Starting in March of 2020, I have been consuming an overwhelming amount of online content in an attempt to track the labyrinth of chaos we are facing in our world today. While writing this piece, there were times that I felt paralyzed and unable to bring my words to light.
My struggle was mitigated when Professor Patty shared her observation of my recent educational experiences. She described it as a Journey of Resilience. I had never thought of myself as Resilient. Yet, upon reflection, she might be right.
Researching resiliency – My perspective
Before proclaiming myself as resilient, I had to learn more about the concept. I read a journal on resilience definitions, theory, and challenges, along with interdisciplinary perspectives. The most striking perspective on resilience is that it can be in different aspects of life. One could be culturally, biologically, emotionally, academically, and/or professionally resilient (Southwick, Bonanno, Masten, Brick, Yehuda, 2014).
In her blog, alumna Stacy Raine, CPS’17, shares her perspectives on many issues facing communicators, especially those working in the non-profit sector.
In her most recent post, she discusses communication with donors during the coronavirus pandemic and makes several excellent suggestions.
I couldn’t agree more with Stacy: “We’re all in this together, helping each other get through a very tough time. I keep hearing that we need to “be human” together, and I couldn’t agree more. Be human, focus on helping people get through this crisis through providing opportunities to connect and learn, and build engagement with your donors.”
There were two defining moments that led me to create Destination Nature, a three-episode podcast series for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The first was when I watched my friend and colleague give an update about his science to a group of Nature Conservancy supporters as we stood on an Atchafalaya riverbank in southern Louisiana. The leaves were rustling, the birds were calling – the sounds were painting such a vivid picture around us as we listened to him talk about what TNC is achieving there. I wished every supporter could hear it.
The next was when I was driving home with my young son one day, and I decided to play an episode of TED Radio Hour called Everything is Connected. It was a show about nature, and as we listened, Yellowstone National Park began to appear in front of us. We heard the sounds of wolves howling, of birds singing, of rivers running, of beavers eating, of ducks calling, of bears growling. I glanced in the rear-view mirror and what I saw was profound. My son was no longer in the car with me. He was a thousand miles away, in Yellowstone National Park.
I appreciated the many opportunities available while I studied at Northeastern University. As the Head Student Life Coordinator for NU Global International Pathways Program, I was responsible for event operations. In my last semester in the Corporate and Organizational Communications program (COC), I coordinated one of the biggest events and collaborations between NU Global International Pathways and the Office of Global Services — Global Voice II.
The 1st Annual ePortfolio Showcase was held on Monday, October 28th at The Cabral Center on campus. The event, attended by more than 50 students, alumni, and faculty, recognized the top 4 ePortfolio ‘authors’ for 2018-19: Josh Gelinas, Jessica Kline, Jingyi Lyu, Liz McCarthy.
Dr. Ed Powers kicked off the ceremony, providing an overview of the ePortfolio program and how it has evolved as a central feature of the Corporate and Organizational Communication master’s program at Northeastern. The honorees were selected by a panel of members of our Alumni Advisory Council.
When I first heard I would have to complete an ePortfolio as part of my program at Northeastern, I wasn’t sure if it would be valuable to me. It instead felt like any effort I put into it would be duplicative of the effort I was putting into my LinkedIn profile and resume. I was working full-time while trying to balance school and other priorities, so it was hard for me to even figure out when I’d have time for this.
I also felt like the ePortfolio would only be valuable for someone looking for a job – something I had no plans of doing because I was already comfortably employed. Well, now being on the other side of my degree, I am so happy I had and still have this ePortfolio.
How do stereotypes influence our behavior at work? Are our instincts accurate? A recent article in the online magazine Swissinfo described some of the challenges, large and small, amusing and potentially embarrassing, of working as an ‘incomer’ in a Swiss company. Would you expect to be formal with Swiss colleagues? Think deadlines are important? Expect consensus must be reached in meetings? For those of us in communication roles, deciphering the cultural cues and office codes is especially critical. As my colleague, Patty Goodman, often reminds me, we need to be aware of our biases, keen observers, and learn as much as we can about cultural values.
So what are the answers to the questions posed in the Swissinfo article?
This question usually comes early on in the interview, often being used by the interviewer as an icebreaker. It’s considered one of the easier interview questions, but there’s definitely a right way to answer it.
Although this is meant as an easy question, there are a few things you’ll need to include:
1. Your core messages – why you’re qualified/how you can benefit the company. If you’re not sure what I mean by this, I’ll explain more below.
2. The reason the role excites you
3. The fact that you understand the job
4. The fact that you want this job, not just any job at the company
5. The way the job connects to your career plan
6. The fact that you intend to stay in the job for awhile
You can see that even though this isn’t meant as a complicated question, it has some elements that you might want to brainstorm about before your interview.
Georgiana Pierre-Louis, a graduate of our Corporate and Organizational Communication master’s program in 2012, wanted to be a consultant someday, but that was a plan for a later date – until, that is, a reorganization at her company gave her a nudge in the consulting direction. She could relocate with her organization, which, as a new mom, wasn’t ideal at the time. Or she could get a new job. Or, she could take a risk, follow the germ of an idea in the back of her mind, and learn what consulting was really like.
She opted to start her own consulting business, and five years later, she says she’s not sure she could ever go back.
What motivates adult learners to pursue a graduate degree? There are, of course, a multitude of reasons. In an era of digital disruption, many communicators seek new knowledge or skills. Others are interested in experiential opportunities to strengthen their resumes. Still others view a graduate degree as a pathway to career advancement — credentials do matter! We all expect a return on investment in our time and money. But we’re talking about something more consequential — a return on education. That common motivational thread for students in our Corporate and Organizational Communication program is a passion for communication, a passion for learning.
This is what Professor of Practice Ed Powers learned in an interview with Josh Gelinas, a PR professional from North Carolina who will soon be completing his master’s program.