Leading with Purpose: A Recipe for How to be a Catalyst for Change
EACE Blog contribution by Angelique Torres Kim, Associate Director of Employer
Have you ever had the opportunity to influence others and be a catalyst for change towards a common purpose?
Anyone can be a leader and a catalyst for change. As leaders in our profession, we have the ability to make an impact in the lives of those we serve every day, whether it be students who are looking for work, employers that are looking to hire talent, or even faculty who are looking for new ideas for pedagogy. Change may be needed to better serve others.
In 2014, I set out on a mission: to open doors with a department that our office had not worked with previously by integrating career conversations and employers in the academic experience in creative ways. Based on the book The Catalyst Leader:
8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker by Brad Lomenick, here are five ingredients in the recipe for how to be a catalyst for change:
Prepare to Jump: Taking that first leap to reach out to a department that had not worked with your office before takes courage. Often times, that initial first step may be the most difficult. Don’t be afraid to send that email or make that phone call. I reached out to a major student club president and her faculty advisors to schedule an introductory meeting during the summer.
Find your uniqueness and unleash the real you: Once you make contact and schedule a time to speak, you have to be able to communicate the unique value added that you will be able to offer. Be authentic in your communication with others. No fakes are allowed. Know what you can offer, and share that message. In my case, I had connections with specific organizations that happened to be on the radar of this department.
Be passionate and anchor in your convictions: I love the work that I do, and I am intentional in demonstrating that passion when I interact with others. Communicate the why of what you are trying to accomplish through humility, discipline, and integrity. I clearly stated that I wanted to build a stronger relationship with this department to make connections that would be mutually beneficial for all groups involved.
Draw from partners: Identify those few key individuals that will be able to open doors for you within the department and who are willing to work with you. Often times, I have found these individuals to be advisors of student groups. From there, your network will grow. Once I met with the student club president and advisors, I was then able to get referrals to additional players to meet with including the chair and two additional faculty members.
Make excellence a non-negotiable and build toward a better tomorrow: Be optimistic with what you are trying to accomplish and take risks. Be the best that you can be and be inclusive in the process. Push forward no matter how much effort is entailed and be persistent towards delivering results. For anyone who has had experience in the event coordination realm, you can relate to the amount of logistics and detail-oriented work involved.
In one year, our office has gone from very limited interaction with this department to the following:
1 student tour
1 joint employer visit
3 student club presentations (including one with an employer)
2 Twitter chats
6 class presentations (including 7 employers)
Looking ahead, we are already having conversations on collaborating on a major event that the department sponsors. Leading with purpose has been a catalyst for change and has produced fruitful outcomes. Which of these ingredients will you cook up in your recipe within your institution?
Angelique Torres Kim was a Recruiter in the University Relations space in the private sector. She is now the Associate Director of Employer Relations with Salem State University. Prior to joining the Salem State Team, Angelique was the Employer Outreach Specialist at Endicott College within the Career Center where she built the foundation for the Employer Outreach Initiative. She has served on the Board of the Career Counselors Consortium, Northeast and currently serves on the Road Trips to the Real World and Professional Exchange Visits Committees through the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE). She presented during the EACE Annual Conference in May 2013. Angelique holds her MA in Organizational and Corporate Communication from Emerson College.
Angelique is a connector and has a passion for helping others by making connections that fulfills the needs of both students and employers.