Heather had a variety of jobs while in school. She worked at Denny's and Victoria's Secret, and in a daycare. While none of these jobs were here passion, Heather learned valuable customer service skills andthat she really enjoyed working with people. In college, Heather used her school's Career Center to find her first job after graduation. She decided to get into Public Relations and so she called every employer in the Career Center's Jobs Book and introduced herself. She found one woman in New York City who was willing to hire her. At this job, Heather learned a lot about running a business. She learned to be the best in her role and soon, her boss noticed and gave her more responsibility. Heather was working hard but her job was not fulfilling. She came back to Baltimore for graduate school and got a job as a substitute teacher. Again, she put her all into her work and was the best sub she could be. She eventually got a position as a permanent sub and soon a full-time teacher. Heather's mother is a pastor and very involved with the community. Heather began to do more volunteer work at an elementary school and found that this was really her passion. She kept using her people skills and never gave up, and soon started her own non-profit organization, My Sister's Circle, which provides mentors for girls in Baltimore City. Heather has been the CEO and Founder of her organization for 14 years and loves her job. She urged clients to keep pushing for what they want, be tenacious, and volunteer to get their foot in the door.
Amy is currently the Chief Operating Officer at the Baltimore Community Foundation and loves her job. She did not always know what she wanted to do however. Amy came to the United States from Hong Kong as an exchange student and never went back. She went to school in New Jersey and while at a college internship, learned a very valuable lesson about the working world. Amy was late for work one day because of car trouble, but she never called to tell her employer. After graduation, she wasn't hired by her intern site and believes that this mistake cost her a job. After college, Amy worked in retail. but it was hard for her, because she needed to find an employer who would sponsor her work visa, and many would not. She had to prove to employers that she was worth it for them to go through this process. Eventually, Amy was successful in finding an employer who would do this for her and she went on to get her MBA and become an accountant. She worked and went to school at the same time and passed her CPA exam on the first try. At one of her jobs, Amy worked for a very difficult VP of Sales. Her supervisor questioned everything she did, but this made her even better at her job. Amy has now been at BCF for 10 years. She loves her job and does a lot of hiring. She gave clients the advice that while skills are important, she really looks for loyalty and continuity in the people she hires. She also likes to hire individuals with community involvement and trainability, who have a positive attitude and motivation. "Are you willing to do more than what is asked," she asked clients.
Kurt is an entrepreneur in the field of energy conservancy. He told clients, "if you have an idea and the drive to make that succeed, there are people out there who will help you make it a success." Five years ago, Kurt finished school with a degree in philosophy and German literature. He had to find a job and soon found that energy efficiency was a industry that excited him. He read that 80% of American buildings were constructed before 1990 and were very inefficient. He saw a huge market for increasing energy efficiency and so got a certification to become an energy auditor. At the time, his work was new and exciting, but not as profitable as his family would have liked. He did however, have a lucky break when he was asked to work on apartment buildings, and one year later, was featured in the Baltimore Business Journal as one of the fastest growing companies in Baltimore. There was never any guarantee that Kurt would be successful, but he urged clients to stick with their passions. "If you stick to it long enough," he said, "good things tend to happen." Kurt also told clients that the construction industry is picking up. There is a shortage of trained construction tradesmen and is a good industry for clients to explore if they are interested.
Kisha works at the Office of the Attorney General both in legislative affairs and civil rights. Kisha spoke about networking and how incredibly important it has been for her career success. Kisha expressed that she has always had the help of others in her life; having support is important. After she graduated law school, Kisha didn't have a job and decided that she would start substitute teaching. She got the job from networking at a school function. Kisha taught fourth grade and loved it. She stressed that everyone should have to work in schools at some point, as it is a great experience, however she left the school in the second semester to find legal work. Kisha did contract work and eventually got a job at Legal Aid in Baltimore. She had always been interested in advocacy work and she loved her job there. She made connections through her work in order to better serve her clients and the community, and these connections led to her next job. She was qualified and had a great interview, but also had people advocating for her behind the scenes and this helped. Kisha continued to network and connect with other individuals she met in Annapolis, especially other African Americans. One of her contacts recommended her for her current position and that is where she is today. Kisha said she always offers to take people to coffee or lunch to find out more about them and always follows up with contacts she has made. "You never know how things will turn out, no one is too big or too small to connect with."