Monday Mentor Minutes- Richard Stankiewicz

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Spartan Richard Stankiewicz discusses both his role as an IT executive and how he has seen the field change over time.

Richard is currently working as a Senior Manager for the State of Michigan with an IT focus, spending a lot of his time conversing about IT projects with customers both at the executive and business level. More specifically, he is representing three state agencies on the implementation of the new statewide financial system, along with working on two other large projects.

When Richard began his career, after receiving a computer science degree from Saginaw Valley State, he says the IT field did not exist. Professionals in the IT field were required to jump in and find solutions, unlike today where people have specific roles and responsibilities. Additionally, he mentions how the field has become more accessible through the internet and use of mobile devices as well as through specialized University programs. Richard also received a degree in Parks and Administration from Michigan State and is working towards earning an MBA from Texas State University.

For those of you who are thinking about going into the I.T. field, Richard offers some great advice you may not have already thought about. For example, before entering the field, individuals should know what sector of business they want to be in, with options ranging from healthcare to business management. He also says in order to be successful in IT, professionals require flexibility and communication skills. Most importantly though, Richard says it is imperative to find a mentor early and utilize him/her often so as to offer sound guidance and advice.

Contact Richard-

Email: StankiewiczR@michigan.gov

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Monday Mentor Minutes-Kayla Weatherwax

 

kaylaSpartan Kayla Weatherwax shares her journey as a former undergraduate student at MSU to now a dental student at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Spartan Kayla Weatherwax shares her journey as a former undergraduate student at MSU to now a dental student at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Kayla is currently a first-year dental student at University of Michigan School of Dentistry, pursing her Doctorate of Dental Surgery anticipated May 2019. She graduated in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences with Honors at Michigan State University. In her undergraduate career and as a current dental student, she has been intrigued by the role that nutrition plays in oral health.Dentistry has been a passion of hers for quite some time and she has gained over 2,500 hours of experience within the field, both clinically and administratively.

As an undergraduate student at Michigan State, she was employed as a co-supervisor of The Student Executive Team at the Michigan State University Alumni Association. As a supervisor, she was responsible for leading a team of dedicated student interns. Some of her duties included assisting in the planning and organizing of alumni events, the delegation of student intern projects, event preparation, and the hiring of new student interns. She says it was an excellent opportunity to be an integral part of an amazing team and she gained tremendous experience as a leader.

She was also a part of Michigan State University’s Outreach and Engagement department. She worked as an assistant to Dr. Jessica Barnes-Najor who works with The Tribal Early Childhood Research Center. Kayla says it gave her the opportunity to be a part of research projects such as a social network analysis and the development of an educational module focusing on the dynamics of power and privilege in research. This position also gave her the opportunity to gain research knowledge and a greater awareness of community and culture.

Contact Kayla-

Email: weathkay@umich.edu

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Monday Mentor Minutes-Christopher Sell

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Spartan Chris Sell discusses his roles as a career educator, talent coordinator, and business developer.

Christopher Sell is a career educator, project manager, fundraiser, and business developer. At his core, he’s passionate about creating community and connecting people to opportunity. As a two-time college graduate with over six years of work experience in higher education, he’s equally committed to leveraging relationships with industry, alumni, and college students to retain and attract talent in the state and contribute to Michigan’s revitalization.

In his current role at Michigan State University, Chris serves as the Director of Alumni and Entrepreneur Engagement, where he leads efforts to build advocacy and support for the entrepreneurship ecosystem and student entrepreneurs at the University. Previously, Chris worked in career services roles at two different universities. In the past, he has applied his passion for workforce development and Michigan’s economic renaissance in several professional organizations, including Michigan’s Employer Educator Partnership (MEEP) and the Michigan Career Educator & Employer Alliance (MCEEA), for which he recently completed his 3-year term as President.

Chris is very involved in the local community as a #lovelansing enthusiast. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Impression 5 Science Center – the premier science center for children and families in the region – and is an active member of the Friends of the Lansing River Trail non-profit organization. Additionally, Chris is the Founder and Executive Director of Lansing 5:01, a new non-profit startup aimed at attracting and retaining talent in the Lansing community by offering dynamic and interactive events to college students and young professioanals.

A graduate of Western Michigan University (BA) and Michigan State University (MA), Chris has maintained a strong desire for continuous learning and leadership development. He is a graduate of the 2012 WMU Academic Leadership Academy, and a recent graduate of the inaugural 2015-16 Leadership Lansing program coordinated by the regional chamber of commerce. He also serves on the External Advisory Board of Directors for the WMU School of Communication.

Chris lives in Lansing with his wife, daughter, and black Labrador named Izzo, who they adopted from the Capital Area Humane Society. Outside of work, you can find Chris watching MSU sports or exploring the great outdoors in Pure Michigan on camping trips, backpacking expeditions, and endurance running races.

Contact Chris-

Email: sellchri@msu.edu

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Monday Mentor Minutes-David Wishinsky

portraitSpartan David Wishinsky shares how his background in politics has influenced his decision to work towards an MBA from the University of Colorado.

David says he has always been fascinated by what makes people make decisions. That is one thing that led him into electoral politics where he worked as a fundraiser raising about $10M in support of making people decide to support his candidates by successfully “selling their ideas.”Seeing that the private sector was effecting change more rapidly and in exciting ways, he decided to go to the University of Colorado in Boulder to pursue an MBA. Here, his fascination with decision making hasn’t abated and he is focusing his studies on marketing, essentially making consumers choose your product instead of another. On campaigns, he was always tasked with unmovable election dates and financial reporting deadlines. He was also always facing highly constrained resources leading him to become an efficiency expert and an aggressive initiator in new, faster and cheaper strategies. He hopes to bring this back to the business world, by motivating consumers to choose the products or services he works to support, creating efficiencies to reduce bureaucratic delays and also save money.

Having had many mentors throughout his academic and professional life, David highlights how important those were to his current success, and how students-particularly undergraduates-should take advantage of their status as students to reach out to any professional(s) within fields they are interested in because most are excited about the opportunity and are willing to sit down and discuss their career.

In his spare time – which is becoming a limited commodity, he says- he enjoys spending time with his wife and their two cats, watching Michigan State football and hiking. He has never lost a game of Monopoly, earned the first press pass ever for a blogger from the Oakland A’s, enjoys a good hefenweizen and if available would pursue a Ph.D. in bullpen usage studies.

Contact David-

Email: david.wishinsky@gmail.com

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Monday Mentor Minutes-Jessica Pantano

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Spartan Jessica Pantano shares how her broad-ranging experiences and curious nature led her to the position she currently holds as a Program Manager for Landis + Gyr load control solutions.

Graduating from Michigan State University in 1996 with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Science, Jessica had no idea she would end up working for an electric company. However, she says the hands-on experience in the field was what led her to where she is today. Mark Rose, Jessica’s mentor from her time working at the Executive level for Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative was not afraid to let young professionals, such as herself, develop management skills through trial and error. Jessica also mentions  how her time as a team member and editor of the Texas Co-op Power magazine at IBM allowed her to gain a better understanding about what the role of a Project Manager consists of as well as educated her on the details of the electric field. All of which serves as important in her current role. 

A typical day for Jessica involves working within her 7 customer related projects for different utility companies implementing auto control solutions in places from Mississippi to Iowa as well as her 5 internal projects. Thus, her day consists of administrative work, standing meetings, and responding to customer questions or problems.  This does not leave her much, if any, downtime, which is an aspect of her work that she enjoys, and encourages everyone to take a look at the electric industry as there is much opportunity for placement and growth.

Her parting suggestions to our listeners were to be curious, to never stop learning, and to partake in any experience that comes your way, regardless of whether or not opportunities presented to you necessarily fall in line with your career aspirations. She says you never know what seemingly random experiences have in store. Perhaps, in taking her advice, you too will develop a new passion or find yourself in a position you never had expected you would end up.

Contact Jessica-

Email:  jesspantano@yahoo.com

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