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What You Missed at Career Services

Kristy Gonsalves, Associate Director of FEI sponsor The Siegfried Group, led an interactive discussion on how a “Transformative Mindset” can lead to expanded individual leadership capabilities and accelerate personal and professional growth.


In building the case, Kristy developed the following concepts:


·         Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

·         Mindset Continuum

·         Defining and Developing Grit


Fixed vs. Growth Mindset – Many view intelligence and abilities as fixed.  Others believe that these abilities can be developed (“growth mindset.”)  Research completed by Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University and others demonstrates that those with a growth mindset achieve at a higher level over time than those with a fixed mindset. Characteristics of persons with a growth mindset are that they embrace challenges, believe that intelligence and talent can be developed and see failure as a learning opportunity.


Mindset Continuum – Kristy described individuals’ mindset continuum as consisting of four elements; failure (feel sorry for themselves), frustration (don’t know how to help themselves), conventional success (don’t know there is anything better) and transformative (always making themselves better). She also indicated that all of us are operating at 100% of our capacity based on our current mindset.  Shifting our mindset allows us to learn, grow and achieve break-throughs.


Grit – defined partly as courage, backbone, strength of will, determination, tenacity, perseverance, endurance. Kristy provided an exercise to measure each attendee’s level of grit and provided a roadmap for developing it. The roadmap touched on practice (learning from feedback), purpose (an area of interest), hope (embracing failure as a learning opportunity) and time - to devote yourself to practice, purpose and hope. Grit can be a key ingredient in developing the growth mindset.


The following are links to the excellent videos included in Kristy’s presentation.


The Power of Belief - Mindset and Success - Eduardo Briceno


Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance - Angela Lee Duckworth




Franchise Opportunities as an Career Alternative

Eric Schechterman presented Franchising 101 to about 30 attendees at the FEI Career Services meeting tonight.  Eric also brought two of his clients, Ben Marshall and Kevin Martin, two franchisees.  Joe Frank of the Committee hosted.


Eric has a very comprehensive presentation that speaks to:

·        Why Business Ownership?

·        Franchise Myths

·        Risks and Rewards

·        How to Simplify Your Search


Some of the myths explored by Eric included:

·        How many franchise concepts registered in the USA: 3100

·        That franchises are expensive: half have an entrance fee of <$250K; Eric explained an approach to funding that is Equity 25%; Debt, e.g SBA loans, 75%. Rates are prime +2.75%

·        Financing can be accomplished using retirement funds


Another topic was how FranNet works with future franchisees

·        Works with franchises that require investment of <$250K

·        Has franchise assessment tools

·        Works hard to match the brand to the buyer


Lastly, we heard from Ben and Kevin who were very open about their experiences.  You can learn more about FranNet at:


Here is a link to our next program at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 “Mindset for Career Success” presented by Stephanie Scoleri and Kristy Gonsalves from FEI sponsor Siegfried Group.


Recruiting Panel

Career Services’ was pleased to present the annual Recruiting Panel event on Tuesday night. Larry Kramer, Managing Partner of Foundation Management Associates, LLC moderated the panel, which included Brian Bednarek (Addison Group), John Bresnahan (Robert Half Finance & Accounting), Brian Greene (Fenway Consulting/Search Group) and Richard Pooley (Heidrick & Struggles).

The discussion focused on the general themes of the current market, job search tactics, compensation and developing a relationship with recruiters.

Market - The job market in 2018 remains “Buoyant” across a wide range of industry sectors, with high demand for those offering strong technical skills, particularly as relates to GAAP and SEC reporting requirements.

Tactics - The Recruiters stressed the importance of presenting yourself to align as closely as possible with the specific job requirements, particularly when completing any online applications.  As in the past, Clients have high expectations that the Recruiter will provide candidates that closely match the job specification, including prior industry experience in many cases.  For situations in which candidates are looking to “switch” industries, Recruiters may be facing an uphill battle.  In these cases, candidates should develop their pitch to emphasize the similarities between the functional elements of a prior job and those of the target position.

Compensation – Changes are coming which limit the ability of the Recruiter and Employer to ask about your compensation history.  The compensation process will change, and you are likely to be asked what you are seeking earlier in the process.  When you are asked: be prepared to provide a range.  Additionally, the Recruiters advise looking at the total compensation package (base, bonus, benefits, equity, PTO) when evaluating an offer.

Quick Tips

1)     Take the recruiter’s call when they reach out.  If you help them, they will naturally be inclined to help you.   “Good people know good people.”

2)     If you are interested in changing industry; seek out people in your network have done it.  They can often provide guidance.

3)     Ask for referrals.  Referrals get more attention, as the connection wants to be responsive to the person that gave the referral.

4)     Stress your unique skills; if you have a specialty let people know.

5)     Do your homework on the company, people, and role (recruiters can be a great resource).

6)     It pays to be upfront and honest in your representations with recruiters and employers.


FEI Career Services would like to thank Larry Kramer and the panel for a thought-provoking and informative discussion.




Improving Your Job Interview Outcome

--Sam Pease


Approximately 40 professionals from the disciplines of finance/accounting, law, sales/marketing, and human resources came to hear Sam Pease discuss ways you can improve job interview outcome. 


Sam Pease is Principal of Talentnav Associates, LLC, where he works with managers and professionals at all stages of their careers.  He was previously with New Directions Outplacement and Heidrick & Struggles retained search.


In his career, Sam has interviewed over 2,000 people.  His talk focused on lessons learned in recruiting.  Below are some key themes: 


                “An interview is not about you.”


Focus on the job specs and address the specs.  Egon Zhender writes the best job specs.  Before you do the interview, find out as much as possible about the job.  For example:

Use LinkedIn to connect with people you know who are in the company or might have recently the company.


Think of positioning yourself as having the ability to solve problems the company didn’t know it had until you showed up.


Who is the most important person in the hiring group?  The Executive Assistant to the hiring authority: how do you treat this person?  Do you remember this person’s name?  How you treat the Assistant says a lot of your personality.


       “Phone Interviews.”


Phone interviews are typically twenty minutes.  The goal is (1) are you minimally qualified (2) is the compensation a fit for you? (3) are you interested in the opportunity.  Sam recommends that you not “mess with the questions.”  Answer them and then get down to issues you want to discuss.


        “Think of Yourself as a Peer.”


When the interview is officially over, ask about next steps and then ask if you can follow up by phone in two weeks.  Treat yourself like a peer and not as an applicant.  Sam said he was upset at the lack of courtesy being shown candidates by recruiters and company officials.  “You don’t have to ‘take’ it.  Think of yourself as a peer.”


You are not asking for “permission.”  You are putting them on notice that professionalism is expected by you.


         “A Job Interview is a One Act Play”


You’ve got to get “up” for the role you are going to play.  Remember that 60% of your communications is about your body language.


          “Critical Difference.”


In responding to the interview, focus on what you have been thinking about their business problems rather than on your interest in the job.



Social Media While in Transition: It Can Make or Break You


An engaged group of FEI members and friends joined Matthew Boyle, Partner and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of AAFCPAs for an insightful presentation and discussion of Social media and how to use it to advance your visibility. 


Matthew explained that he has gone through Transition and he speaks from personal experience.  Kicking things off, he told that social media has channels which include Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. He touched briefly on roles of Twitter, and Facebook before focusing on LinkedIn (the primary business channel).  


He highlighted the reach and importance of LinkedIn.  Matthew walked us through his LinkedIn page explaining how he uses it and the most valuable aspects.  I suggest you check him out:


The overarching goals are to have a clear message of your value proposition and actively work to improve your visibility


1)       Top of the list is having a Strong Description.  The Description should make it easy for people to know how to help you.

2)       Visibility increases by connecting with others.  Be open to (good) connections, as they grow so will your visibility in the business community

3)       Be an Active Sharer; submitting posts, writing articles, liking others posts and sharing them are ways to create energy and visibility.

4)       Don’t be afraid to share.  Submissions are not like emails the users elect to read them or not.


There were numerous additional tips:


                           1.       Show you are Tech Savvy:

 i. If you are using technology; reference it on your LinkedIn Profile

 ii.     Transition business cards should include your LinkedIn address, and logo, as well as your twitter handle and logo – The logos are available through Vistaprint

2.       If you have a Website, post it on LinkedIn

3.       Give and request Recommendations

4.       Endorsements can improve visibility

5.       Been published, include references or links to your publications

6.       Share regularly and comment on others posts

7.       Check out Premium – It has some added features you may find helpful


FEI Career Services would like to thank Matthew for an engaging presentation with many great takeaways. 


As always there was time before and after the presentation for mingling.


Tales from the Front – Strategies for Job Search Success

A near standing room only attendance of FEI members and guests joined with Beth Kurth, Emily Walt, Peter Rockett and Fred Covelle in a panel discussion of strategies for job search success.  It was an honest and personal discussion of their efforts, disappointments and successes. 


As moderator, Beth guided the panel through topics of networking strategies, emotional balance, people who helped or did not help, tactics and volunteer work.  There were consistent themes throughout:


·       Stay the course, be resilient

·       Be visible, network always – you never know when an opportunity might present itself

·       Timing and luck play a role but you control what you do

·       Exercise and clear your head, find a way to reduce stress

·       Volunteer work enhances your productivity; it’s another network, it feels good and pays it forward

·       Keep expectations in check, don’t take things personally

·       Practice – be on your game, know what your ask is

·       Talk about yourself in a different way, not a laundry list of what you do but who you are

·       Have a strategic plan

·       Stay in touch, become “top of mind”

·       Always be reciprocal with your ask – how can I help you

·       Everybody likes to be thanked – be appreciative of your support network


Throughout the discussion, the audience connected with the panel as heads nodded in affirmation –  I’ve been there, I’ve done that or I had not thought of that.  Networking continued following the panel event with lessons learned from our colleagues.






Kim Littlefield, Senior Vice President of Keystone Partners where she has over 15 years of experience in talent management and business development, presented to large group of FEI members and friends at the FEI Career Services meeting tonight. Kim’s presentation was delivered in a lively, interactive format with a focus on creating and maintaining a strong professional network as a critical tool for career success.

Kim provided specific, practical tips for:

·        Preparing for networking events

·        Networking follow up

·        Remembering names

·        Breaking in and out of conversations

·        Building lasting relationships

Kim stressed the importance of recognizing that successful relationship building occurs over time and is a give and take process that involves sharing of information, listening, and asking questions rather than just asking for a job. She also provided guidance on tactics for strengthening interpersonal communication skills (critically important to make a good first impression) such as active listening and proper handshake (good eye contact, firm but not crushing).  

Preparation for a networking event should include preparing and practicing a 30 second introduction. Kim suggested we actually record ourselves and listen to the playback (multiple times if necessary) in order to be as confident and relaxed as possible when delivering the pitch live. Other suggestions for preparation included setting goals for the meeting, arriving early, reviewing the list of attendees in advance, and possibly inviting a friend or colleague to attend.

Kim provided a clever working visual for conversation starters that included a house, work glove, family picture, golf club, airplane and a red light. Each of these visuals suggests a potential topic of conversation with the red light acting as a signal to either remain in a conversation or avoid breaking into one, depending on the surrounding dynamics.

The group divided itself into smaller groups of 4-5 and practiced techniques to strike up a conversation, remember names and cleanly break in and out of conversations. This approach not only livened up the event but was also a good way for attendees to learn to connect with each other on a basis other than just “what do you do for work?”

The event was very well received by the attendees and Kim’s presentation was followed by an extended networking session.

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