Where They Are Now – Claire Benton, Workforce Boulder County
Lead Trainer & Employment Specialist, Workforce Boulder County
Claire obtained her B.A. in Women’s Studies and Outdoor Recreation at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She has been in her current role for a year now and in career services for 12 years.
What was your career path to get your current role? I began working as an Emergency Services Advocate after volunteering at a shelter during undergrad. I then worked as an Employment Specialist/Career Counselor in the nonprofit field (people with criminal backgrounds, on welfare assistance and dislocated workers). I then transitioned into higher education and worked with liberal arts students for 3.5 years and engineers for 6.5. I then had a very short stint in recruiting followed by the current job I have now as a trainer of career-related topics in the government sector.
What was your first job? My very first job was helping out my parents at their bait and tackle shop. I then worked my first “official” job as a ski and snowboard instructor.
Why did you choose this career? I really am not exactly sure how to answer that as it happened “organically” and I know for a reason as it is the perfect fit! I found a mentor in the field at the exact time needed and she assisted in making it all happen. I love working with and assisting people in navigating “all things career-oriented.”
What is the skill that is most important in your current role? A positive attitude; the ability to interact, assess, motivate, and teach job seekers with the necessary skills needed for their next steps; the ability to public speak; Belief in the system
How did you develop this skill and how do you fine-tune it regularly? Some of the skills needed come naturally, others were learned through my educational materials and practice and others are learned from mentors, co-workers, bosses and other professionals in the field through professional organizations, online groups, conferences, etc.
What is your biggest career accomplishment? My biggest career accomplishment is simply being able to do work that I LOVE. I enjoy coming to work every day and that to me means everything!
How many years were you a member of EACE? 8
What organization(s) and role(s) did you have when you were a member of EACE? Career Counselor at Vassar College and Assistant Director, Engineering Co-op & Career Services at Cornell University
Did you serve on the Board of Directors or as a Committee Chair? I served as a Committee Co-Chair for Diversity Advancement for a number of years, followed by Co-Chair of the Mentorship Committee and then a short stint with the Membership Committee.
How did EACE help you in your personal career development? EACE helped me develop professionally in so many ways! I was always able to call upon “seasoned professionals” regarding various topics from professional growth to how to handle certain work/life balance situations, etc.
Did you have an EACE Mentor or another member of EACE serve as your unofficial mentor? I had a number, I don’t even know where to start to be honest! I feel that so many members served in this role for me. Andrea Dine is and was my “official” mentor who got me involved right from the get go and continues to be my biggest supporter.
What is your advice to current EACE members who aspire to your current or a similar role to yours? Get involved! Reach out! Contribute! Smile and enjoy yourself!
Claire did not visit her career center when she was in college.