Making a Difference in Your Career, with Christine Cruzvergara – Ep #17

Have you ever felt stuck in your career? Did you ever face a moment where you wish you had some degree of insight that could help you move forward? What if there were a way to navigate your career path and ultimately locate that perfect fit where you could make a difference? Christine Cruzvergara joins Mark in this episode to talk about her work helping students and professionals find the right fit in their career.

Christine currently serves as the VP of Higher Education and Student Success at Handshake. In this capacity, she leads the effort to deepen partnerships with the higher education community to ensure greater student career success. Most recently Christine served at Wellesley College as their Associate Provost and Executive Director for Career Education.

She has held senior level positions and board roles at multiple institutions and organizations including Wellesley College, George Mason University, Georgetown University, The George Washington University, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Christine earned her Master’s degree in College Student Personnel from the University of Maryland, College Park and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from James Madison University.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks

  • [0:50] Mark introduces his guest, Christine Cruzvergara.
  • [3:15] What led Christine to her role at Handshake?
  • [5:45] Three types of people who can help you advance in your field.
  • [8:45] How to be a good mentee.
  • [10:15] Christine shares a story about how her brother found the right career path.
  • [15:20] Insights that will help you get traction in your career.
  • [22:30] How to stay adaptable and make yourself a valuable asset.
  • [25:30] Why you need to grow in emotional intelligence.
  • [27:45] Mark and Christine talk about their professional goals.
  • [31:30] Closing thoughts from Mark.

Connect with Christine Cruzvergara

Three types of people you need in your corner

As you continue to navigate your career it is helpful to consider three types of people that can assist you along the way. Christine Cruzvergara developed these three categories to bring clarity to the often vague concept of a mentor/mentee relationship.

  1. Mentor. A mentor is an individual who may or may not be in your profession. They are someone who will act as an honest sounding board who will give you both positive and constructive feedback. It is their goal to challenge you and help you see things from a different perspective.
  2. Sponsor. A sponsor is someone who is typically more senior than you in your organization or company who can help pull you up and get you a seat at the table and open the right doors for you. Their goal is to help you grow in your career.
  3. Advocate. An advocate isn’t necessarily your supervisor or even someone at your organization. They should be someone who has clout and is connected to your profession in some way. Their goal is to help you build your network and grow your influence and presence in the work that you do beyond just the work in your company.

Christine encourages students and professionals to keep an eye out for leaders who fit these descriptions and work to nurture those relationships. Make sure that you approach these relationships organically, don’t go for the big names, find leaders who you genuinely connect with and learn from them.

Tips to help you advance in your career

Do you remember when you were a young student, and you struggled with a concept or an equation, then one day you have that moment when everything just clicked and fell into place? Perhaps for you, it was the extra help that you received from your teacher or maybe it was a peer who took the time to explain the concept to you. What does it take to find a similar “Ah-ha” moment when it comes to navigating your career?

Drawing on her years as a student and as a professional, Christine Cruzvergara wants to help as many people as possible to make the right decisions and advance in their career. In her conversation with Mark, Christine touched on five lessons she has learned along the way.

  1. Repetition builds your reputation.
  2. Strive to respond, not react.
  3. People are your most important resource.
  4. Hiring is the most critical decision you can make as a leader.
  5. Authenticity is the best strategy.

Go deeper with these lessons from Christine by listening to this fascinating episode of When Science Speaks.

Connect With Mark and When Science Speaks

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