Spotlight – Matthew Brink, University of Delaware
Career Services Director, University of Delaware
Matthew earned his undergraduate degree from Messiah and his Master’s degree from Villanova University. He has been in his current role with the University of Delaware for 3.5 years.
What was your career path to get your current role? Director of Career Development and Transformative Learning at Saint Joseph’s University, 1999 to 2010. I held three different positions from 1989 to 1999 as part of the Career Development Bi-College office for Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges as follows: Associate Director, Bryn Mawr office (3 yrs) Assistant Director, Bi-Co (3 yrs) Career Counselor, Bi-Co (3yrs) Acting Assistant Director and Graduate Assistant, Career Planning Office, Swarthmore College, 1987 – 1989. Prior to work in the field I was an actor, Agapé Players, Lake Whales, Florida.
What was your first job? I had four first jobs. 1) My first job in high school was as a Pin Chaser at a Bowling Alley. 2) My first job in college was as an Actor; I took a year off after my freshman year to give it a try. 3) My first after college was as a truck driver for the Army Corp of Engineers; this allowed me to wait for the love of my life to graduate from college (were now married 28 year). 4) My first job after graduate school was at Swarthmore College as Acting Assistant Director.
Why did you choose this career? With regard to my work life, nothing brings me more joy than to facilitate meaningful and productive engagement between student, alumni and employers. Contributing to the launching of careers is a wonderful thing. I think everyone should try it.
What is the skill that is most important in your current role? The skill I use most often is listening. That’s not to say I’m very good at it. However, I find over and over again that when I don’t listen things go poorly. When I do listen, good things happen. I think this speaks to the idea that most meaningful human connections are a result of genuinely listening to another person. Listening is the basis for understanding and the start of relationship, collaboration and partnership. These three things are fundamental to the work of career services professionals.
How did you develop this skill and how do you fine-tune it regularly? Any skill I have developed as a listener formally started during graduate school at Villanova. Since then, I have tried to hone this skill by observing good listeners around me.
Did you have a mentor? I have had several mentors at different stages in my career. The advice and insight I received from each of them have had a lasting impact on my life and career. I would like to name a few of them. Stanley Brink, Carolyn Brink, Liza Jane Bernard, Linda Lelii, Michael Gilbert and Dawn Thompson.
Did you hold any EACE leadership roles? Yes, I have held a few EACE board positions and committee positions over the course of my career. Volunteering for EACE afforded me tangible and practical professional development experiences enhancing my career back at the office. I strongly encourage folks to get involved with EACE.
What is your biggest career accomplishment? I liked being a part of establishing the Idealist.org, Not-for-Profit Career Fair back in the early 2000′s. Idealist eventually dropped out of the partnership, but not before Nancy Dudak (Villanova) and I worked together to keep it going. Given our field is generally criticized for underserving students with career aspirations in this area, it was particularly fulfilling to be apart of founding an event still going strong today.
What is your advice to students looking for their first job and young professionals in the field who aspire to your current role? My advice to students is best expressed by the following Brendan Francis quote, “Use your talent it in every way possible. Don’t hoard it. Don’t dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke.” In doing this, people around will recognize the passion you bring to your career and reward you for it.
What was the best career advice you have ever received? It came from my Mom who said, “Get out of Ripon.” Ripon is my hometown in Wisconsin, which at the time had a population of 6,027 and no stoplights. I took her advice. Thank you Mom.
What would you like colleagues to know about your organization? I have the privilege of working with amazingly talented, accomplished, fun and unique individuals all of whom share a common goal which is to facilitate meaningful and productive engagement among students, alumni and employers. If you are ever in the Newark, DE area please let me know, as I would love to show you around. I am available by email at email@example.com.
Matthew visited his career center while in college.