Econ & Management young alumni share their HR knowledge

Posted on November 20th, 2014 by

Great energy yesterday in Kathi Tunheim‘s HR course– recent Gustie alumni came to share their experiences in managing human resources in a variety of industries and contexts.

The HR students heard perspectives from Steve Andres ’10, Abbie Barrett ’14, and Ashley Michalko ’14 about life off the Hill, working in talent management and marketing. Steve was formerly in HR at Target and now is an independent financial services advisor. Ashley serves as a Talent Management Manager at consulting firm Boom Lab, and Abbie is in marketing & communications for the Cadillac of orthopaedic centers, TRIA in Bloomington.




Even though they have not been out of college for long, I was surprised at how much responsibility they each had already wielded. Ashley spoke of her experience needing to let another employee go, who was of peer age, as her response to a student question of describing the most difficult part of each panelist’s day. The follow up question was equally interesting: when asked what training or practice Ashley had going into that firing scenario, she said she had receive only a little coaching on what information had to be included during the layoff interview (COBRA, etc) but that was it– she had to figure it out. The other panelists had difficult situations, too, and concurred that as difficult as on-the-job training is, their Gustavus liberal arts foundation helped them really think through what the best ways to get through tough situations would be.

Steve has already made the move to working on his own, and Abbie summoned the courage to sit down with her director and ask for a more substantially planned career path, more responsibility, and better compensation. Abbie also related a story about her recent experience at a job fair, where she realized how well Gusties present themselves at job fairs as compared to … some of our other Minnesota college neighbors.They shared a wide range of stories as a panel and students asked terrific questions, from the panelist’s most useful courses to advice about career pathing and taking chances.

It was amazing to hear of their examples of being so intentional about their work and taking charge of their own wellbeing in their workplaces. In the Economics and Management department we are grateful for such alumni willingness to give back in this and so many other ways!



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