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May 1, 2017 - No Comments!

Are 2017 College Grads Falling Short?

As a recent 2017 University of Oregon graduate with my degree in Public Relations, I found this article very interesting and, let’s be honest, somewhat alarming. It seems as though 2017 grads are getting a bad wrap - and while many may be unprepared to enter the workforce, I find myself in a different place post-graduation.

University of Oregon’s PR program really encouraged students to get involved with work opportunities and internships while in school. I was able to take advantage of this advice – this not only gave me valuable experience, but helped me better understand what I wanted to pursue post-graduation. I was able to complete multiple internships throughout my time at UO and received college course credit for the work I was doing.

Something I found interesting about UO is that almost all of my professors had previously worked in the corporate world. This opened up opportunities to gain a strong network with professionals around campus and within the community.

As a final graduation project, I was able to work with TrackTown USA to complete a Public Relations and Marketing campaign and host an event to help identify their brand more effectively. My professor had a relationship with the CEO of TrackTown, so this connection allowed myself, as well as other students, to work with a professional client and get real world experience outside of the classroom.

As a communication major, I find myself somewhat confident in my interviewing skills, but that's because I do my homework. I research the company and position, any recent articles in the news about the organization, make sure to bring up what I can offer the company, how I can make an impact on the company culture as well as have at least 2 questions prepared for the interviewer. I understand that the interview is as much about me interviewing the company, as it is the company interviewing me. Most importantly, the follow-up email is essential. I think that writing a note thanking the interviewer for their time leaves an impact and can make the difference between an average candidate and a great one.

Upon first glance, this article is making a blanket statement that 2017 grads may not be as qualified as previous classes - but that doesn’t mean there aren’t highly qualified candidates applying for jobs at your company. Most importantly, college students need to capitalize and utilize the resources on campus before hitting the real world to optimize their chances of post-grad opportunities.

-Ashlee Sutherland, SBC Recruiting and Events Coordinator

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Blog
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May 2, 2015 - No Comments!

Are you in a Profit Paradox?

We hosted a learning event this past week and enjoyed a provocative discussion with Dr. Gustavo Grodnitsky.  I invited our clients and a few really smart and engaging millennials who bring amazing honesty and refreshing energy to our discussions.  This is written by Derek Kozaites, a recent graduate is interested in International Studies and business.  Read what he had to say;

"I had the pleasure of attending a “Great Starts Breakfast Series” hosted by S.Benjamins & Co. The series is in its tenth year of orchestrating inspirational meetings to Southern California’s most forward thinking professionals. This particular event, presented by Dr. Gustavo Grodnitzky Ph.D., was titled “The Profit Paradox: Culture in the New World of Work”. Dr. Gustavo, a Colorado native known as a “social hacker”, presented an intriguing look into the rapidly changing environment of culture in the workplace. In his words, “culture trumps everything” (which is also the title of his new book)."

Derek says that Dr. Gustavo’s overarching theme of change is in seeing the world in a social context.  He said, "Analyzing the contextual nature of human behavior, Dr. Gustavo set the stage for the corporate struggle between business norms and social norms, arguing that companies with a social focus towards their “stakeholders” will ultimately succeed. Backing up this argument, Dr. Gustavo revealed one of the most captivating results of his presentation, a ten-year profit comparison between classic capitalism and social capitalism companies, which dramatically favored the social capitalism companies."

"As a member of the newest generation of young professionals, I took a sigh of relief following Dr. Gustavo’s presentation, finding comfort in the fact that businesses all over the world are seeking to understand and meet the demands of our ever-changing culture."

We better listen to these millennials - 80 million of them are entering our workforce in the next few years.  Thank you Derek for sharing.


January 25, 2014 - No Comments!

New Year Commitments to your Career

We are well into the New Year and by now you have either made some of those personal commitments for 2014 or still in review of your game plan.  I have heard from colleagues, friends and sons and daughters of clients.  They have reflected on career plans and with the market somewhat better, many are setting goals for change in the coming months.  I find myself in more conversations about "what is important to you today" and then "what would fun look like tomorrow?" We don't do career coaching but in light of our work in search, we have a good pulse of the market and how companies look at talent and experience.

I find so many more discussions about "how to build satisfying work" into their careers.  It should remind us that great talent has always had choices and when things are looking up - they have even more choices. What commitment has your company made to developing talent?  Are you balancing drive to get the numbers with taking time to listen to what your best talent values?  I spoke with a HR senior executive yesterday who works for a silicon valley company that has repeatedly landed on the Fortune best companies to work for and a values based culture has contributed to this achievement.  As the year starts, they are re-evaluating culture in light of growth, expansion and change in their business.   This leader said, "with all of their success, we have to be continue to look at whether our behavior supports the values or is changing them."  She wants to understand what employees value and how to help them reach their goals.

Your employee decides the culture of your company - how carefully are you listening to them?  When it comes to career change in an improving market, I recommend starting the year with conversation.  What is important to them and why? Turn off the PDA and take a walk with your employee.

Ok, I will share what is important to me - continue Yoga, start back with ballroom dancing with my husband (we did that last week and laughed for two hours) , take the dog on long walks, learn something new (our team is learning more about high stakes communication from an amazing expert) and breathe.   With those commitments to me, I can be even better for my clients.    What are your commitments to yourself, your family, your children and your career?

Published by: sbcoadmin in Management
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November 24, 2013 - No Comments!

November 2013 S. Benjamins & Co Newsletter: Reinventing A Career

I had the great opportunity to catch up with a good friend and colleague who has successfully changed careers and is now helping others do the same. Mary Stern and I worked together when we were both with American Hospital Supply and later the Baxter Healthcare organization.

Mary SteinMary Stern, former VP of HR, is living in Santa Barbara after many years in the Midwest. She is enjoying the adventure of shifting from corporate leader to consultant and now author. It may seem like this is a huge change, however, Mary is used to change. She always has helped her colleagues and clients transition their businesses. While at Baxter, she helped leaders move from U.S.-centric mindsets to global ones. When Baxter faced yet another important transformation, Mary decided to transform herself as well, retiring from corporate life and then diving into something entirely new.

From millennials to boomers, we are all rethinking how to bring more meaning to our work and manage career transitions, if not now, then in the future. Mary took a full year to evaluate the “what next.” But often we don’t have that much time to evaluate. I was so intrigued with Mary’s journey, that I asked if she could share her insights.

Sherry Benjamins: Tell me, how did you determine that you wanted to write a series of children’s books after leaving Baxter?

Mary Stern: I was always a nature lover and enjoyed spending time out of doors with my amazing grandchildren. When my first grandson was five years old, I wanted to help him love reading as much I do, so I created something special for him. He would be the star of my children’s book, and in 2008 we published the first in The Cowboy Dog Series. Book two came in 2009, with my second grandchild as the hero; my last grandchild is the star of book three, which was completed in 2011.

Sherry: How fun that must have been! Were there surprises for you in this process?

Mary: I did not realize how much work it would take to find the right team—illustrator, editor, book designer, printer, web page designer, PR and marketing person and a distributor—to pull it all together. Any team needs to function well, and I was surprised how similar this was to teamwork in corporate America. What I learned was that skills of inclusion, clarity, and communication all pay off. The publishing world was also more difficult than I imagined. It is competitive, and I understand that, but there is very little collaboration and it seems cutthroat at times.

Sherry: Following the children’s series, what made you decide to write a book about job search with so much already published in this area?

Mary: The short answer is that this book is quite different. I have looked and researched extensively what is out there. With a whole career in HR and in helping others in career change, I wanted to create a resource that was a step-by-step guide. That’s why I called it 6 Steps to Land the Job.

So many of those I coach say, “I can’t find the jobs.” There are jobs, I would tell them, but people are just not sure how to find them.

Sherry: We know this is a very challenging job market at all levels. What are you seeing that can immediately help someone who says, “There are no jobs?”

Mary: I wonder how many people take the time to evaluate what their interests are and share that with their network. I see people focusing on the activity of job search without identifying the result they are aiming for. We want immediate gratification, and given the time pressure, I can understand why we go there first. However, doing the research and focusing on a quality, thoughtful goal is important. I know the market is tough, no question. However, if you determine what your field of interest is and how you might enter that arena, you might be surprised where that takes you. Networking is key. You must successful network to find the right resources and connections. Of course, part-time work somewhere might be essential while you are figuring this out and building your connections.

Extroverts understand the value of connecting and social media. Introverts might struggle, so I suggest preparing for the “Three Questions Strategy.” Prior to a networking event where you are meeting someone for the first time, be ready with three questions, such as: “What speaker did you like at this event?” Or “Tell me about what brought you here.” Or “Have you joined other groups like this?” That will help you start making a connection and learn more about them.

What Next?

I encourage you to share Mary’s book with someone you care about who is in job search. She starts with “tell your story” and emphasizes evaluating what you want and where you must make some choices. We know from research that money, although important is not always the most powerful motivator. You also have the opportunity to learn and grow, have impact and set goals, as Mary suggests.

From Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, to Clayton Christiansen’s book, How Will You Measure Your Life, there is more focus now on getting to “happiness” than ever before. Take the time to think about that for yourself, and then share this book with a friend or dive into the 6 Steps to Land the Job.   It’s never too late! Also, check out Mary’s sites for her books: and

There is no rush in figuring out your passion:

  • Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn at age 49
  • The Hurt Locker came out when Kathryn Bigelow was 57 years of age
  • Millard Kaufman, co-creator of “Mr. Magoo”, wrote his first novel at age 90
  • Ang Lee screened his first big movie at age 38
  • Van Gogh’s most famous work was created around age 35
  • Georgia O’Keeffe was famous for clay objects in her 80’s and continued ‘till 98 years young.

Published by: admin in Newsletter
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