Spotlight – Amy Feifer, Haverford College
Assistant Dean/Director of Career Services, Haverford College
Amy received a BA in Classics from Franklin and Marshall College and a MS in Psychological Services, Graduate School of Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been at Haverford College for 25 years and in her current role for 7 months.
What was your career path to get your current role? Director of Haverford Career Services, Career Development – Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges; Senior Managing Director, Career Development – Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges; Associate Director, Career Development – Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges; Assistant Director of Career Services – Franklin and Marshall College; Career Counselor – Franklin and Marshall College; Admissions Counselor – Rosemont College
What was your first job? As an Admissions Counselor at Rosemont College. It was the perfect position to explore and contribute to higher education. And I learned so much personally, having to coordinate visits, interview prospective students, and travel on my own.
Why did you choose this career? I find it gratifying to empower students to find their passions. I enjoy developing relationships on an ongoing basis with students, over their four years and beyond. These relationships then continue as they become alumni who can help current students. Seeing students gain confidence in their skills and abilities, and secure diverse opportunities is rewarding.
What is the skill that is most important in your current role? Relationship-building: With campus partners – Alumni Relations/Development, students, faculty, colleagues; with external constituencies – alumni, employers, parents. You need to strategically think about these partnerships and relationships.
How did you develop this skill and how do you fine-tune it regularly? I developed and continue to develop this skill by reaching out and proactively communicating with all these different constituencies. Realizing the importance of relationships and partnerships, I always make sure to reach out to key people and offices in order to discuss ideas and ways to partner. I make it a priority to meet regularly with these different constituencies, whether it is an on-campus meeting or traveling to different cities. It is easy to get caught up in the things that need to get done day-to-day. However, it is very important to build these connections and relationships.
Did you have a mentor? Yes. When I was in college, I did a mini internship with the Director of my career office. I kept in touch with her after I graduated. When I went to grad school 2 years later, she had moved and was working in the Career Office where I was going to grad school. Lucky for me, she was able to arrange for me to do my required practicum with her and the office. This allowed me to contribute to and to learn first-hand about the field; most importantly, I had many opportunities to discuss ideas, issues and to gain insights about her perspective regarding the field. After grad school, we both moved on to and different institutions. After 4 years in my job, I learned there was an opening in her office. I have been fortunate to work with my mentor and friend for the past 25 years. I continue to value her insights, advice, expertise and knowledge of the field.
Did you hold any EACE leadership roles? I have held many leadership roles for EACE and this has been extremely valuable, both professionally and personally. The relationships I have developed with others, working on the Board and Committees towards common goals to support our profession, have helped me to develop many valuable skills. The connections, contacts and friendships I have made through EACE have kept me current in the field and enriched my life with wonderful interactions.
What is your biggest career accomplishment? Being in the field for so long, it is hard to pick one. Being the President of EACE is one of my biggest and proudest accomplishments. During that year, I successfully oversaw a 10 member board of directors, 40 committee chairs and our 1000+ member association. At that time (in 01-02), I supervised 3 employees, which gave me supervisory experience that I was not getting at work at the time. I led the short-term restructuring of administrative services and helped to restructure the Board to include a new position of a Technology Director. Meeting and collaborating with the 6 other regional/national associations (at the time) in order to collaborate on initiatives was beneficial to EACE. All while doing my day time job in a positive manner. I also think another important accomplishment I have achieved is helping numerous students launch their careers and begin their pathway on their journeys.
What is your advice to students looking for their first job? To remember this is the first step on their journey. Try to find something that is interesting and challenging to them. This first step will help them to learn more about themselves, to develop and strengthen their skill set, while contributing to an area of interest.
What is your advice to young professionals in the field who aspire to your current role? Take advantage of and proactively take on opportunities within your office and within your bigger organization. Whether working on a small team within your office or a committee for your campus/employer, you will gain valuable experience and develop positive relationships. Get active in professional associations, especially EACE. Volunteer to be on committees, and attend conferences and workshops. By volunteering you can expand your skill set more quickly than you may have the opportunity at work. For example, by leading a committee you can manage a budget and a team. By attending conferences, you learn about current trends in the field and have the opportunity to network with colleagues; those connections can be nurtured well after a conference, which expands your network.
What was the best career advice you have ever received? To keep up to date with your contacts and connections. Don’t just reach to your network when you are looking for a job. You both give and receive from your connections. Be genuine, provide advice when asked, and be open to developing deep, professional relationships.
What would you like colleagues to know about your organization? Our office has wonderful professionals who are extremely committed to our students and alumni, to our campus, to the field and profession, and are extremely innovative. We are always thinking of new and beneficial ways to help our students; we do that by building relationships with alumni, faculty, colleagues, and employers.
Amy visited her career center when she was in college.