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Minnesota Career Development Association

MCDA Newsletter April/May 2017


President’s Corner

Wow – what a conference we just had!  I hope those of you who attended are still reaping the benefits.  I know I am.

My ‘ah-ha’ moments started at about 9:10 am when our keynote speaker said, “Know what you are” and “Know what you are not” and ‘Both are okay”. I was reminded of times in my corporate life when I felt pressured to be different than I am. I was not only reminded that I am okay, but more importantly, so are my clients who have their own unique strengths. I can encourage them and build their confidence.

Another concept the speaker shared was that we tend to think that Adding Value = Being Valued. Immediately I thought of my clients who are unemployed and have the tendency to lose their professional identity when they are not working. My renewed message will be that we all bring something valuable to this world and as a job seeker you just need to find the next place to make your contribution.

One of the questions the speaker asked us was “What difference have you made in others’ lives?” I consider myself fortunate to be in this field, partly because I’ve had other positions where I couldn’t make a meaningful difference in someone’s life. I have a note taped to my computer at work which says, “It is a privilege to help others find work” so I remember this every day.

That’s why I chose my theme for this MCDA year of “Strengthening Career Professionals to Serve Others.” We are in a helping profession and I believe we have a responsibility to keep our knowledge and skills current so we can continue to help others. I’m really proud that MCDA offers great opportunities to strengthen our career consulting toolboxes through informative events such as the annual conference. If this is important to you also, I hope you’ll consider contributing to the MCDA cause through serving on the Board or in other volunteer opportunities. We’d love to have you join us!

Warm regards,

Kim Marrone
President 2016-2017

Meet up with Minnesotans at NCDA!

You are invited to get together with your Minnesota peers Thursday, June 28, at 6:30 p.m. in Orlando. We will meet at Marriott’s Creative Pantry seating area before catching NCDA’s free shuttle to Disney Springs to dine together. We’ll choose a restaurant before the meeting; individual bills will be arranged with the wait staff.

Also, on Friday morning, June 29, you’re invited to meet at the Pantry from 7:00-7:45 a.m. – bring your breakfast and share your conference experiences. Minnesota events will be attended by incoming NCDA President (2017-18) Paul Timmins and incoming MCDA President (2017-18) Denise Felder.

Details might change as the date approaches.

Contact Denise at if you plan to attend.

Have fun in Orlando!

MCDA 2017 Minnesota Careers Conference Career Evolution: Increasing “Fit-agility”

DeAnna Murphy motivates MCDA by inspiring “Fit-agility” for clients

DeAnna Murphy, author, speaker, and master facilitator of transformational learning, kicked off the conference with a dynamic keynote address. She addressed the topic of Career Evolution: Increasing “Fit-Agilityand inspired participants with her message and interactive approach to helping clients find their career fit.

According to DeAnna, there are two components of Fit-Agility. The first is the ability to see and optimize untapped potential to “fit” oneself to new roles/work. The key to tapping into this potential with our clients is to not get so wrapped up in the WHAT of the job search that we forget about the WHY. The WHY is the power source and where we can have the most impact.

WHY questions of fit and purpose are human questions that everyone wrestles with – and they’re often accompanied by negative emotions like fear, anxiety, frustration, hopelessness, etc. For most of us, it’s easy to turn regrets about past experiences into fear-based deficit based stories that get in the way of our ability to optimize our present possibilities and future experiences.

The career coach can be very powerful when they intersect these emotions. They can help the client realize all of us wrestle with the question of where our puzzle piece fits into the seven-billion-person puzzle, especially when the entire puzzle keeps shifting and changing! We can help our clients understand their fit must keep evolving. And we can help them transform their fear-based deficit story into a story of value and potential – so they can find the diamond that’s always been present in their own backyard.

The second component of Fit-Agility is the ability to “fit” oneself to others with wisdom and ease, in win-win ways. DeAnna submitted that relationships are the container that holds the work we do, and that most people fail their jobs because of relationships, not tasks. We can help our clients build their capability to build complementary relationships to increase their success.

She showed us how a Task vs. Relational Orientation grid can be a tool to help achieve this. At our tables, we tried out the task-relational grid by discussing our personal orientation and how people of the opposite orientation have complemented our work. DeAnna also used the 34 strengths of the Gallup StrengthsFinder tool to illustrate how the only way any person can truly get a 360-degree view of any situation is through other people since we are all pre-programmed to “see” different things. 

It’s typical for each of us to judge others based on our own orientation. DeAnna reminded us to mindful of this when working with clients, to be sure we counsel others based on their needs versus our own. She also pointed out how this plays out in the interview process, and offered strategies for helping us prepare our clients to navigate it.

DeAnna closed by summarizing that the effect of attending to both aspects of Fit-Agility with clients can prepare these job seekers to “come to the interview not as a beggar, but as an impactor – for whom YOU (the future employer) happen to be first in the path!”

As a surprise at the end of her presentation, DeAnna introduced her special guest, Noelle Pikus-Pace. Noelle is an internationally renowned Olympic skeleton racer, and she recounted for us how she tapped into her own personal story of value and potential.

When she intentionally decided to stop focusing on where she was in the rankings (and being intimidated by those at the top) and to start focusing only on improving her techniques to achieve her personal best, her results leaped forward.

She surprised herself and others when she emerged from the back of the pack to overtake the competition and finished with her first Olympic medal, a Silver, in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi!

Professional Development Institute (PDI)

MOVING CLIENTS FROM ‘STUCK’ TO ‘ACTION’Two approaches for successful career transition
On Thursday, April 27, we had an outstanding PDI presentation from Jim Peacock of Peak-Careers Consulting. Jim focused on the themes of helping clients navigate their transitions and career advising using “intentional serendipity”.

Jim helped provide a clearer definition of what transitions can look like, and reminded us that often they look like barriers. He outlined a methodology to assist clients to navigate their transitions using 4 steps: Situation, Self, Support System and Strategies. Using lots of interaction and non-technology tools, Jim demonstrated how to get engagement from clients and help them develop customized action plans.

He also introduced the group to the concept of using “Intentional Serendipity”, or “Planned Happenstance”. This concept is based on the book Luck is no Accident, by Krumboltz and Levin. Jim encouraged the group to help their clients expand their view of themselves and the possibilities in their lives and careers. He outlined four goals to 1) recognize the power of unplanned events 2) increase curiosity and take action to increase opportunities 3) create chance events and 4) overcome blocks to action.

Jim can be reached at:  His website is:

Congratulations to our 2017 award recipients!

Julie Westland (center) received the Jules Kerlan Outstanding Achievement Award “In appreciation for [her] significant contributions in the field of career guidance, counseling and development.

Tom Daly (left) and Dean DeGroot (right) each received the Marty Dockman Merit Award “In recognition for exemplary service and dedication to career development and to MCDA.”


2017 Conference Planning Committee

A special thank you to our 2017 Careers Conference Planning Committee for creating such a memorable and informative event.





MCDA Strategic Planning Process

Jaime Gardner and Vic Massaglia
At this year’s MCDA Careers Conference, the strategic planning team introduced the 2017-2022 MCDA Strategic Plan to the membership. Based on membership feedback, this Strategic Plan includes a revisited, succinct mission statement, an articulation of MCDA’s core values, and three main goals for MCDA to implement over the next five years. What follows is a “behind-the-scenes” of the process of creating the plan.

Developing a strategic direction for MCDA in a collaborative and concise format was the ultimate goal during our creation of the plan. The core team formulating the plan included 2016 President Vic Massaglia, current President Kim Marrone, strategic planning consultant Jeff Allen, and project coordinator Jaime Gardner.

Image from the early planning stages, Vic introduced the framework of Appreciative Inquiry while Jeff presented a Community Action Model – upon which the team built the foundation of the strategic plan. Appreciative Inquiry, based on positive psychology practices, is the exploration of how the positive core and aspects of an organization can be expanded upon to create change.

The Community Action Model, developed by Dr. Robert Terry, frames a process of revealing the needs and strengths of an organization. The team combined and customized the two models to fit the needs of MCDA. Below is a representation of the process:

In any strategy planning initiative, it is essential to involve the membership and stakeholders. Obtaining input is critical to the success of utilizing Appreciative Inquiry and the Community Action Model. The team began with the “Definition” or clarifying topic (the strategic planning initiative) and further designed questions based on the four “D’s”: “Discovery”, “Dream”, “Design”, and “Destiny”. The membership and MCDA Board explored these questions in the forms of focus groups and an online survey (Google Forms). Both formats encouraged members to be as forthcoming as possible. Sample questions included: “What gives MCDA life?”, “What are your favorite memories of MCDA?”, and “What would you hope for MCDA to do for you personally or professionally?”

With the survey and focus groups completed, the team carefully analyzed the responses, using this information as the building blocks for the strategic plan. From this raw data, the team identified consistent core themes and utilized the ideas and statements to revisit the mission statement, vision, and purpose. Once clarified, three primary goals emerged for MCDA in the next five years: 1) Engage membership, 2) Expand and strengthen the community, and 3) Enrich knowledge and promote ongoing learning.

During the Careers Conference, the teams presented the plan to the board and to members for their input and guidance. The MCDA Board will use the strategic planning document to create SMART goals: goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

We created this strategic plan as a community that leverages what is best about MCDA while building a purposeful and positive future. We look forward to your continued involvement as we work together toward achieving our goal to “provide professional growth and community, and to promote the field of career development.”

Lifelong Learners Wanted!

By Betheny Rogers
Lifelong learning refers to the continual process of attaining knowledge, according to the Lifelong Learning Council Queensland. Within a career framework, lifelong learning translates to the commitment to acquire new and relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). While this sounds like a pleasant theory, what are the benefits of a career path inclusive of lifelong learning in practice?

Why is lifelong learning important?

On a state, national and global level, we are shifting from production-based economies (making things) to a shared knowledge-based economy (knowing how to do things). Employers desire employees with the knowledge to compete and to adapt.

Yet, funding often restricts employers from providing formal learning opportunities. The Association for Talent Development found that the cost of one hour of organization-sponsored learning was $1,798 in 2013. Even then, those in charge of training cannot predict what KSAs will be relevant toward a successful career path in the organization.

Today’s employers expect lifelong learning but often cannot articulate what knowledge is necessary. A lifelong learner needs to determine what learning is actually beneficial to their chosen career.

What’s in it for you (or your students/clients)?

  • Increased earning potential. Lifelong learners, specifically those able to pursue formal institutional education, enjoy an 8-13% rise in hourly earnings for each additional year of schooling, as reported by The Economist.
  • Increased marketability. Organizations would rather have someone who already knows the relevant information and skills than someone who needs to be taught.
  • Enhanced networks. Field-specific classes offer the chance to meet someone who just may have an opportunity for you (or your clients). Professional presentations and seminars allow time for interaction. Learning is a social activity, inherently.

Finally, and most importantly,

  • You don’t have a choice. Learning is hard because learning is change. However, we recognize that change is inevitable. By making the lifelong commitment to learning, you save time (and money!) by anticipating the need before it becomes pressing.

How can you become a lifelong learner and encourage your students or clients to do the same?

The pursuit of higher education correlates to employability but, with more people obtaining degrees, many experience diminishing returns. Lifelong learning does not mean sticking an ever-increasing number of diplomas on the wall. Learning can be low-cost and, even, low-effort. Lifelong learners follow these three simple tenets:

  • Research and develop learning plans. You aren’t going to get far without a roadmap to your destination. A learning plan can be as simple as vowing to read a career-relevant book or as complicated as identifying which combinations of skills and jobs lead to career success. For example, a future Vice President may plan to develop their leadership skills and work in interdisciplinary functions (Finance, Marketing, etc.) before promotion.
  • Seek new opportunities. Try typing any area of interest (be it, “leadership”, “analysis”, or “bird-watching”) into the search functions of websites like Coursera, edX, Udacity or Khan Academy. Attend a community or work-sponsored training, if offered. As a member of MCDA, there are opportunities to research and share just a click away, such as attending or presenting at a RoundTable or conference, contributing content to the MCDA LinkedIn group page or bulletin – just to name a few.
  • Commit. Lifelong learners commit to learning something new/relevant and honor this commitment, time and time again. The sooner you start, the more you will know, and the more you can share. The time is now.

Member Spotlight

Chelsea Ochoa

Chelsea has been a Career Counselor in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota since June 2015, when she moved back to Minnesota (and her alma mater) with her husband. She earned her M.Ed. in Counselor Education from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2013, and worked in Career Services at UT Austin in a number of different colleges. Before returning to graduate school, she taught Spanish Language Arts in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas with Teach for America.

She shares her thoughts and viewpoints on career development below:

My favorite part of being a Career Counselor is working with students as they learn more about themselves through assessment, an appointment, career course, etc. Knowledge of self is so foundational to everything else, and it’s rewarding to see people gain new insights and connect various ideas. I also enjoy hearing about the interests and dreams of college students; they are all so different and will take many unique paths in life.

While I’m new to MCDA, I first joined NCDA in graduate school and have participated in other professional groups specific to higher education settings. I love attending conferences and learning about innovative programming and gathering new ideas that I can adapt to my own setting. I also really value getting to know other professionals, both to explore other pathways in our field and to continue developing in my current role.

MCDA May RoundTable Recap

On May 17, Robin Stubblefield facilitated a lively discussion around the topic of Navigating The Intersection of Career and Caretaking. Robin encouraged career counselors and coaches to assist clients to let go of the concept of “work/life balance” and instead focus on “work/life effectiveness” by setting small and achievable goals and objectives as we and our clients struggle to meet the demanding roles of employee/employer and caretaker of children, elderly parents, siblings, friends, or vulnerable adult children.

Robin serves as a coach, consultant and facilitator in the areas of leadership development, career strategy, team effectiveness/dynamics, emotional intelligence, and work/life effectiveness through her business, Vitalize Consulting, LLC. Robin spent time in human resource related roles in the corporate sector and in career coaching and student affairs administration roles in higher education, including 10 years at the University of Minnesota. She is an ICF certified coach and holds certifications in multiple assessments related to career and leadership development.

Newsletter Editors:




Lesley Farnham, M.A.





Bushra Rizvi, GCDF

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  1. Steve Chirpich
    June 23rd, 2017 at 09:17 | #1

    Kim’s personal insights were very thought provoking and inspirational!

    These articles are great reminders of information and ideas shared in the Spring Conference, PDI, and Roundtable, and where leadership and members are taking MCDA into the future. Great work.
    Kudos to Bushra and Lesley.

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