Friday, September 25, 2015

Viking Voices - The Enterprise Center at Salem State University: part of Your Alumni Benefits

Welcome to the latest in a series of my blog posts written to highlight the resources available to our Salem State Alumni community. This week I had the chance to visit the Enterprise Center at Salem State and attend Start-up Stories: Survival By Design, one of the many valuable sessions hosted by Enterprise Center.

On this day a capacity crowd engaged with Jennifer Adler who is a graphic designer, communications consultant, writer and entrepreneur. Jennifer talked about her business, Survival By Design Cards, and shared her professional advice.  Jennifer told the engrossed audience about her successes and her learnings. 

The audience asked probing questions to which Jennifer responded with the humor, wit and business wisdom illustrative of the Survival By Design Cards company brand. The interchanges combined to create a powerful learning experience that benefitted the audience members and Jennifer benefitted from advice shared back.

Start-up Stories is part of the Enterprise Center’s ongoing series of seminars and events - many that are free, some for a fee - that are available to members of our alumni community and to the public. Another free session that took place last week was, Two Hours to a Better Sales Strategy. Dave Johnson, Managing Director at Sandler Training engaged another robust group of attendees in how to, “‘Reboot’ your sales strategy and establish a game plan for success!”

While I visited the Enterprise Center I also met Abby Grant, Senior Program Manager of the Enterprise Center. Abby recently joined Salem State from the Boston Business Journal where she was Audience Development Manager. Addressing attendees Abby spoke of the upcoming series of events and resources available to the business community.  

I am extremely impressed with Abby. Her optimism, enthusiasm and sense of mission is kinetic. In a short period of time she has energized the Enterprise Center program. 

Abby is part of a new entrepreneurial spirit embracing Salem State. Guided by the leadership of University President, Patricia “Pat” Maguire Meservey, Abby is a symbol of the dynamic energy exuding across the university campus.  Abby’s outreach to the local business community, electronic communications and social media skills are radiating the mission of the institution beyond the four walls of the Enterprise Center providing a beacon illuminating the value that Salem State generates for the community. 

In the upcoming weeks the Enterprise Center will host more programs of value to our alumni and the regional business communities. Below is a short list of upcoming events.

If you in the area, take my advice and put a couple of hours aside to attend an event or more. Based upon my experiences this past week, it will be time well spent. I’ll be there to take in one or more and I hope to see you.

Upcoming events highlights (full calendar):

Check out the full calendar for other events including, Start-Up Stories – Diabetic Dabs (October 19), Starting A Business – What You Need to Know, (October 20) Get Ready to Enter the North of Boston Business Plan Competition (October 21), and other valuable events in October and beyond.

In my next post I will profile the Salem State Small Business Development Center and I will let you know what I learn about those resources available to our Salem State Alumni community. I am looking forward to our next conversation.

You can join in the conversation by following this blog and checking out the many social media outlets available to our Salem State community. A short list of some of these venues are below.

Go Vikings!

Here are some of the places you may find me on social media:

Friday, September 18, 2015

Viking Voices - Salem State University CSO (Career Services Online): part of Your Alumni Benefits

How long ago did you step on that stage to receive your Salem State degree? A year ago? Five years? Longer? For me, almost 30 years seem to have passed in an instant.

As I blogged in My Salem State Story: What is Yours? my time at Salem State seem seemed to quickly recede into the past as the momentum provided by my Salem State education propelled my career. I didn’t know then that the substantial resources of the institution would continue to provide benefits throughout my adult life. These benefits include my ability to succeed based upon the things I learned in formal education as well as the experiences and activities of my time at Salem. I would discover there is even more.

In 2013 my employer offered a deal that became too hard to refuse. Seeking to align the size of the organization with operating results the company offered an attractive separation package for more senior employees. I suddenly had to confront that recurring life’s question, “What will I do when I grow up?” This question turned out to harder to answer than I had anticipated.

The challenge wasn’t for lack of opportunities. More it became a confusing array of choices. I also faced a compelling desire to try to wipe the slate clean. I had been doing similar occupations for a long time. It felt as though I had the chance to reboot; start from career Jump Street; do a career Lido Shuffle.  

Doing so meant facing up the tribulations of someone who had not been in the job market for years. How to start? What resources could I tap? Here is where some of the many great resources available to Salem State Alumni came into my life.

Are you aware that as a Salem State University Alumnus you have available to you, mostly without charge, the resources of Salem State University CSO (Career Services Online)?  I learned this and took great advantage as the next chapter in my career life began to unfold.

Included in the extensive resources are:
  • The ability to build a profile which you can share with prospective employers;
  • A Resource Library including –
    • Career-related Articles/Blogs,
    • Career Services Fact Book,
    • Career Services Handouts,
    • On-Campus Recruiting;
  • Career Advice Videos;
  • Job Search Tools;
  • Résumé Creator Tools;
  • Career Event Schedules;
  • Access to the Campus Career Coach; and
  • Other resources.

Also available are helpful staff to provide guidance to you through your career search journey. I was able to update my résumé using the online tools and get valuable coaching to improve it for professionalism and marketability.

Part of my separation package from my former employer included several months’ subscription to a commercial career services firm. My experience comparing the two: the for-profit company and the Salem State University CSO? Point for point I found the Salem State University CSO to be as valuable to me as the very expensive commercial service.

The only thing I will say is that the staff at Salem State University CSO is in the head space of helping undergraduate and graduate students. Especially when conversing remotely especially via email with the specialist, an adult job seeker needs to make sure that the person understands your adult job seeker context and needs. Once you’ve established the proper working relationship the results will be exceptional.

My results were that after going through the process I decided that independence was what I seek. After many job applications, cover letters and interviews I founded my own business. 

Had I not gone through the job seeker processes supported by the resources of the Salem State University CSO, I may not have been so secure in my choice. Also, founding my business is not the end. Who knows what the future holds?

For this reason the Salem State University CSO will never be in my past. I keep my profile fresh. I log on periodically to see what new opportunities may become available. As a potential employer there are tools that give access to a substantial pool of well-educated, talented and motivated employee prospects.

Salem State University CSO has become a part of my professional regimen. If you haven’t discovered this unique resource and this valuable benefit of your membership in the Salem State University Alumni community, check it out. As Salem State University CSO for me, you will discover it to be yet one more value that Salem State University brings to your life. 

Best regards,
Salem State University Alumni Association Board of Directors member-at-large

Friday, September 11, 2015

Viking Voices - As I Join the Salem State University Alumni Association Board of Directors

Wednesday evening I started an exciting new journey as I attended my first meeting as a member of the Salem State University Alumni Association Board of Directors. I am one of five new members-at-large each serving two-year terms. Other new members Mary Bertrand '13, Daphne Georges '10, Janet Merriman '82, Timothy P. Shea '83G, and Dr. Hope M. Watt-Bucci and I join the sitting board members in service to fellow alumni and the institution.

It is going to be a very exciting new academic year with lots of opportunities for fellow alumni to join in celebration of our community. Events for the Alumni Association start off strong with Athletes Weekend. Kicking off the weekend beginning Friday evening September 25 is the Annual Celebration of Giving

The event is being held in the innovative multi-function rotunda in the gorgeous new Viking Hall located at central campus. Salem State annual donors, our Sullivan Society ($1,000+) donors, Alpheus Crosby Society members, consecutive year donors, and first-time donors will be honored. Thank you to all who have contributed to the Campaign for Salem State University. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at this great event.

Athletes Weekend continues Saturday, September 26, with a full day with the Alumni Games followed by the Athletes BBQ. If you are an athletic alumni and would like to join with former teammates in a spirited afternoon of competition on campus, check out the web page to learn how you can participate.

Sunday, September 27, continues the action featuring a Fun Run/Walk sponsored by St. Jeans Credit Union. Join the Viking community for an exciting scenic run/walk that explores the Salem State campus. If you haven’t been to campus recently, you owe it to yourself to come and experience the amazing transformation. Visit the website to learn how you can participate, get your commemorative t-shirt and join the post-race BBQ.

Interested in helping? The Salem State University Alumni Association can use your participation. We need people to man water stations, give directions and join us for an enjoyable day. For information on how you may help call or write (978.542.7530,

St. Jean's Credit UnionThank you to St. Jean's Credit Union for your support of this event and your commitment to the intuition and the Salem State University Alumni Association. This is the second year St. Jean's Credit is sponsoring the Fun Run/Walk and is part of their ongoing support for Salem State University Alumni and the goals of the university.

Athletes Weekend concludes with the Alumni Athletes Golf Tournament & Dinner. Interested alumni foursomes and individual player participants can learn more at the website.

Not a golfer? Join fellow alumni for the dinner.

Thank you to sponsors ChartwellsBoston PrivateDimeo, and Salem Glass for supporting this major event.

There are many other things happening for fellow alumni who wish to be involved.  For those Salem State University alumni interested in social work, nursing and occupational therapy, the month of September also features an event sponsored by the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.  

On the evening of September 21, “An interprofessional team of three educators from social work, nursing and occupational therapy present the educational model they have developed for graduate students at Salem State University. They will highlight the students’ experience of the model as they apply it to practice settings where care coordination is critical.” Please visit the website for more information.

September is just the beginning of a jam packed year of events.  Highlights for the alumni community include October starting off in true Salem style on  October 1, with participation in the Haunted Happenings Parade:
o   Gather - Shetland Park 29 Congress Street, Salem
5-6 pm Arrival
6:30 pm Parade Start
o   Viking Pride After Party
7:30-9:30 at the Salem Wax Museum
288 Derby Street

Later alumni events in 2015 include:
  • an opportunity to meet the Director Center for Civic Engagement, Monday, October 5, 2015 11 am-1 pm, MLK Room, Ellison Campus Center;
  • the School of Graduate Studies Open House takes place Saturday, October 17, 10 am-12 pm, Central Campus; 
  • School of Social Work Open House is Monday October 19, 4 pm– 8 pm, 287 Lafayette Street, Salem;
  • #GivingTuesday is Tuesday, December 2; and
  • the annual Salem State University Alumni Association Holiday Party is Thursday, December 3, 4 pm– 8 pm.

I hope to see many of my fellow alumni at these upcoming events and over the next two years of my tenure as Salem State University Alumni Association Board of Directors member-at-large.

Best regards,