'What should I be when I grow up?'
Lunch-time lectures present careers in a personal way
Tri-Valley business people and professionals are helping Foothill High School students answer the age-old question: What should I be when I grow up?
A new lunch-time Career Talk lecture series, sponsored by Pleasanton North Rotary, aims at increasing future career options for Foothill students by exposing them to jobs they may not otherwise consider for themselves, said the program's creator Kevin Greenlee.
"Career Talk is intended to give students exposure to a wide variety of career paths over their academic year," Greenlee said. "It will hopefully stimulate them to seek out further information as they plan for college or seek out other opportunities after high school."
Greenlee developed the program while volunteering as North Rotary's youth services coordinator, which provides oversight for the chapter's 85-member Rotary Interact Club at Foothill High.
The 17-week series held on the Foothill campus covers the pleasure, pains and necessary qualifications to work as a firefighter, TV meteorologist, lawyer, human resources specialist, salesperson, financial planner and other professions.
The series was launched in December with separate sessions on broadcast journalism meteorology by Juliette Goodrich and Roberta Gonzales. Both work for KPIX TV and Radio in San Francisco.
Goodrich graduated with a communications undergraduate degree from UC Davis and began her broadcasting career by reporting for Channel 30 in her hometown of Pleasanton in the early 1990s. She also gained experience at TV news stations in Redding, Chico and Sacramento before joining KPIX Channel 5 in 1997.
Gonzales' pathway to the top weather anchor post at KPIX started at the ground level as gardener and messenger at KPRI FM radio and XETV Channel 6 in San Diego. She was a writer, reporter and film editor before her career as a weathercaster took flight at WMAQ in Chicago.
In her talk, Gonzales stressed the importance of goal-setting for attaining one's professional heart's desire.
"I gave (the students) an idea of who I am, where I came from. If I can dream big, so can they," she said.
Cheryl Stark lectured students Jan. 12 about her work as director of customer logistic development at Kraft Foods, Livermore. Stark is responsible for the delivery and presentation of numerous Kraft products at Safeway stores. She applies sales, marketing and organizational skills to keeping the shelves filled with Kraft Jell-O, Oreo Cookies, Capri Sun fruit drinks and other products.
As an international corporation, Kraft hires employees with diverse skills including packaged food research and development, food manufacturing, package design, transportation, warehousing, finance, sales and marketing, she said. The company employs 150 workers at its Livermore facility as well as at factories and distribution facilities in San Leandro, Stockton, Fullerton and Tulare.
Stark urged students to follow the three principles of performance, image and exposure (PIE) to maximize their prospects for success.
"Good job performance is essential," she said. "But career progress comes as you create a positive image about yourself with your co-workers and the community. Exposure comes as your professional mentors and colleagues make other people aware of you, especially if you are young in your career."
Foothill student and Interact president Alex Ku noted that learning about more types of careers could work to her advantage.
"It gives me opportunities to see the different opportunities I actually have," she said. "I may not think I have the potential to do something, but listening to this gives me confidence that I can do something as well."
Jerry Chen, Interact Club secretary, is using the session to expand his career options.
"I found the lectures to be very insightful because they are about careers I have not actually considered before," he said. "It opens up a lot of career possibilities for me."
The schedule of Career Talk lectures for 2011-12 has been filled, but organizers are looking for Pleasanton residents to participate in the program for the school year beginning in August. Potential speakers should contact Foothill High assistant principal Lori Vella for more details at email@example.com.
--Jim Brice is chairman of media relations for Pleasanton North Rotary.