Newswise — SPOKANE, Wash. – Three members of Gonzaga University’s Board of Regents, one Trustee and senior Sara Wendland shared with students their best advice recently on “How to Rock the Workforce.” More than 150 invited undergraduates – sophomores, juniors and seniors – attended the April 8 presentation organized by the Board of Regents and Career Center and GAMP.
Regent Mike Reilly, a nationally recognized employment attorney, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Gonzaga, offered an introduction and emphasized the benefit of a Jesuit education – assuring students a Gonzaga degree provides all the fundamentals necessary for career success. Reilly urged students to “under-promise and over-deliver,” to frame problems in a positive manner, and to be persistent.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” Reilly said.
Regent Eileen Johnston, chief financial officer at Microsoft who earned a bachelor’s degree in business and finance at Gonzaga and an MBA from Stanford University, lauded Gonzaga’s tight-knight community and said the Career Center was instrumental in her success. She urged students to be mentally present, engaged and involved in their jobs.
“Learn to listen, it’s an art and you have to figure it out,” Johnston said. “Listen to learn, sponge, be curious.” In addition, Johnston urged students to learn as much as they can about the company, competition and industry; come to work early and stay late; make your boss look good; become indispensable; attend company social functions; and get a good mentor.
Regent Greg Bui, Nike vice president of manufacturing revolution, who earned a degree in broadcast communications from Gonzaga in 1988, suggested students do their work better than it needs to be done – saying “being average does not cut it.” Bui cited a willingness to learn as a key attribute to career success.
“It’s okay to be uncomfortable because you are going to grow and develop tenfold,” Bui said.
Sara Wendland shared with students her experience as an intern last summer at Nike, which resulted in a full-time job that she will begin this fall after she graduates in May with degrees in applied communication studies and sport management. Wendland urged students to be themselves, do the extra work, and remember to be grateful.
“The more I said thanks, the more I realized how much there is to be thankful for,” Wendland said, adding that a successful attitude represents a balance between being confident yet showing humility.
Jim Powers, a Trustee and partner at Powers Energy, an oil and gas exploration company in Williston, North Dakota, stressed the importance of people skills, building one’s network, treating everyone with respect, and creative thinking. Powers, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga in 1979, urged students to get involved in the Gonzaga Alumni Association, career-related trade associations, and charities.
Following the presentations, students asked the presenters questions and interacted with the Regents and Trustees in attendance. In addition, students were given a list of tips on “Rocking Your First Internship or Job.”