Introducing: The Career Curator

It has been over two decades since I joined the Career Services profession and I can genuinely say I still Love Mondays. Lately I have become more reflective about the gift of meaningful work. How did I end up in a career that gives me such satisfaction, joy and engagement? And how can I share the lessons I have learned from amazing colleagues, students and employers over these years? So, at the urging of one of my reverse mentor, David K., today I am officially launching my twice monthly blog, The Career Curator. As an obsessive reader and avid idea connector, my hope is that I can share the latest thinking and inspirational career-related concepts with you. Whether you are new to the career development field, an aspiring leader, or a job seeker, this blog is for you. I will cut out the clutter and connect the dots in ways that I hope will benefit both your career and your life. Books, Ted Talks, articles, and research have helped me to shape the strategic direction of our Career Education and Outcomes approach at Bentley University. And, I hope the ideas in this blog will help you as well.

So how did I get so lucky to find my home in career services? Let’s go back to that fateful day in 1997 when I first learned about an opportunity to work in this field that now defines who I am. At the time, I was working at the Hay Group in Boston as a Management Consultant. I loved consulting and only understand now just how much it played to my strategic, creative and influencing talents and strengths. Every day I learned from my colleagues and clients, all the while soaking up knowledge surrounded by brilliant and committed professionals. Things changed when my first son, Jake, was born. Suddenly the long days, travel, and client demands were overwhelming. Even though the firm agreed that I could work a four-day schedule, I lacked the competence and confidence to push back on deadlines or navigate the meritocracy of work-life balance.

Thankfully, at that time I had an amazing sponsor, Will, who helped me get through these challenges. When I was ready to abandon consulting, he pushed me to persevere and focus on the experiences, and subsequent career positioning to be gained. It was Will who called me 20 years ago and asked if I was ready for a career change. The Arthur D. Little School of Management (now Hult International Business School) was looking for a Career Services Director and he thought I would be a great candidate, meanwhile I had my doubts. While I had certainly taken advantage of Career Services during my education, I had never worked in the field and really had no idea how to build a program. However, as a human capital consultant, I understood how companies selected, developed and invested in talent. Thus, I knew that I could share those perspectives with students seeking career advancement. As they say, the rest is history.

I was hired as the Career Services Director and reported directly to the President of the school. My amazing students were 50 global professionals from 25 different countries who came to Boston for an intensive 11-month Master of Science in Management. They all had nearly a decade of experience and the expectation of a career springboard. I had no team, no legacy program, and, to be honest, no clue what I was doing. In the early days, I suffered from imposter syndrome and was sure that the President had made a big mistake in hiring me. But, once I realized that I could Dream Big, leverage the Collaborative Ecosystem, and Re-imagine Careers, I loved every moment. These same principles and cultural commitments drive me today, 20 years later, and have inspired me to share them with you.

I now know that career development is a team sport. The success of the program we have built at Bentley is a result of the incredibly talented group of colleagues I am fortunate to work with every day. And, as I reflect upon the arc of my career, relationships are the common thread. Thanks to my mentors, sponsors, and colleagues for an incredible journey. I look forward to sharing more lessons, curating more careers and helping spread the Love Mondays mantra in the weeks and months ahead.

     

 

By Susan Sandler Brennan
Susan Sandler Brennan Associate Vice President, University Career Services Susan Sandler Brennan