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Going Your Own Path: Second Professional Development Workshop

On Monday, November 6th, the Reiff Center at CNU hosted alumna Margot Conover (’09) to discuss with CNU students the skills needed to pursue careers in environmental sustainability, international development, and human rights. While at CNU, Ms. Conover majored in Government, and then, after graduating, attended the University of Chicago and majored in International Relations. This led her to work in Ecuador for two years, and through many other avenues now works for Fairtrade America.

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

In the workshop, Ms. Conover outlined her journey, mentioning a variety of key pieces of advice for students to take. One of her biggest was to find a mentor. She discussed that mentors do more than just tell you what to do – they help you grow and learn to make key decisions on your own. Ms. Conover said that without her mentor, she probably wouldn’t be where she is today.

Another big thing Ms. Conover mentioned was to care about your job, no matter what it was. Even though much of your first job isn’t going to be wining and dining with some of the most influential people in your field, she said to still do the tasks your asked to do — and knock them out of the park. This way, you’ll get noticed, effectively making it easier for you to be pushed up to the top.

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Ms. Conover made sure to say another important piece of advice: getting where you want to be can take awhile, and sometimes you never know if you’re ready to settle. You will have to make critical choices that might change your career path, and that’s okay. It’s about you making sure you are happy with whatever you choose to do.

She also addressed the concept of networking. Ms. Conover made sure to discuss that networking isn’t just adding people on LinkedIn or handing out business cards; it’s about creating and maintaining partnerships (and even friendships) that can lead to people that can help provide opportunities in the future.

She answered a lot of student questions, ranging from everything about living in another country to making the decision to go to graduate school. Ms. Conover handled all these questions in a highly skilled way, making sure to remain professional yet relatable with the attendees. If her goal was to have everyone walk away from the workshop knowing that the journey won’t be easy but there is a light at the end, then she definitely achieved it.