Thanksgiving is upon us. It’s hard to know this if you just look out of your Central FL window. We don’t get fall colors. No one is bundled up…anymore. That was yesterday. But thanks to social media, we get gratitude lists, turkey memes, and pictures of food. Even when it’s 80 degrees and not a single cornucopia in sight!

 

So here’s my list of what I’m thankful for this year. I no particular order…

 

Employers who supported us

This semester we started hosing Employer Panels and Showcases in the career classes. Employers jumped at the chance to participate. Yes, they are recruiting. Yes, they want to brand themselves. But the information they presented was awesome. “We hire for attitude and train the skills.” “Look, don’t apply for a job that you’re not qualified for. It really is that simple!” “Um, I majored in Film and now I run the office of a major company. Your major doesn’t matter.” “It really does come down to what you want to do, and what you’ve done to show that you can do it.”

 

We also partnered with the recruiting team at Hilton Grand Vacations to facilitate practice video interviews for over 400 students in GEB 4223. Aimee and her team put together a workshop for us, reviewed all the videos and provided students with individualized feedback. Why? Because they want to help!

 

Finally, Charlotte, Heide and the team at the Greater Orlando SHRM chapter kicked off what will become an awesome partnership. They hosted a networking activity for us, provided panelists, and mentored our student SHRM chapter. Next semester look for even more as they help us roll out some cool class activities and get involved in the Exchange.

 

Speaking of that, Tiffany and the Exchange

This semester we opened the Exchange and in like three weeks brought over 20 cool speakers to the college. Given we’re averaging 90ish students per presentation, that’s almost 2000 student attendees in a great space. And who organized that madness? Our friend Tiffany Hughes. She got some really cool people to come tell their stories, have awesome conversations, and try to get you to think about what you want to do. Yes, you might just go for points. But my evil plan is that at some point someone will say something that flicks a light on for you. It’s all magic from there!

 

Folks, y’all owe Tiffany a debt of gratitude as well. Not only does she organize over 100 events a year for us (including biggies like Welcome to the Majors and Hall of Fame), but she helped us come up with a check in process so you can all get credit, she signs up most of the speakers, she helps me set up activities like the mock interview at the Dean’s Advisory Board meeting, and she spends an inordinate amount of time talking me off the ledge. That last contribution is the one you should be most thankful for. I’d be a train wreck without my “Boo!”

 

Our Career Coaches

The other group that keep me sane and help me out are our Career Coaches. Yes, Kelly, Lindsay, Laura, and Emily left us. But Joshua and Cheryl have joined us as we look for a couple more folks to join our team. I still love this team and am a fortunate man to have this group of professionals around our students. Yes, we may face challenges, but don’t ever forget, “we’re winning!” We will continue to grow the career coaching program next year.

 

My Grad Assistants

This year I finally figured out how to hire and manage GTAs. I now have an awesome team of young people that work harder than any other group of grad assistants. No one has more students that they support. No one answers more questions. No one processes more work. Richie and Bobby are a great foundation. This semester we added Renee and Patricia and their Accounting expertise helped us figure out how to manage the Activity Verification Forms. I am VERY thankful for that!

 

Last but not least, my Students

Last week I had the coolest things happen. John L came up to me in the hall outside the office and said, “I just wanted to let you know that I have a job with Amazon when I graduate! I used what I learned and now I have a job!!” After that, Richard N came up to me at the front desk and told me that the company he works for was losing their government contract and he was losing his job. But it isn’t what he wants to do. So, he turned to his network. “I have a job in my field and will be working full time! I’m going to have to finish school part time, but this works out so much better for me and my family! Thanks for pushing us to network!”

 

Yesterday Alexis R overheard me talking about Les Miles.  After a long conversation about the insanity of firing the winningest coach in LSU history…yes, even more than that traitor Saban…she made me realize something.  Some days you’ll win everything.  That’s awesome.  It makes it easy to come to work.  But some days you might hit a slump.  Those are the days when you don’t give up.  It’s easy to quit or get fired.  But winners work though it.  You’re right Alexis.  You are SO right!!!  Seriously, my students are why I do this job.  I live vicariously through their wins, their wisdom, their enthusiasm.

 

I’m thankful for a lot of other things as well. You know who and what you are, I talk about you a lot here. Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Go be cool to each other.

 

Lonny

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