Rise and Thrive

by Samantha Haimes

Samantha Haimes won the 2016 NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award.

Last summer was a bit of a personal and professional whirlwind for me. Within two months, I left a job that afforded me growth, opportunity, and some of the best co-workers I could ever imagine, took my dream trip to southern Italy (let’s chat if you need any convincing on taking this trip for yourself), and moved to a new state, 1,700 miles from my friends and family in south Florida. In the midst of all of this, I also achieved one of my biggest professional accomplishments to date: receiving the NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award at the 2016 NACE Conference & Expo.

Since beginning in career services about six years ago, I have enjoyed learning about the recipient of the Rising Star. Perhaps it is because some of the people I admire most in our field have won this in years past (they know who they are, I gush over their accomplishments and amazing personalities everytime I see them). But I think it is also because there is something really motivating and inspiring to me about professionals getting recognized for strong leadership and contributions to our field, even just a few years into their career.

Contributions to the field… only four to seven years in? It may sound like a tall order, especially if you’re newer to the field. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there have been [many] moments when I’ve questioned myself: Am I significantly contributing to the field?  I am not running my own department or division. I am not single-handedly restructuring an office or offering consulting services to other career centers. Am I making significant contributions?

But what I’ve realized is, there is so much that goes into making positive, impactful, and meaningful contributions to the field career services. Among many things, being a leader in this field also has a lot to do with the way that you carry yourself, your willingness to learn and take risks, the relationships you strive to build, and your ability and openness to reflect.

As I said, I have always enjoyed hearing about what has influenced the path of past recipients, as I’ve tried to apply some of those things to my own professional practice. So when asked to write this blog post, I thought it was only appropriate to share a few tips of my own that I strive for each day.

Ask questions. This is something I actively work on. The Achiever in me loves to get things done, so it can be easy to just start tackling a problem or issue at work without asking critical questions. Newer professionals may sometimes shy away from asking questions as well, concerned that it might appear they lack knowledge, skills, or moreover that they are questioning something inappropriately. However, we have to get past all of this and realize that taking the time to ask well-thought-out questions will actually yield greater results. Not to mention, you will seem that much more engaged in whatever you’re working on in your office and will likely make others feel comfortable to ask questions themselves. One of my mentors taught me a lot of lessons in asking questions. I notice that whenever I ask for her advice or guidance, she doesn’t actually give me the answer. She simply asks me questions until I process things out enough to make my own decision. It’s tricky, but effective!

Become your own advocate. Throughout the earlier years of my career, I had a lot of difficulty asking for things that I wanted. I never wanted to appear selfish and I definitely did not want to inconvenience or bother anyone. This all came from a good place, but can be a debilitating mindset to take on as a professional. Just because you know what you want and ask for it, doesn’t mean you are being selfish—if you ask for it in the right context.

Funny enough, I learned a big lesson in this area when it came to attending the NACE conference. In 2013, the conference was just a few hours from my then-home in Miami and I was dying to go. The trouble was, sending me to the conference would be costly and I knew some key players in my office were already attending. At one point in my career, I would have accepted this as defeat, assumed I couldn’t attend, and felt disappointed as I followed the conference on social media later in the year. But instead, I printed out the conference program, outlined specific goals, and went through each session identifying which I would attend and the direct contributions I could make to the office after attending. I made my “pitch” to the executive director and left his office feeling exhilarated. There was something so energizing about making my case. I almost didn’t even care what the outcome was because at the end of the day, I knew I had done everything I could to try and attend. I reference this example, so many years later, because it was truly a turning point for me. It afforded me a level of professional confidence and maturity that made me realize the importance and impact of advocating for myself. Whenever I find myself feeling intimidated to ask for something, I think of the feeling I had when I left his office (and the subsequent feeling when he approved me to attend later that week) and channel that same energy.

Be genuine. We are lucky to work in a field with some outstanding professionals who are even more amazing people. Getting to know your colleagues as individuals and not just for their roles is an all-around strategy that will help you accomplish more in your work and likely help you enjoy everyday at the office even more. It is so important to stay genuine to who you are. I really believe people can tell the difference between someone who is genuine and someone who is being fake—we’ve all seen it right? I show people the real Samantha, pretty much right up front. I have a lot of energy and passion, I’m upbeat and positive, and dare I say it, am a bit of a raging extrovert. The relationships I’ve built, with colleagues and mentors within my own departments and across the country, are in large part thanks to my willingness to be my genuine self in front of others. Think of someone who you would describe as genuine in your life. Chances are, you likely enjoy their company, trust their judgement, and appreciate their character, confidence, and communication style. If you break each of these things down, aren’t these all qualities we want from the people we work with? Be genuine yourself and you’ll attract others who are genuine.

Practice gratitude. Maybe I am influenced by all of the resolutions of 2017, but I think that gratitude is something we may not always think about when it comes to the workplace. But we have a lot to be thankful for. We work in a field that makes a lasting impact on students’ lives, has consistent national attention, and is filled with inspiring innovators and thought-leaders for us to all look up to. Hopefully you work in an office where the work that you are doing day-to-day is something to be thankful for, along with your colleagues, co-workers, and supervisors. I would advise that whether you are a newer or more seasoned professional, making a conscious effort to practice gratitude in the workplace can be a gamechanger. It is easy to get caught up in the “busy season” and anxiously await for summer and holiday breaks when things slow down. But isn’t the business of it all what makes us thrive? Without students on campus, none of us would have these roles.

In 2016, when I knew there was the potential for some personal and professional change in my life, I made an intentional effort to start each day with a grateful heart. Well, I challenge everyone, including myself, to start each workday with a sincerely grateful mind. When you go into work, and you have a busy day with back-to-back Outlook calendar invites, I guarantee there is still something to be grateful for. Maybe you finally secured a meeting with a faculty member you’ve been trying to get in front of, or perhaps you’re hosting a new program in partnership with a student organization that could lead to something great. Whatever the case may be, adopting this mindset can have a positive lasting impact not only on the work that you produce, but on your professional reputation and brand.

In the end, strive to thrive. You know your role better than anyone, so challenge yourself in this next year to thrive as a career services professional. As I now settle into my new home in Vermont, post conference and post Rising Star, I am consistently striving to thrive as a professional, thrive in relationships I build with both new and existing colleagues, and thrive in my own self-reflection.

The NACE Awards honor members’ outstanding achievements in the career services and HR/staffing professions. Excellence Awards are judged on program needs/objectives, content, design, creativity, innovation, measurable outcomes and ease of replication. Win honors and recognition for yourself, your staff, and your organization. Awards submissions close January 31, 2017. Details: http://www.naceweb.org/about-us/awards.aspx.

Samantha HaimesLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthaghaimes
Twitter: @sghaimes

Samantha Haimes is a career services professional with a passion for connecting and educating both students and employers. She works in marketing and communications at Middlebury College’s Center for Careers and Internships. Prior to her current position, she was employed at the University of Miami in various roles at the Toppel Career Center, most recently as the Associate Director for Career Readiness. She earned a master of science in higher education from the University of Miami and a bachelor of arts in advertising and public relations from the University of Central Florida. She has also worked at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

3 Tips to Build a Better Talent Community

by Trong Dong

In the world of HR, a “talent community” is no longer an unfamiliar term to recruiters. Why? Because employers want to find the most qualified and fit talent, and talented candidates want to get the best jobs, but candidates do not necessarily find the best job for them at the time they visit an employer’s’ website. A talent community is a medium enabling employers to connect with candidates who don’t see an immediately available opportunity with the company. It’s a hub where candidates can submit their information to a company without committing to a specific position.

Not only do talent communities help employers find candidates who are truly interested in the company, but they also capture the most qualified candidates who may be ideal fits for an organization. Liane Wuthrich, assistant manager at Famous Footwear, said, “A company’s talent community could be your most valuable resource. It saves you time, money, and helps you find not only good employees, but great employees.”

Improving talent communities is a necessary tool for recruiters to hire the most talented candidates for their firms. Here are the three tips to keep in mind to help you build a better talent community.

Think like a marketer

In order to come up with an effective engagement strategy with candidates, employers need to think and act in terms of marketing. They need to ask basic marketing questions such as, “How do I develop four Cs (consumption, curation, creation, and connection) of content marketing?” “Who are my target audience and how can I reach these people?” and “How can I make myself visible so that people can follow me?”

Answering these questions will help talent community builders better develop a top-of-mind brand marketing strategy. This strategy includes having a good content marketing plan that engages talent communities with relevant articles and makes people think about the companies. It also involves an effective segmentation plan that categorizes your target audience into groups based on geography, age, gender, or fields of pursuit (IT, nursing, public relations, etc.) so that you can send relevant and targeted information to each prospect.

Given the heat of social media availability nowadays, it is essential to expand your accessibility on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Social media is an ideal tool for sourcing and advertising, thereby assisting talent communities to attract and encourage candidates to follow their companies.

Encourage referrals

Companies rely on internal referrals to have a successful talent community. A big accounting firm like Ernst & Young set ambitious internal goals to increase the proportion of hiring that come from internal referrals. Larry Nash, director of experienced and executive recruiting at Ernst & Young said, “Although Earnst & Young looks at every résumé, a referral puts them in the express lane.”

The benefits of having internal referrals are promising. The inside perspective of current employees will help referred candidates better understand the company culture and the demands of the position. Thus, it should come as no surprise if referred candidates stay twice as long as others.

The most recent CareerXRoads Source of Hire Report showed that referrals are effective, weighing in at the #1 spot for sources of hires.

Always leverage the long-term value of your community

Having a strong talent community is nice, but maintaining and taking advantage of it over time takes extra effort. In order to exploit the maximum benefits of your talent community and enhance members’ commitment, I recommend the three R’s steps—reduce, reuse, recycle.

  • Reduce: Communicate with members consistently to reduce costs in advertising jobs. Try sharing job opportunities directly with candidates.
  • Reuse: Re-use candidates who have not been hired, but prove potential for the current open positions.
  •  Recycle: Use candidates who are not qualified for one position for other possible positions, thereby keeping them engaged with the community.

I recommend applying these three steps to improve your talent communities and hire the most talented candidates out there. What other methods would you suggest to better talent communities?

Trong DongTrong Dong, CEO/CTO at Rakuna
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tddong
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trongdong

 

 

 

The Impact of Career Services in the University Classroom

by Jane Christianson

As a career adviser in higher education, working with a primarily adult-learner student population, one of my favorite ways to interface with the students is through giving short workshops in on-site classrooms. Not only does it give a larger group of our students initial exposure to campus career services, it also serves as a great way to engage students to further explore the benefits of working with us throughout their undergrad or graduate degree pursuits. It is a privilege to be invited by instructors to address their classes by sharing relevant, career-oriented topics via an informative and interactive classroom presentation.

In order to be invited into the classroom, I have established a rapport with key faculty by reaching out to them at both our quarterly faculty/staff meetings and at our “first night” meetings as each one-month course begins. By letting faculty know the types of useful presentations or mini-workshops I can provide, I have proactively encouraged the possibility of addressing students in their classroom.

With the increasing employer-mandated importance of soft skills in the workplace, career services plays a unique role in instructing and advising students regarding practical, career readiness and research skills within the academic setting.

My primary directive is to assist students and graduates with professional and career development, and it has been truly rewarding to witness the excitement that students express after participating in my classroom career services presentations. Using concise outline-style handouts, short PowerPoint presentations, and active role-playing, I have successfully trained students in general education, prenursing and nursing, teaching, special education, counseling psychology and business degree programs.

Several of my peers have expressed that the typical faculty-invited career services classroom presentation is about 10-15 minutes, so I am especially grateful that I have been engaged for 45-60 minute presentations on an ongoing basis. It has proven to be a fulfilling, collaborative and effective partnership with our campus faculty!

Bringing career services into the classrooms has increased the visibility of our Student Resource Center and has enabled me to establish strong credibility and rapport with the students as well. The payoff is that these classroom presentations have made a positive impact on the students as they have shared their delight in knowing that career services can truly assist them in their career endeavors.

Did I also mention it’s been lots of fun??

jane christiansonJane Christianson, Career Adviser – Fresno/Bakersfield, CA Region National University

 

The Season of Giving: How to Give Back to Your Association and Colleagues

by Kathleen Powell, NACE President

It’s that time of year: The postal service is delivering solicitations from your favorite charities, which ask that you give back to your community and causes. In the spirit of the holidays, I’m asking that you think about an easy way to give back to your professional community—NACE—by updating your profile in MyNACE.

It’s free, it’s easy, and, quite candidly, I’m eager to see your faces! Yes, I did it (completed my profile, including a photo) and hope you will, too.  I’m asking you to not only upload your photo to your profile (available through MyNACE) , but also to check your profile to make sure the information is accurate and provide missing information.

Why is this important? There are more than 11,000 members in our community, and I have a goal of getting to know as many of you as humanly possible. The best way for me to know you and know more about you is to put a name and a face together.

Beyond that face-name connection, any demographic information you provide, including gender and race/ethnicity (optional, of course!), will help us gain a better understanding of who we are, and that will help us better plan for addressing your needs through products, services, and professional development offerings.

In the spirit of the season—being grateful for those around us and wanting to give back, whether it be to colleagues, co-workers, friends, and family—I’m hoping your practice will be to give back to your professional community and update your profile information.

Do we need a thermometer to gauge our success or a challenge to showcase results?  I’m not certain of either of those ideas (although my personal goal is to get 100 percent in 100 days!).  What I am certain about is your dedication and commitment to our profession and to NACE as your association. Our association runs on our membership: Members raise their hands to serve on committees, present at conferences, serve on panels, attend roundtables, blog, participate in professional development, and so much more. I ask that you “raise your hand” one more time by updating your profile.

In closing, I want to express my gratitude to you for the work you do and the support you give NACE.

Kathleen PowellKathleen Powell, Associate Vice President for Career Development, College of William & Mary
2016-17 NACE President
Twitter: @powellka
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kathleenipowell/

 

 

Why Differences Are Everything When It Comes to Recruiting Top Talent

by Kenneth Bouyer, EY Americas Diversity & Inclusiveness Recruiting Leader

Swinging the door open to recruit top, diverse talent is important, but what’s more important is ensuring that the culture behind that door is one that is welcoming, inclusive, and supportive. At EY, our diversity and inclusiveness recruiting strategy is comprehensive. From differences in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, work experience, physical ability, and military status, we are always improving our efforts to attract the best talent with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences that can thrive in our culture.

It’s not a mystery that diversity in professional services is an overarching problem; however, we know in order to achieve the best outcomes for our clients, we need to engage diverse students. In fact, research from professors at University of Michigan and McGill University, respectively, shows that multicultural teams, when managed well, tend to be more creative and innovative, and produce the best results for clients. At EY, we have also seen first-hand how diverse teams perform better and help us create more innovative solutions for clients, so the goal of our inclusiveness recruiting program is to inspire students who are different.

So how do we make sure we are driving diversity and access? Through collaborations with universities, we are able to raise awareness of our industry with high school students by providing them with unique EY opportunities and programs throughout their academic careers. We focus on the university level to help change the landscape and increase the pool of diverse students while fostering an inclusive atmosphere so students are better prepared to enter the global work force. We also create specific programs that address every part of the recruiting pipeline, particularly areas where we sometimes lose candidates for a number of reasons. In order for our efforts to be sustainable, it requires that every one of our recruiters and hiring managers think, act, and recruit inclusively.

I’m proud of our results this year. We hired more than 1,400 African-American and Hispanic students from campuses—up 40 percent from last year, we also hosted events such as our Women in Tech Consulting Conference exposing dozens of undergraduate and graduate students to the exceptional opportunities we offer, while hearing from several dynamic female leaders. EY also participated in the first Queer Women in Business Summit hosted by Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA), an organization we sponsor that educates and inspires LGBT MBA students at business schools nationwide. Additionally, we hired 300 veterans—an increase of over 75 percent from last year—and increased our Launch Internship Program (a multi-year program that focuses on underrepresented ethnic minority students who are business majors and are at least two years from graduation)—participation by more than 30 percent this year. We also continue to sponsor and participate in Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD).

And while we are continuously evaluating and measuring our program to see where we can improve, we are delighted with the recognition we have received along the way—from both our EY people and third parties. Internally, our 2014 Global People Survey tells us that more of our women and U.S. ethnic minorities felt that they have the flexibility to achieve their personal and professional goals when compared to our 2013 results. There was also notably higher feedback for several top factors that drive engagement that tell us things are moving in the right direction including, “I feel my contributions are valued,” and “I feel free to be myself.”

We are also particularly thrilled to be recognized for our efforts by NACE with the 2015 Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award. Being acknowledged for this special award is a testament to our focus on continuing to advance and nurture diversity and inclusiveness in our recruiting and hiring strategies. As we look to the year ahead, we will continue to work hard to increase the pipeline of ethnic minority students majoring in accounting, as well as broaden our initiatives to attract underrepresented minority talent to professional services. We will also continue to foster a culture where opinions matter, meaningful conversations are encouraged and our people always feel free to be themselves, as that is what truly drives engagement and helps us to achieve success.

For more information on EY’s diversity recruiting, please click here.

NACE is accepting submissions for the 2016 NACE Awards program from November 14, 2016, through January 31, 2017. Finalists for NACE Awards will be notified in the spring, and winners will be announced during the NACE 2017 Conference & Expo in June in Las Vegas.
Ken Bouyer

Kenneth Bouyer, EY Americas Diversity & Inclusiveness Recruiting Leader

Ken is the EY Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting. In this role, he is responsible for developing and implementing the global EY organization’s recruiting strategy to build and attract diverse and inclusive talent pools for member firms in the Americas.

Avoiding a Renege by Building a Relationship

by Susan Brennan

It’s a job seeker’s market for college students, with many returning from a summer internship with a job offer in hand—long before graduation. It’s a rosy scenario, except for the challenges it poses for both sides: Students are against the clock to accept or bow out gracefully, and employers are challenged to hold a new hire’s attention for nine months. But I have seen some creative and smart ways to avoid a renege.

A lot of companies are building retention plans that include multiple touch points from the time of the offer to the time a new employee actually fills the seat. It may be a simple gesture—sending a care package during final exams or a holiday card—or a larger commitment such as a monthly dinner. Either way, it’s about building a welcoming community from day one. Here’s what some of our corporate partners do to keep new hires in the pipeline:

Build purposeful relationships.

At PricewaterhouseCoopers, all new hires and interns are assigned a relationship partner, career coach, and peer coach. The relationship partner develops a trusting relationship with the new hire, provides insight on demonstrating high performance, and communicates the value of the PwC experience. The career coach proactively schedules time to meet with the new hire, provides ongoing career counseling, and communicates the importance of developing leadership skills. The peer coach establishes a relationship with the new hire so the individual can quickly feel comfortable contacting them with questions, supports their productivity by assisting them with tools needed to immediately begin adding value, and helps acclimate the new hire to the firm.

Hold networking events.

Networking programs provide a more casual opportunity to get to know colleagues and other new hires. Bentley students who have accepted or have an outstanding offer from Liberty Mutual, for example, are invited to attend “LMI Peer Connections.” It’s a platform to network and ask questions about career opportunities and decisions. (And free food is always a hit with college students.)

Get social.

Setting up an app or using social media is an easy way to keep candidates in touch with what’s going on at your company, and to allow them to ask questions. (I’ve see this as particularly useful if someone is relocating.) Using technology to bridge the gap is something that students are comfortable with, as they can do it on their own time: in the dorm room, on the bus, or in the cafeteria.

Create experiences.

Today’s candidates care about experiences. When EY has done campus recruiting at my university, for example, they’ve brought along a petting zoo. (Yes, real chicks, bunnies, and even a little pig). Some companies will make an offer over dinner at a nice restaurant. Whenever you get the chance to create experiences—big or small—do it. Taking the time to go that extra mile won’t go unnoticed. 

Be flexible.

If you have your heart set on a new hire, you may need to be willing to accommodate requests. If a candidate wants to accept an offer but already had plans to first spend six months after graduation doing meaningful work like Teach America, for example, perhaps it’s possible to defer a start date. You may even find ways to tie the experience into your company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Now some tips you can pass on to job seekers

Candidates can also follow some simple rules of thumb to help them decide whether an offer is right for them. (These may also be useful for employers to look at the other side.)

Do some soul searching.

At Bentley, our students actually begin the “soul searching” process during freshman year; but it’s still an ongoing, lifelong process. Identify your interests, passions, and personality. What’s going to keep you inspired and getting out of bed each day for work? Differentiate between logistical aspects of a job offer—salary, health benefits—and other opportunities like culture, mentors, educational reimbursement, and professional memberships. (Try to get away from expectations placed on you by family and friends.) 

Review the offer with career services.

Once you get a verbal or written offer, make an appointment with a career services professional at your school. They can review compensation and benefits, address any concerns, and discus appropriate next steps. (They can also guide you on offer etiquette—whether accepting or declining an offer—as most schools have policies on both.) 

Set (or re-set) your priorities.

Just because an employer didn’t pop open a bottle of expensive champagne during your job offer, it doesn’t mean that they don’t value your work. Companies have different policies they need to follow. Step back and think about the big picture: Is the company culture a good fit? Do they offer great benefits? Is there opportunity to grow? 

Ask for an extension.

If you aren’t sure whether to accept or reject an offer, companies are typically sensitive to giving you time to make an informed decision. If you have a month or two, for example, take that time to explore what else is out there. In the end, employers will respect the time you took in making a well-thought decision. But, remember, deadlines are set to give employers time to reach out to other candidates, so the sooner you break the news, the better for everyone. 

Have difficult conversations.

A student came to me with a job offer in hand; he loved the company but not the actual job he was offered. In a case like this, it’s okay to talk with the employer and explain that you would love to work for them, but perhaps in a different role. Just be sure not to wait until the last minute or send an e-mail. Pick up the phone and have a candid, respectful conversation. (A career services professional can guide you through these kinds of conversations.) 

One last note to employers.

In the end, a renege is sometimes unavoidable—and could even be a blessing in disguise: If a new hire has reservations about accepting the job, they will likely show up unhappy and may end up not performing well if their head isn’t in the game. 

The reality is that it’s a new world order and talented candidates are driving corporate strategy. But retaining the best and brightest during these competitive times is possible. Be solutions oriented, and you’ll negotiate a mutual win.

susan brennanSusan Brennan, Associate Vice President for University Career Services, Bentley University

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susansandlerbrennan
Twitter: @BentleyCareerSB
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/bentleycareer/?fref=ts
Website:  http://careeredge.bentley.edu/

Learning Through Heavy Lifting

by Tenley Halaquist

Recently, I was given the opportunity to attend a unique professional development event. Usually educational trainers attend conferences, webinars, or read articles for professional development, but this time I was expected to learn through a more physical means. The event is called GoRuck Tough. Rucking is a verb meaning “to put weight on your back and go for a walk.”  During the GoRuck Tough, you are expected to carry at least 30 lbs. (if you weigh over 150yes that is me) and hike for 15 to 20 miles over a 10- to 12-hour time span. The event I attended started June 24 at 9 p.m. and went until June 25, 9 a.m. There were 15 of us in the class.

starting with situps

 

Participants are “welcomed” with a series of exercises, including pushups, butterfly kicks, and burpees.

 

 

The event—designed to improve communication skills—started out with a “welcome party” which was pretty much military-style boot camp. We learned different casualty carries, crawls, and did plenty of push-ups, butterfly kicks, and burpees. Our first mission after the welcome party was to carry casualties using the fireman’s carry technique from one destination to the next in a certain time. Unfortunately, as a team we did not complete the mission, therefore we had a punishment exercise. Punishment exercises were expected after all unsuccessful missions.

burpeedemo

A burpee demonstration. Burpees are a combination of a squat that kicks into a pushup and ends with the participant standing.

 

The next mission was to complete 75 pull-ups as a team in an allotted time limit. We completed this task ahead of schedule.

After a nice brisk walk with my crew, we were asked by our cadre (GoRuck leader who is/was a leader in the armed forces and who communicates our missions) to stand aside while he looks for our “friend.” Upon his return, we then had to complete the hardest mission—carry a huge log found next to railroad tracks 2.5 miles through the city of Albany. This was a humbling experience for sure! For those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting Albany, it is on a hill. We had to carry this huge log up a hill through the middle of the city to get to our destination.

log lifting and carry

 

The group finds a log by the railroad tracks, then has to lift and carry the log uphill through Albany.

 

 

Our next mission was to find a target under the allotted time. Once the target was found (a fountain), we had to get in the fountain and complete water burpees until the cadre was satisfied. Following this activity, we then had another casualty mission. We needed to carry a casualty using a stretcher made of rope to our next destination in a time cap. We completed with flying colors. We then had a similar mission to the last where we needed to carry casualties using the rope stretcher method. Only this time, we had two casualties, the casualties needed to rotate every block, everyone had to be carried at least twice, and communication could not be used. The reason communication was taken away was to mimic silent attack missions in the military where they need to capture a target without anyone knowing. Unfortunately, we did not make it to our destination in time, so we had a punishment exercise (100 burpees).

 

middle of the night demoThe cadre was explaining the importance of effective communication and was sharing real life examples from his military career because we did not execute our first mission. We then had to perform our punishment exercise: 100 burpees.

We then walked a few miles with no mission and came upon a couple of military monuments. Our cadre talked about each one and gave us time to really look at them. After the last monument, we had one more mission to complete. We needed to carry five casualties using the fireman’s carry to our starting point under a time constraint. The casualties were to never touch the ground. We completed the mission by the skin of our teeth and did not have to complete the grueling “after party.” The “after party” is similar to the “welcome party,” but much worse.

After our group picture, we received our GoRuck Tough patches, hugged each other, and went our separate ways.

done

 

Finishing at daylight, group members hug each other and head home.

 

 

Our group walked a total of 18 miles. The whole purpose of the event was to work as a team, use effective communication techniques, and strengthen mentality. We learned that communication is crucial in completing tasks and that everyone may not understand the way your communication has been relayed. We constantly had to state and restate what we were doing in different ways to get everyone on board. We also learned that a human body is an incredible thing. Your body can withstand pretty much anything; you just need to train your mind to think the same thing.

Now you are probably wondering how this translates to my career at NACE. We communicate with people every day to make sure our events run smoothly and successfully. To do this, our communication needs to be precise and accurate so that everyone knows what we need done. Perseverance, persistence, and grit are some other qualities emphasized in this training. When one way did not work, we thought of other ways to complete our tasks. At NACE, we always have to think on our feet, keep options available, and keep pushing until we get it right. Again, this was a different professional development opportunity and I am glad I was able to learn so much from it.

Editor’s note: Tenley went on vacation after her GoRuck Tough experience.

Tenley HalaquistTenley Halaquist, M.Ed.
NACE Professional Development Associate