Somehow another Corvias Foundation Alumni Summit has come to an end! This weekend, alongside the NASPA conference, a large group of Corvias Foundation alumni were able to come together for a week of personal, professional, and philanthropic development. Sometimes it is difficult to explain exactly what Foundation summit’s are all about, but I think that it does boil down to our three P’s of relating to each other on a personal level, addressing a topic related to professional development, and doing something that aligns with our philanthropic goals. When it comes down to these three pillars, this year was definitely a success!
Our alumni flew in throughout the day on Friday to Las Vegas and all explored the city in their desired ways! Some went to events while others spent time in their rooms getting ready for the busy weekend, but we ALL took advantage of the delicious food that Las Vegas has to offer. The actual events of our trip started on Saturday when we brought our group of 39 alumni to Three Square to do our service project. The mission of Three Square is to provide food to those who are food insecure in the southern Nevada area, meaning that they are not assured three filling meals a day. They emphasized the idea that many assume that most of these people are homeless and elderly, but we learned that 62% of children are food insecure; I think this resonated well as many of us work with, or for, children in our alumni group. We took multiple different positions with some people doing “cardio” (aka lifting bags into a giant box to be distributed), those who packed different food items into the bags, some called “straighteners” who made sure that the bags stayed in line so that 72 bags could fit in each distribution box, and a few more. Our group, along with a few other volunteer groups, ended up preparing 573 bags for the over 271,000 food insecure people in the greater Las Vegas area!
Later that day we had our session with Selena Walckner, the HR specialist and “Talent Strategist” at Corvias. As always, she tailored our conversation to make sure that she told us the main points that were important to her but also addressed the questions we had and made sure we got what we wanted out of the session. She talked about a few large topics when it comes to HR and the professional world: what companies look for in a resume and how we can tailor ours to stand out, interview tips and tricks, and how important feedback can be, both negative and positive. I think that as our alumni group increases in maturity (aka age!), we are more receptive and appreciative of professional advice and opportunities for development. While many alumni are in steady jobs that they enjoy, many of us are on the hunt for a new job, trying to navigate laterally or upward in our current jobs, or searching for ways to improve their daily job performance and inspire coworkers to do the same.
In regards to resumes, Selena said point blank – be authentic, do not make your resume frivolous and difficult to read, and even if a past experience doesn’t seem relevant to the job you’re applying for, use the skills you’ve learned and show how they can be transferred to this opportunity. She also emphasized two concepts: one, refine and adjust your LinkedIn to be the best reflection of yourself and your accomplishments, and two, start making a list of your accomplishments whether they are things you have tangibly accomplished or things that other people have relayed to you. When you look back at your list, you can reflect on the things you did well, highlight them in your job hunt, and hopefully gain insight into things you can relay in an interview.
Interviewing was an area of interest of our group as many of us are joining the working world and you can’t really get a job without nailing an interview! It is important to remember that you are interviewing the place of employment just as they are interviewing you, and you want to make sure it is a good fit. It is important to learn of the culture and expectations while putting your best foot forward. She had a lot of experience with being an interviewer, and said that while tactical skills are important, the interviewer is really listening for your ability to engage, problem solve, demonstrate how you learned from your past experiences, your level of motivation, and your communication skills. She also acknowledged that in terms of salary requirements or expectations, many people refer to Glassdoor to see what a reasonable number would be for compensation, but suggested using Salary.com instead based on their business model differences.
Lastly, we talked about how to interpret feedback, whether it be positive or negative. First, it is important that you ask for feedback when you are ready to receive it and from someone from whom you will be able to constructively receive it. Sometimes feedback can hurt, especially if you are expecting something positive and instead receive something negative, but if you are seeking it out and ask someone that you respect or truly want to receive advice from, it will be handled in a better manner. In addition, if you seek out feedback instead of waiting for it to come to you, you are being proactive and acknowledging your areas of strength and weakness and come off as looking to better yourself. One great piece of advice she expressed was to carry around a notebook and take note of the feedback people give you; if you look back at your notes and ultimately see a trend, you could attempt to work on that on your own.
One quote that really stood out to me that she said was “You’re in the job you’re in – connect to that position until you’re not”. As someone who is undergoing a career change, I think this is very important. It is great to have a good resume and interviewing skills, but you have to also accept where you are at this point in time and allow yourself to live in the moment. If you are unable to accept your current place, you won’t appreciate what you went through once you get to where you want to be.
Saturday night we all enjoyed a night at the Rosina Bar where we were able to eat, drink, and socialize with each other. We had great conversation, were able to meet and hang out with the significant others who came to Vegas with their alumni, and enjoy our time together as alumni who are all in different places in life. It was a beautiful setting and we are all so thankful to the Foundation for allowing us to spend that time together!
Sunday morning we had our session that focused on the future of our alumni network. While we all agree that we enjoy getting together for alumni summits and spending time together in amazing locations, we have to look towards the future and adapt to a group that was once only a handful of people but is now growing by 10-12 people each year. We broke out into smaller groups and talked about how we can put our goals into action as alumni and then how we can better serve the scholars in our group. I won’t go into too much detail as those ideas and the information we gathered will be put into action and relayed to all Foundation scholars and alumni as things come together. As always, it was a time of brainstorming, being grateful for what the foundation has provided, and looking forward to what we can give back in return.
This event was a little unlike the others as we did not leave with a tangible idea of when we will all see each other again. Until then, this event was successful in filling our cups and connecting with one another until our next meeting. We are so grateful to John Picerne and the whole Corvias Foundation for their instruction, generosity, and guidance both over the years and into the future.