Career Development, Career Assessment, Exploration & Decision-Making, Employment Skills & Career Advancement, and Program Management, Implementation & Private Practice. The career development courses are taught by three MCDA members: Carmen Croonquist, Nancy Branton, and Vic Massaglia. Connecting theory to practice is a vital component of the program. Students are required to complete 200 internship hours specific to career development. Those pursuing LPC licensure need an additional 500 hours of clinical counseling internship experience.

For More Information: 
Contact Carmen Croonquist, Director of Career Development, at (612) 861-7554 or visit

Do You Have Something to Share?  By Kim Marrone

As Editor of our newsletter, I am amazed at the talent and knowledge in our professional community.  And yet, I’m sure many of you have never contributed an article to the newsletter.  Am I right???  Well, this is your chance!  We welcome articles from all members on a variety of topics which support the mission of our newsletter which is to promote the professional development of our members.  You don’t have to be a great writer; just have ideas to share.  If you’d like more information, please contact me at

Welcome to New Members

Kate Flick
thedatabank, inc.

Christine Gerber
Gerber Project Consulting

Rhonda Holmes

Teresa Kothbauer

Maureen Laufenberg
Self employed at MN Metro Counseling

Roxanne Lawton
Mental Health Advocacy Organization

Maria Peterson
Career Solutions, INC.

Nancy Sackett

Ann Strickler
Adler Graduate School

Kimaileen White
Whitestone Personal and Professional Marketing

Ann White
Hennepin County

Paul Zheng
University of Minnesota- Twin Cities


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