Connection Circle 2014

This summer, a group of over sixty women have gathered to speak up about the goals and dreams we have for ourselves, with the express intention of sharing resources and encouragement that allows for these goals to be reached. Here you will find the pitches presented each week- you’re welcome to respond to them via comment, or interact with us via the Facebook page. Welcome, and we look forward to creating a strong and accomplished collection or women this summer!

Week 17: Sue Caulfield


Thumbs up to Sue for finishing our summer strong! Help her out and keep that smile on her face ūüôā

My name is Susan Caulfield, but please don’t call me that unless your my mom and I’m in trouble. Sue or Susie works just fine. I’m the Assistant Director of Student Affairs at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York! I saw things like cawfee and watah because I was born and raised here on LI. Our student affairs office is really small so I wear a ton of hats during my professional days. My favorite part of my job is knowing that I will affect future physicians in a positive way.

Outside of work, I’m a creator, particularly of #suedles. I am a small business owner (my Etsy shop!) and still feel like I’m dreaming when I sell something. I love helping people create their dream piece. I also love trying new food, exploring NYC, my partner in crime and culinary adventures, Dan, and our cat Tony.

Ever since I read Sunni Brown’s “The Doodle Revolution,” I knew that I wanted to do more with my suedles. Let’s face it – [student affairs]¬†does a crappy job of capturing visual learners. Whether it’s our student leaders or our colleagues in student affairs, visual language does not have the spotlight. We are missing all of the folks out there who prefer communicating ideas visually and cheating ourselves of this creative medium. I want to help change that and I want to start with you.

This last week I acted as a graphic facilitator for a brainstorming session in Hofstra’s Career Services department. Not only was it one of the most productive brainstorming sessions I’ve led, it was SO fulfilling to see something I love so much produce value for an office.

So here’s my ask: Help me tell your story, brainstorm with your office or facilitate something for you. If there’s something we can do digitally, great. If there’s a story I can translate into a whiteboard story for you, awesome. If you’d like to provide some financial help, I’ll come visit and lead sessions with your group. Whatever it is, I’m more determined than ever to bring visual language to the forefront and I know higher education can be better because of it.

Thanks ladies and keep on doodling!

Week 16: Monica Fochtman

Monica has something to ask you this morning- make her smile, and help her out!

My name is Monica Marcelis Fochtman. You can call me Monica. I live in Okemos MI and work at MSU- Go Green! I got my PhD there in 2010 and my hubs is a 2 time Spartan. I grew up in NJ near Philly and went to Boston College. In my current role, I am an academic advisor in the College of Nursing. I work with all the high achieving, compulsive ones, including PhD students- oy! I am always job searching. Hoping to consult, freelance, get paid to do the MBTI, write. I am an INFJ and certified on the MBTI, working toward MAster Practioner certification. I am a vocal and active advocate for childhood cancer research (our older son is a survivor) and have shaved my head twice. We have two boys- Luke (8) and Connor (6). They bring more gray hairs and more joy than I ever thought possible.
Hi everyone! My name is Monica Marcelis Fochtman and I have really enjoyed the rockstar advice and friendship that has been demonstrated through this group this summer. It has been a privilege to witness.
Background for my ask:
My two sons and I want to write a children’s book called Strawberry Patrol. It is loosely based on actual events. My in-laws have a wild strawberry patch at their house and every summer the boys (now ages 8 and 6) go on patrol. They pick and eat berries, sort them, categorize them, compare, etc. We would like to turn this in to an actual story. We have thought that “the problem” in the story might be something like: they need to gather enough strawberries to help Grandma make jam, but they keep encountering birds, raccoons, insects that also want to eat the berries. The book could be math- based (counting, sorting) or not. It could also possibly include a recipe for strawberry jam.
Sue Caulfield has graciously agreed to come on board to illustrate. We would like to donate either a percentage of the profits or $1-2 per book to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. SBF funds childhood cancer research. Or perhaps also donate a copy of the book to a child currently in treatment.
I have done a lot of research and it is my understanding that publishers read book proposals, not actual books.
So….here are my asks. THANK YOU for reading.
-Thoughts about the content. Is this is a good story? Is there a story there?
-How do I put together a proposal for a book that is not yet written? Do I need to write the book first?
-Should the charity piece of our idea be part of the “pitch” to an agent or publisher?
-Do you have the names of an agent and/or publisher that could legitimately help us get this off the ground?
-Do you have the names of someone who has done this before and would be willing to help mentor us through the process?
Please and thank you!

Week 14: Kristen Abell

This Wonder Woman is wondering about a few things, and is hoping you can help!

-Kristen Abell, I go by Kristen or Wonder Woman
-Living in Lenexa, KS, a suburb of Kansas City (which is in both Kansas and Missouri – we’re confusing like that)
-I work with web development for student affairs and other departments at the university, I’m a partner to an awesome director of student housing, I’m a mom to an 8-year-old with a mouth that won’t quit, I write, I read, and I sometimes dance in the kitchen (by myself or with others), among other things

Several years ago, I started presenting within my university about social media and the advantages for students who used it well. Little did I know then that this was going to turn into a lifelong career opportunity for me.

I spent the next ten years honing and developing my knowledge and presentation skills in this area, as well as the area of technology and student affairs. This included experimenting with a variety of social media tools in the early stages, creating a personal blog, then a professional blog and co-founding a collaborative blog for women in technology and student affairs. I have served as a communications coordinator for NASPA Region IV-West, as well as a co-founder for a Twitter chat on technology in student affairs. I am currently the coordinator for the #SAtech Unconference series and one of the incoming co-chairs for the NASPA Technology Knowledge Community. I began speaking on social media in student affairs at my university, and then at regional conferences, slowly but surely building up a presentation portfolio that now includes national presentations on women in technology and student affairs, blogging and social media, among others.

In the past year, I’ve given a keynote presentation on the future of technology in student affairs and provided consulting services for two different universities on their online communication strategies. My goal in the next few years is to build this into a successful side business to my work in student affairs. I hope to regularly be consulting and speaking about these topics, as I find these occasions rejuvenate me and stimulate my brain in a way that keeps me excited about my work.

Now to the meat of this Рhere’s what I’m asking of those that can help. I am specifically looking for two things.

1. Advice РIf consulting and speaking professionally is something you currently do and you have advice on how I can do more of this, I want it. I’m serious about getting into this, and while I know everyone has a different path, I also know I can learn from you.

2. Networking – Do you have contacts who might have speaking or consulting needs with whom you could put me in touch? Are you or do you know someone that is a natural networker and could help me build my own network? When people think of needing a presenter or consultant on women in technology, on social media, on online communications strategies, I want to be well-connected enough that my name starts to rise to the surface.

These are my two requests from this amazing group of women. I admit, I’m a little nervous and a lot excited about this opportunity Рthat tells me I’m onto something here. I look forward to hearing other pitches and participating in any way I can. Big thanks to Amma for the chance to do this.

Week 13: Kelley McCarthy

Kelley is looking for help getting her name in the spotlight, does anyone have any resources to help her out?

Hello Ladies, My name is Kelley McCarthy and I go by Kelley, or KMac, but Kelley usually works. I live in Notre Dame, IN ( home of the fighting Irish) with my 2 time winning retired show cat, Freefall . Professionally I am a 2nd year Hall Director of a first year building and work at one of the 48 remaining women’s colleges in the United States. I am in charge of our departments social media, supervise 8 RAs and I work with 4 other amazing professionals. Personally, I LOVE finding motivational quotes for others to enjoy at a time they may need it most. I enjoy running. I just ran my first 1/2 marathon and can’t wait to do another, I like to blog for a few websites ( Student Affairs First Years, and Get Smart Mentoring) I volunteer for Girls on The Run where I was a solemate and raised $250 for a girl to go through the program. Currently, I am working on a program for the solemates to have more support when they go through the fundraising process.

Week 12: Jana Lithgow

Jana’s on to new beginnings, in part because of this group- let’s help her ease right in!

Hi everyone! I’m really excited about getting to know you all this summer.¬†My name is Jana Lithgow. I go by Jana, which rhymes with banana (but please don’t call me that).¬†I live in Waltham, Massachusetts and work in nearby Boston. I’m a Midwest transplant originally from the great state of Illinois.¬†I am the Associate Director of the Career Center at Emmanuel College, and since we’re a small office, I do a little bit of everything – employer relations, student and alumni advising, event management, and whatever else needs to be done. I also love cooking, crafting, reading (including YA – in fact, I’m in a YA book club!), traveling, exploring the Boston area, and watching my favorite teams (pro: Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, St. Louis Cardinals, college: Missouri Tigers) play sports.

Hi everyone! I had a carefully prepared pitch ready to go in which I asked you for assistance with a very specific job search…and then I ended up applying for my dream next-step job and got it after a whirlwind search process.  Thanks to this group, I was inspired to put myself out there and ask for what I wanted when the offer came in.  Now, I am reframing my pitch to ask for assistance with my transition.

Currently, I work (with Amma!) at a small private Catholic liberal arts college in Boston.¬† I have been working in Catholic higher education in the heart of large cities (first Chicago, now Boston) since 2006 and for small and mid-size institutions for my entire career.¬†¬† My new position is Associate Director of Business Career Services in the College of Business at the University of Illinois flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign. This represents a huge change for me on every level – the College of Business alone is twice the size of the school I work for now, I‚Äôm leaving a major metropolitan area where I’ve built strong friendships and a great life for myself on the East Coast to return to my Illinois roots, and I‚Äôll be living close to my family for the first time in several years.¬† In addition, this new position represents several new professional challenges for me, most immediately with the size and scope of the university.¬† I attended a large state school for my undergrad experience, so I‚Äôm not completely unfamiliar with the environment, but this will be an entirely new professional experience.

I am asking for assistance with the following:

  • Personal or professional connections in the Champaign-Urbana area and throughout central Illinois (Midwesterners aren‚Äôt afraid to drive a little!),
  • Advice or suggestions for working and building connections within a large public institution environment, and
  • Advice on transitioning to a new job in general. I work in career development and have given my own advice to many, many students along the way, but I am eager to hear your perspectives.

Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Week 11: Kate McGartland

Kate is up this week! She's making big moves this summer, and would love your help!

Kate is up this week! She’s making big moves this summer, and would love your help!

Week 10: Renee Dowdy

This week, wellness advocate and fellow blogger Renee needs our help. Anything you can do for her?

Hello all! I’m Renee, living in lovely Fort Collins, CO. I get the great pleasure each of day of working with fraternity and sorority student leaders and professionals on behalf of the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values (AFLV) and the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) (oh, and have I mentioned our AFLV LeaderShape sessions because they really are game changers for college students – just saying¬†¬†). I do wellness in all facets of my life – from work, to regular yoga practice (and starting teacher training in the fall!), to my blog, to hikes in the mountains, a diligence for meal planning and discovering recipes I love, to watching any documentary I can get my hands on. I have an addictive personality which can be great when I’m really focused on something I’m excited about but dangerous when I can’t stop playing 2048, which may or may not have happened this weekend.

Week 9: Michelle Saldana

This is Michelle! She and her buddy Lola would love it if you could help her out with her ask this week!

Hello everyone, my name is Michelle Salda√Īa. My college friends call me “Chela” (too many Michelle’s in a student org, long story, all the Michelle’s had nicknames). I currently live off in campus housing and end of May will be returning on, with my dog Lola and partner Javier. I love to sing, cook, enjoy the weather and going to the beach. As far as professional background I consider myself a talent builder and opportunity creator, the past year I’ve really focused on supporting my staff member by providing her with the tools to succeed and work beyond her current position. As far as my specific role, I oversee the housing operations at Occidental College (my alma mater) and look forward to providing safe living spaces for students. I am geographically located in the city of Los Angeles in the Northeast LA region! And I love my boys in BLUE, go DODGERS!

For the past 6 months I have been reviewing my own journey and embracing the course and direction I’m going. One critical part of this journey is creating and establishing an online presence that is accessible to my target population: Latina/o Professionals, with a focus on access, retention, persistence and the professional job experience.

My original commitment is to launch a blog and website on my birthday: May 4th. Now this has been challenging due to some personal health issues in the past few weeks, so my goal is to use my birthday month as a present to myself and with your assistance achieve the following:

Publish a website (using Squarespace) that will integrate my current blog

On the website I will create a space to share the stories of others using podcasts, integrate videos, google hangouts, and guest blogs. These forms of media will serve as tips, tools and resources for my target population.

Check out the draft of Michelle’s site plan here!

What I am seeking:

  • Advice on how to include and format media on my site
  • Recommendations of apps/software that can assist with including this media
  • Advice on design, navigation of my site, and site presence

As Amma mentioned, my current pop culture reference for the past couple of years has been the ABC¬†show ‚ÄúNashville.‚ÄĚ This season one of the main characters Juliette Barnes (played by Hayden Panettiere)¬†experienced some backlash from her fans from a misquoted statement. Her record company has asked¬†her to apologize for the statement, and Juliette was about to hand the apology, decided that she needed¬†to be brave and take control of what the future will be for her. Below is a clip of the scene and the song¬†that had her officially separate from her record company. The message has been something that has¬†resonated with my current experiences.

Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Yet

Week 8: Josie Ahlquist

Week 8 is Josie’s time! Take a moment and see what you can do to help her out!

I’m Josie Ahlquist (Pronounced Jo-C, like Kid Rock‚Äôs previous side kick rapper RIP). I can be found on most days in Los Angeles, CA happily. near the ocean. I am a doctoral candidate from California Lutheran University, researching the intersection of leadership, identity and social media communication technologies. I blog at, rescue animal momma to a 10 month old puppy parker and 10 year old cat Izzy. I attempt to keep up with my husband who works in the YouTube industry, sometimes you‚Äôll find me in one of his videos.

Week 7B: Lisa Endersby

Lisa Pic 1

Say hello to the talented, thoughtful fellow Canuck Lisa!

Hello from the sunny shores of Canada! I’m thrilled, honoured, and more than a little nervous to share with you. My name is Lisa Endersby and I’m a very proud Canadian (eh?), currently working, learning, making mistakes, and trying new things in Toronto, Ontario. I’ve spent over 5 years in Student Affairs, working in new student¬†orientation, leadership development, and career services. Over time and with the¬†privilege¬†of many wonderful opportunities¬†through NASPA, CACUSS, ACPA, and other acronyms, I’ve found new and enduring loves in assessment, technology, and professional development. I consider myself a Higher Education Storyteller – stories are powerful and beautiful ways to share and connect, and I use story and journey metaphors to teach assessment as well as to guide my own professional and personal philosophy. I write and speak a lot about paths and pedestals; the former being built from the ruins of the latter. You can see more of my first ramblings on the topic¬†here.
As my story continues to unfold and as I continue to open new doors and walk down newly constructed paths, I have found a passion for writing, speaking, and facilitation with groups, individuals, and organizations who are also looking for opportunities to write and share their stories. As I started to become an expert in American-Canadian border crossings (smile, be nice, but don’t make jokes – you’re not funny to a customs agent. Not usually.), I learned that the students I most enjoyed working with were my fellow colleagues. Being surrounded by such overwhelming joy and commitment to this work is¬†inspiring, and I also have a new appreciation and compassion for the frustrations and challenges that come with this work. Serving currently as the NASPA Technology Knowledge Community Co-Chair Elect and an editor for the Student Affairs Blog (@The_SA_Blog), I am in a unique and exciting position to support colleagues in their professional journey. I cannot begin to quantify or¬†articulately¬†explain the times I have been humbled by becoming a footnote, a sentence or two, or , if I’m truly lucky, a whole paragraph in someone’s story.
If it wasn’t clear already, I am¬†overwhelmed, humbled, and more than a little surprised by the opportunities that have been afforded to me. I am grateful for every minute I stand on stage or in front of a room, for every plane seat that I sit in to attend a conference, and for every person who takes the time to express their own¬†gratitude¬†for my work. This work doubles and expands my joy – I enjoy the work that I do and that feeling is returned and magnified (perhaps by the currency exchange rate between our two¬†countries) each time.
Recently, I’ve begun to more seriously consider formalizing the work that I do as a consulting gig. Very often, opportunities have graciously been presented to me without much work or hustle on my part, and I want to get (more) serious about seeking out ways to share my knowledge and skills. My professional goals are also¬†slowly but obviously shifting to working in professional development in student affairs and higher education, so these opportunities will also help stretch me, strengthen my skills, and refine my goals.
Where I need help is moving from the top of the funnel (as my Master’s supervisor often said of me and my ideas), to the bottom – where I have a more concrete, actionable, and feasible plan. My Myers-Briggs Judging preference is just about screaming at me for order. Can you help me:
  • revamp and update my personal website? I have some fantastic colleagues currently looking at some new text to advertise my consulting work, but the entire website needs to be updated to better showcase my skills and past work (e.g. I have absolutely no idea how to showcase all of the writing I’ve done outside of my personal blog) and to help potential clients reach me.
  • find new opportunities to consult? I specialize in assessment and I’m also MBTI certified, so I can administer, interpret, and discuss the inventory. I’ve also been tasked with research and report writing in the past, and can also facilitate workshops on numerous topics. I’m happy to provide you with a draft of the content I created for my website with more specific information about my skills and strengths.
  • be mentored by someone else who consults, either full or part time? I’m in contact with a couple of fantastic consultants, but I’d love to expand my network. I’d be particularly excited about meeting a woman doing this kind of work.
  • explore opportunities to do this type of work full time? I would be particularly interested in talking to anyone who works in, or knows someone who works in,¬†educational¬†development.
Thank you for stepping into my story. You can reach me by email at or on Twitter at @lmendersby. No day but today!

Week 7A: Valerie Feagin Reed

The first part of this week is dedicated to helping Valerie out. Dust off your Rolodex, for she is in need of a person! Think hard and help her out!

I’m Valerie (Feagin) Reed and go by Valerie or Val. I live in Northeast Ohio and I both work full-time and study at Kent State University. For work, I provide administrative support to an academic department, including course scheduling, personnel actions, assisting with foreign language placement and student registration, and data collection and analysis. At the same time, I am working on an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration (and I’m a full-time student this semester, ack!). I’m a mom to two fantastic kids, ages 5 and 7, and a wife to my husband of almost 13 years. When I have some time to myself, I read (a little of everything, I’ll add myself to the list of YA fans in this group) and watch a few select shows, currently Mad Men and Game of Thrones.

¬†Click here to access Valerie’s Big Ask! (Prezi file, may be hard to view on tablets)

Week 6: Stacy Oliver-Sikorski

Meet Stacy. Ever thoughtful, funny, and headbanded with sunglasses, she is looking for your help to shine. Will you be able to give it?

Hi, all. I’m Stacy Olliver-Sikorski and I’m the Associate Director of Residence Life for Student Success at Lake Forest College. I work primarily with operations, assignments, and conduct. Outside of work, I’m a voracious reader, an occasional writer, and wife to a home brewer (which means a lot of beer festivals and rare beer releases).

Like most graduate students, I spent hours poring over my resume in the months before the¬†launch of my post-degree search. With the help of a friend, I created a masterpiece. It sang of¬†my skills and qualiÔ¨Ācations while also serving as readable, clear, and well-formatted. It was¬†important to me that every bullet point align and that every verb pop. Over the years, it‚Äôs become a dumping ground of sorts for my experiences. It‚Äôs updated¬†annually, but those updates are careless and haphazard. They are added on in moments of¬†panic when the perfect job posting comes across my desk. Bullet points are added and deleted¬†with reckless abandon, tailoring the resume to whatever it is I think I want to do next with my¬†professional life. Some iterations tell the tale of a housing operations mastermind; other¬†iterations paint the picture of a conduct super heroine. There may even be an iteration in which I¬†tried to convince Bed, Bath, and Beyond to hire me ‚ÄĒ but that‚Äôs a different conversation. Is it effective as a resume? Oh, certainly. I‚Äôve had a successful career of progressive experience¬†and responsibility. It‚Äôs rare that I don‚Äôt get at least a phone interview after applying for a position. But it‚Äôs tired. It‚Äôs so, so tired. My resume is ten years old and, frankly, looks dated. And now that¬†I‚Äôm ten years older and wiser, I know a bit more about what I want my next steps to look like. There are things that can be permanently removed ‚ÄĒ goodbye, old friends ‚ÄĒ and things that¬†should be bolstered to demonstrate that I am, in fact, kicking ass and taking names in student¬†affairs. I‚Äôm also unhip and don‚Äôt know if I should be including a link to my LinkedIn proÔ¨Āle or my¬†Yelp reviews (I am Yelp elite ‚ÄĒ can that even go on my resume?). I‚Äôm looking for someone to assist with an overhaul ‚ÄĒ preferably someone who can do a¬†complete redesign ‚ÄĒ but also provide some critical, insightful feedback about who they expect¬†me to be after reviewing my resume and whether that expectation jives with reality. I‚Äôm not actively job searching, which makes this the perfect timing for a revamp and a reboot of¬†the gray lady.

Week 5B: Krista Kohlmann

This is Krista, and she’s hoping to benefit from some very particular skills that some of you may have. YOU SHALL NOT PASS her pitch if you can help her!

Hi everyone! I am Krista Kohlmann and currently reside in the great state of New Jersey (trust me, it’s great). I am the Assistant Director of Student Involvement & Community Service, where my main focus is service learning and changemaking! I have a great husband and two adorable cats. I am a DIY queen and have been working on building my skill set this year along with blogging at! My three-woman celebrity wolf pack would have to be Kristen Bell, Tina Fey, and Daenarys Targaryen (or if fictional characters don’t count, Emma Stone).

  Week 5A: Paromita De

Meet Paromita (aka Dia or Paro), a researcher at Harvard and wonderful friend of mine since high school! Help her out this week!

Hi All! I’m Paromita and I live in the Boston area. I’m an education researcher, also a devoted friend and family member, and a big-time dreamer.
I’m an educational researcher who is just starting out on the track (more academic research) and field (human development) that I want to go on in the long-term. I both have lots of ideas for what kinds of goals I would like to achieve and at the same time feel like I don’t know where to start with thinking through my goals and knowing what I need to do to meet them/designate milestones.
What I would like to get from the group is visual tools/strategies to organize my goal planning, preferably in the form of a worksheet(s). I feel like something with lots of circles and arrows would help me, but I am open to anything!

Week 4: Laura McClernon


As you can see, Laura and I go waaaay back. Say hello, and give her a shout!

Laura McClernon currently resides in Norfolk, VA but has lived in Connecticut, Italy, and New Mexico in the past year. She is currently at a fork in the road as she left a 4 year position as an international corporate trainer after feeling bored, isolated, and that there was no career path available with her former employer.¬† This wake up call came after 3.5 years of knowing she was not on the right path, but convincing her that she did not have the ability to change.¬† Now with destiny in her own hands she is currently on a job search (read: unemployed) while finding time to moonlight in a public speaking career.¬† Her background is in market research software training where she worked from a home office 90% of the time coming work each day in some form of elastic waistband pants.¬† She is married to Patrick who is currently serving on a submarine in Norfolk for the next 2.5-3 years.¬† One of her big interests is running and as she writes this bio she is 2 days away from running the Boston Marathon.¬† She mostly finds herself reading self-help and progressive business-y books.¬† Some of the material that has made the greatest impact on her is the work of¬†Michael Hyatt.¬† Overall, when it comes to giving advice she excels at helping others think of creative solutions, but struggling to get over her own hurdles. ¬†Hence, this is why she is here and looking forward to dishing and taking advice. Her mantra that you might hear her spit out from time to time is the importance of creating ‚Äúand‚ÄĚ solutions where you can make two things possible at once.

Specific ‚Äúhelp‚ÄĚ questions:¬†
1. Help me to decide should I pursue public speaking or open an online store or BOTH? 
2. Do I have too many rods in the fire? 
3. Would anyone with a higher ed OR in a businesses background give me advice on topics that need to be heard or are in demand. Do you know any places where I could speak for free to get started? 
4.  If you could go to a conference today, what do you think would be in the greatest demand for a speaker? 
5.  I have a deep rooted fear of public writing because I am not articulate in my composition.  Is there anyone that can help me get past this fear? 
6.  Is there anyone that can give me an outside opinion when coming to a career crossroads like I am right now? 

Week 3: Winni Paul

Say hello to Winni! We connected initially through a mutual appreciation for professional development, and she is “cooler than cool,” as they say. Help her out!

Song for post: ‚ÄúOne Moment In Time‚Ä̬† My name is Winnifred but most people call me¬†Winni¬†or Diva. I was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and grew up in southern CT where I currently live. I have a B.A. in English with a double minor in History and Women‚Äôs Studies. I have an M.S.Ed. in Counselor Education which I‚Äôve used in the non-profit sector as an addictions/career counselor as well as working in group homes for those with developmental disabilities and/or mental health issues. I volunteer my time by serving as the Membership Chair/Social Media Coordinator for the Rhode Island Young Professionals (RIYP).¬†RIYP is an auxiliary of the Urban League of Rhode Island and part of the National Urban League Young Professionals (NULYP) network.¬†I‚Äôm also part of the inaugural national membership committee for NULYP. When I‚Äôm not involved in social justice, my other interests include foodie adventures, karaoke, pop culture, museums, reading, and improv comedy. With over seven years experience working in higher education, I‚Äôve contributed to the student engagement experience in residential life, student activities, orientation, and student leadership development at a community college and a variety of universities. I‚Äôm currently a rogue agent aka job searching. I started my own guest speaking business this January. My StrengthsQuest top five are: 1) Context, 2) Input, 3) Communication, 4) Includer, and 5) WOO. What I need help with is something that‚Äôs covered by the first three StrengthsQuest: mentorship. In Homer’s epic The Odyssey, Mentor was the trusted friend of Ulysses who agrees to protect and guide Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, while Odysseus was away on his extended journey to Troy and back. “Mentor” today has come to mean a teacher, a guide, a trusted person who can share information, advice, and expertise as you develop professionally and personally. I would love mentors in the following focus areas: a) job search/transition, b) guest speaking/consulting, and c) doctoral programs. I’m seeking mentors at the Director/SSAO level or beyond with at least 10 years of experience working in the field. I appreciate the diversity of life and work experiences that have brought people to the field, as such the mentors don‚Äôt have to look like me or have the same work experiences.

  • Mentor A (job search/transition) relationship would begin almost immediately and last through the end of 2014 with regular communication (phone/e-mail/Google+) on how to navigate the job search and transition processes.
  • Mentor B (guest speaking/consulting) should either have their own consulting business or extensive experience guest speaking at multiple universities. This mentoring relationship would begin over the summer with regular communication (phone/e-mail/Google+) to help get things off the ground and running.
  • Mentor C (doctoral programs) relationship would begin late summer/early fall 2014 with sporadic communication (phone/e-mail) regarding potential programs and would eventually transition to periodic support check-ins. I‚Äôm looking to start a doctoral program Fall 2015.

Here‚Äôs a great article by Jennifer Dulski, President and COO of, about different types of mentors: “5 Mentor Archetypes I‚Äôve Met – And How to Spot Them”¬† I can work with all the archetypes of mentors but some (i.e. advisor, role model) will be better suited than others for some of my specific needs. I’ve served as a mentor for several graduate students and new professionals over the years. It’s time I get mentored. Thanks for taking the time to read and I look forward to where this will lead.

This is Monica, a friend and colleague I met during my time at USF for grad school. I’m so excited and honored to share her pitch with you.

Week 2: Monica Rochon

Monica has both a Bachelor of Science in¬†Sports & Leisure Management¬†and Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.¬†Currently, Monica is a Residence Director at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where they chair the department’s Sustainability Committee and co-instructs a semester long course called Educating for Social Justice and Diversity Through Peer Theatre. Monica also spends time volunteering in the UMass Athletic department.¬†
Outside of UMass Monica does outreach work in Western¬†Massachusetts¬†for BodyImage4Justice an organization that focuses on the health and wellness of LGBTQ people,¬†specially¬†those who¬†identity¬†as Trans. Additionally Monica is a core member and¬†facilitator¬†of the Undoing Racism Organizing Collective (UROC) an anti-racist organization that strives to educate people about institutional racism. Monica’s future plans are to apply to¬†Doctoral¬†Programs to pursue a Ph.D in Sports Management where they hope to merge their passion of social justice and sport.
Monica Rochon Big Ask
Live links to the highlighted text above:
1) I have created a go fund me account for those who want to help financially .
2) If you want to help emotionally you can reach me on Facebook, via email or PO Box 3635, Amherst, MA 01004.
3) If you want to heighten your awareness on the stories of Trans health visit BodyImage4Justice here or The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health here 

This is Aly, a dear friend of mine since our time at URI and our first official pitch of the 2014 Summer Virtual Reciprocity Ring Project!

Week 1: Aly Keves

My name is Allison Keves, but everyone calls me Aly. I currently live in NYC. Professionally, I am the Events Manager at NYU – Steinhardt. Personally, I have a blog that I just started, am getting used to living in NYC, so I explore a lot, and I have been forcing myself to go to the gym more. My wolf pack would be Anna Kendrick, Mindy Kaling and Emma Stone.

Step 1: Click this link. Let the song play in the background. Step 2: What do I need help with? After several years as an event planner in higher education, I am¬†starting to think this is not the career/field for me. At 30, I am struggling to find¬†my passion and as much fun as Peter Pan had, even he had to grow up. I am not¬†sure how to figure out what I want to do/be so any help would be greatly¬†appreciated! Step 3: A little about my career: I started my career in Student Activities at Brown University. I worked¬†with students to plan large scale campus events, such as concerts and lectures. In¬†college, I was on a campus activities planning committee, so this job was¬†something I was very comfortable doing. I also oversaw the Greek system events.¬†After 3 and a half years, I applied for and received an Events Manager¬†position for the Office of University Event and Conference Services. In that role, I¬†was in charge of many University level events as well as summer conferences. My¬†favorite event that I planned during this time was a visit from His Holiness the¬†14th¬†Dalai Lama of Tibet. This past May, I completed my MBA and felt like it was time to make a¬†change. I moved to NYC in September and began a job as the Events Manager at¬†NYU ‚Äď Steinhardt. The transition has not been easy and I find that most days, I¬†am doing nothing that I am passionate about. Step 4: Things I enjoy: ‚ÄĘ I love music. When I was in college (and during my time in Student¬†Activities), I loved running concerts. Whenever I can, I love going to¬†see live music. ‚ÄĘ I am starting a blog. So far, there is not much on it, but I am getting¬†there. ‚ÄĘ If I could spend all day reading and researching pop culture, I¬†would. ‚ÄĘ I much prefer to spend my days up and about versus sitting at a¬†desk all day. ‚ÄĘ I love exploring NYC on the weekends. Walks in Central Park,¬†trying new restaurants, and catching movies in Bryant Park during¬†the summer are among some of my favorite things. ‚ÄĘ I watch a lot of TV. My current favorite shows: Game of Thrones,¬†@Midnight, Jeopardy, Saturday Night Live, any of the TLC bride¬†shows, Kelly & Michael and Good Morning America. I have never¬†seen any of the Real Housewives shows, but I love Andy Cohen. Step 5: Now, listen to this. Step 6: Now this is where I ask for help. If you can help me figure out what¬†career path I should pursue, I would be internally grateful. I want to love what I¬†do and be really passionate about it.¬†Obviously, the information I have given may not be enough to diagnose¬†me, so if you have questions, please ask away! Please note: I am not some crazy Beatles fan. These songs really seem to fit¬†though!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!