ASK Experience Series: Emotional Intelligence

The ASK Experience series is a new HireDePaul Blog series featuring unique insights and career advice from interviews with DePaul alumni. In the next installment, we spoke with Marie Wohler (‘91) about her career, emotional intelligence in the workplace, and the value of mentorship in professional development. 

Emotional Intelligence

After a career in talent management and leadership development, it is clear that Marie Wohler is passionate about helping people improve their professional skills, the most salient of which being emotional intelligence. So what is emotional intelligence? As Marie explains, “emotional intelligence — or EI — is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of the people around you.”

Marie’s Characteristics of Professional Emotional Intelligence:

  • “Changers”
    • Professionals displaying emotional intelligence are open to change and are adaptable. Being willing to change and take risks as needed supports an organization’s ability to improve itself. 
  • Self-Awareness
    • Acknowledging professional or personal weaknesses helps emotionally intelligent professionals to work with teams that complement their skills.  
  • Empathy & Relation
    • By relating to coworkers and putting their behavior in the context of any situation that may arise, professionals can more effectively resolve conflicts, overcome obstacles, and form connections with colleagues. 
  • Self-Care
    • Self-care looks different for everyone, but practicing it can make or break a professional’s ability to interact with colleagues. 

“Getting great people and retaining them takes emotional intelligence, and leaders who don’t have it risk losing talent that could be a competitive advantage for an organization.”

Feedback

As a convenient follow-up to our previous article (ASK Experience Series: Communication), one aspect of professional emotional intelligence is the ability to take and receive feedback constructively. To expand on the previous discussion, Marie shared some insights on how to ask for good feedback:

  • Ask what you should stop, start, and continue doing. This opens up the floor for the other person to provide you with specific feedback that you can take with you and follow up on after an agreed upon period of time. 
  • Consider branching out to other colleagues for feedback instead of relying exclusively on your direct supervisor. This can help avoid interpersonal conflict in the workplace before it begins! 
  • Follow up with the person you asked. Set a period of time after which you will report back. 

Mentorship

Mentors are always a valuable resource in anyone’s career development. Marie cited two mentors throughout her career who had a significant impact on her growth as a professional. Mentors can share experience and advice, give feedback, and support any person regardless of their experience level. Here at DePaul, all students have access to resources designed to help connect them with potential mentors! 

On the DePaul ASK Network, there is a vast database of alumni volunteers prepared to coach students in their careers. For more information on the ASK Network, check out our website or email us at ask@depaul.edu!  

DePaul Career Center Fall 2021 Programming

We are excited to share our Fall 2021 programming schedule below! These regularly scheduled virtual events and workshops will help you stay on top of your career goals, gain new skills, and navigate the ever-changing job market.

If you’re unable to attend these virtual events live, feel free to RSVP and we will send you a recording of the presentation and any relevant materials.

September 21: How I Got This Job: Game Design & Development

Join us as we take a deep dive with game designers and developers into their career paths, obstacles they faced in their journey to landing a job and tips for those just starting out!

September 22: Pro-Tips for the Search

Planning a job or internship search? In this workshop, we will introduce you to a 5 step process that will take your search from zero to 60mph!

October 12: Planning for Graduate School

Choosing to pursue a graduate degree (and which one) can be a challenging process! In this workshop, we’ll provide advice about how to choose a program, how to systematize the application process, and funding options, and other tips and tricks!

October 20: Alumni Master Class: Navigating Your Career in the New Normal

In this Alumni Master Class, we will share tips and tricks for navigating your career “post-pandemic.” We’ll discuss pivoting, upskilling, exploring new fields, moving your career forward, and finding meaning in your career.

October 27: Skills Lab: 5 Certificates You Should Know About

In this workshop, we’ll discuss the benefits of online certificates, what kinds of skills are offered through these types of certifications, and we’ll introduce 5 FREE certificates that are in-demand across industries!

November 2: How I Got This Job: Public Defender

Interested in a career in criminal defense? Kathleen McGee has worked for the Lake County Public Defender’s Office for over twenty years, and she is excited to share her experience in roles ranging from capital defense, misdemeanor/felony criminal defense, and representing minor victims of abuse and neglect. She’ll talk about different public law-focused pathways, some of which do not require a JD!

November 10: Skills Lab: Post-Pandemic Upskilling

In the “Post Pandemic Upskilling” Skills Lab, we’ll introduce you to bite-sized strategies for identifying in-demand skills in your industry and tips for how to both grow a skill and add it to your career portfolio!

December 8: Skills Lab: Data Visualization

Did you know that the global data visualization market was valued at USD 2.99 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 5.17 billion by 2026? In the “Data Visualization” Skills Lab, we’ll introduce you to several new tools for creating immediacy and impact using data!

Keep an eye out for additional fall events to be added soon!

ASK Experience Series: Communication

In the newest HireDePaul Blog series, the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Program will be hosting interviews with alumni designed to bring DePaul students access to unique career advice and professional insight. In the first installment, we spoke with Margaret Batkiewicz (‘74) about her career and the importance of good communication in the workplace. 

Margaret spent most of her career in global employee communications, creating internal messaging to keep employees informed and up-to-date. When asked about the importance of effective internal communications, Margaret told us that “a company that communicates well with its employees is going to do better, [improve] morale, and have less turnover.”

This messaging came in many forms, one of which being a regular newsletter sent out to an international audience of employees. With such a diverse audience, it was important that she communicated consciously, ensuring awareness of cultural and linguistic differences. By consulting with company leaders from the various geographic regions she was communicating with and sending out surveys to employees, she was able to successfully navigate this unique challenge throughout her career. With that, however, comes the joy of communicating globally. 

“I met so many wonderful people and learned so much about their cultures,” Margaret said. 

From there, Margaret went on to discuss communication as a whole and how it can make or break a company. 

“Communication is essential to the success of a company,” she said, “whether it does business locally or globally.” 

But what is good workplace communication? Good communication skills vary by industry, position, and workplace culture. However, there are some good practices that can be applied to any professional environment:

Tone and Volume

Be conscious of the tone and volume of your voice when communicating with colleagues. There is some truth to the old saying “it’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Pay attention to your tone, watching out for any unintentionally negative, unenthusiastic, or accusatory intonations. As you get more comfortable in a workplace, continue to practice respectful and sincere communication. 

Be Concise and Definite

Avoid any superfluous information. Communicate with definition, avoiding language that may unnecessarily extend or worsen periods of uncertainty like “maybe” and “probably.” In some instances, informing your coworker that you are unsure of an answer is equally appropriate to providing that answer, as long as you come back to them with that answer once you have it.

Practice Good Listening Skills

Listen closely and attentively while showing interest in the topic and respecting the speaker. Ask questions to clarify information you may have missed. Paraphrase what you have heard and repeat it back to the speaker to ensure understanding. 

Give and Receive Feedback

Be descriptive and clear, while avoiding judgmental language. Be open to receiving feedback without defensiveness, allowing for the other person to address all of their points before responding. Remember: address modifiable, not unchangeable behavior. 

For more information on career readiness, make sure to explore the HireDePaul Blog. To connect with alumni like Margaret and practice your communication skills online, check out the DePaul ASK Network!

In Case You Missed It: Business Not as Usual Event

At the “Business Not As Usual” event May 12, the BEC community welcomed four of our great alumni to share the strategies they employed in clinching their respective jobs during the pandemic. If you couldn’t attend it, you can watch the recording of the event here: 

You can also learn more about our alumni panelists through their LinkedIn profiles below, who graciously agreed that we could all connect with them.

While the pandemic marked a period of many uncertainties for both job seekers and employers, Shannon said she learned to not lose hope despite the uncertainty, and it paid off eventually. Though, it was a challenge it was for her to switch to remote work mode as she was just getting to know her new colleagues at work before the pandemic really took a turn.

To stand out from the competition during the job search, Michelle mentioned that she curated a portfolio summary of her body of work in addition to her resume. She also emphasized how important it is that new hires prove their worth early in the job. In other words, don’t assume your new colleagues know your capabilities well enough.

When asked what the panelists wish they would have done differently in their remote jobs, Genevieve stated that she would take more advantage of the online employee resources like yoga classes offered during her internship and utilize the time to enhance her wellbeing. Christina said she would get more involved with the different employee resources groups at work in order to network strategically.

Finally, when asked about how they would like to return to work, they all agreed that a good mix of both remote and in-person work would go a long way, and employers would do well to remain flexible on this topic.

How I got this job: Valentina Djordjevic Physician Assistant

During Spring Quarter 2021, the Health Care & Science Career Community team sat down with DePaul students to learn about the educational and career journey of DePaul alum, Valentina Djordjevic (Health Sciences, ‘16). After completing the Physician Assistant (PA) program at Rosalind Franklin University, she is now a PA-C at Able Psychiatry. Valentina shared her story of gaining research, work, volunteer, and clinical experiences while at DePaul, deciding to pursue a career as a PA, her current job responsibilities, and her future career goals. In this event, Valentina highlighted what being a PA means to her and the importance of pursuing your passions.

Words of wisdom from Valentina Djordjevic

Valentina on deciding to become a PA:

“For me it was pretty easy to be a PA because it was quick. Two years seemed pretty doable for me. It offered me the opportunity to work in multiple specialties which I liked at that time because I wasn’t exactly sure that I wanted to be in psychiatry. The GRE also seemed more doable than the MCAT for me. I also liked that there wasn’t a residency requirement for PA school. I really liked that I could get this degree and then start working right away. I wanted to stay in the sciences. I wanted to help people. I wanted to be financially independent and be able to have a good income. I think it was a pretty easy decision for me to go into the PA track.” 

Valentina on the importance of mentoring for a PA:

“A piece of advice about post-PA school is that you really want to find a job where you will be taught. There are a ton of opportunities for PAs out there, and they seem really appealing. They’re going to throw a lot of money at you, and just be careful that they don’t throw you out to the wolves because PA school is really fast. You’re getting this degree with the hope that you’ll be trained really well at your first job, but if you aren’t, you’re gonna have a huge stunt in your growth. It’s really important to have a mentor: someone that you can ask questions to, someone that is expecting you to not know what you’re doing. If it’s a good growth opportunity, that might be better than a more appealing pay stub at the end of the day because if you get good training, you can go anywhere.”

Employer Spotlight: Michael Reynolds (MPA ’21) at HealthJoy

The Health Care & Science (HCS) Career Community wants to introduce students to a wide range of careers. Students may be familiar with popular clinical roles (e.g., nurse, physician, veterinarian), but less familiar with jobs like healthcare data analytics, health administration, or biotech research.  

HealthJoy is an app that aims to improve the healthcare experience by guiding users to accessible professionals and resources. In this interview, Debbie Kaltman (HCS Employer Engagement Specialist) spoke with Michael Reynolds (MPA ‘21) to learn about his educational and career journey, his insights to students about making career changes, and his current role as a Customer Success Operations Manager.

Michael’s passions for learning as much as he can, building relationships with people, and supporting others have helped him grow in his professional goal of being a public servant. His career journey brought him to different professional industries — including theatre (fun fact: Michael has a BFA in Playwriting!), retail sales, and healthcare — and they all allowed him to explore his broader passions. As a Customer Success Operations Manager, Michael analyzes customer data and feedback to solve problems, improve their services, and help build the platform. This data-centered role is a professional pivot from Michael’s previous work in customer relations and success, but he views it as an opportunity to continue learning. Michael continues to seek experiences where he can build meaningful relationships and help others.

Michael’s advice to current students: “What you study in undergrad does not dictate what your career will look like. Taking advantage of the communities around you can be helpful. Volunteer, network… see what’s going on in the world around you, and see where your passions take you!”