Spotlight – Judith Clare, Bryant University
Judy earned BS in Education from Bryant University, a Masters in Education from Rhode Island College and CAGS in Counseling from Rhode Island College. She has been at Bryant University for 28 years and in her current role for 19 years.
What was your career path to get your current role? My first job was teaching at a public high school for three years. I then stayed home with my two children for six years and then had the opportunity to teach part-time at the college level as an adjunct faculty. This was a terrific opportunity for me. It allowed me pursue a career and still have a lot of time to be with my children. Ten years later, when my oldest child turned 16 and was able to drive himself to after school activities, the timing was right for me to work full time and enter the field of career counseling, which was my goal. I began as a career counselor and eventually became Director of the Career Center at Bryant University nine years later.
What was your first job? My very first job was working at a department store in the junior sportswear department when I was 16 years old. I loved it!
Why did you choose this career? I enjoyed working with college students while teaching at the college level and wanted to stay working with that population. So I combined this love for working with young people and my counseling degrees and made my way into the career services field. The college years are a wonderful time where students explore the world of opportunity that is available to them, and I am so appreciative to be a part of this process for so many college students. For me, it doesn’t get any better than this!
What is the skill that is most important in your current role? Communication — including listening, empathy, patience and clarity. These skills have been very important in building bridges across campus and building the Amica Center for Career Education’s team.
How did you develop this skill and how do you fine-tune it regularly? Having advanced degrees in counseling has certainly helped, but I have always recognized the importance of fine-tuned communications skills as being integral to my success as a manager. I have also learned a lot through many years of experience in my former and current positions along with the many professional and non for profit boards that I have served on.
Did you hold any EACE leadership roles? I have chaired several EACE committees, chaired a conference and served on the board. With each role I have met wonderful colleagues who have become personal and professional friends. It is so important to have a network of colleagues in your field to share your thoughts with and obtain feedback from. Just this week I heard from two Boston area directors that I first met through EACE who were asking for my thoughts on a couple of new initiatives each were considering.
What is your biggest career accomplishment? While teaching at the college level, I accepted the challenge of writing a textbook on business communications. It was not an easy task — I remember writing while my children were napping and at night when they were tucked in bed. Of course, seeing the finished product once completed and getting it published was very rewarding, although not something I was interested in doing a second time! Another “biggest” accomplishment was receiving the EACE (at that time it was ECEN) Outstanding College Member Award of the Year”. There is nothing as rewarding as being honored by your peers. That was definitely a professional highlight! And still a third accomplishment was starting my career services career in a two person department and playing an integral role in taking it to the successful, well respected career education center that it is today!
What is your advice to students looking for their first job? Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way to interact with a professional, particularly a Bryant alum. In addition to networking events, now there is the added bonus of networking through social media. Join your college’s Linkedin Alumni Group and join groups in your field of interest! Don’t take the first job that comes along if you have doubts that it’s not right for you — remember, you get what you settle for!
What is your advice to young professionals in the field who aspire to your current role? Continuously strive to build bridges within your field and within your organization. Take advantage of every opportunity that is available to you. Develop an insatiable desire to continuously learn new skills and gain new knowledge. Offer to serve on committees. Be the person who others admire. If you “make things happen”, it won’t be long before you are identified as someone who adds value to your institution and new opportunities will be presented to you. Set goals and reach for them!
What was the best career advice you have ever received? Join EACE (formerly ECEN) and get involved!
What would you like colleagues to know about your organization? Bryant University is a wonderful institution. It has a very strong sense of community with 90% of our students living on campus and very strong academic programs. The Amica Center for Career Educations’s team is the best! They are all seasoned professionals who are enthusiastic, excellent counselors and provide wonderful service to our students. I feel so fortunate to have the pleasure of providing leadership to this team. I absolutely love my job and love being at Bryant. Every day that I come up the University’s long driveway, I remind myself how fortunate I am to a part of Bryant’s 150 years of success.