"Jobs and what you think about them"
The CareerPod will bring you conversations with interesting, articulate people talking about the work they do and the careers they are pursuing. They will be from all walks of life, in all kinds of jobs and at all levels of their profession or trade.
Some will be just starting out, others well along their journey and some finishing their careers and thinking about transitioning into an active retirement.
We will be talking with them about what it really means to work in those jobs.
What is needed just to enter the field, what is usually required to advance (ie the work schedules, additional training/ certification/ licenses, business travel or relocation, etc.)
They will share their thoughts on what made them successful, what they learned from those times when things did not go so well, how they decided upon if and when to change jobs and or companies and the role luck might have played in the overall arc of their career.
Finally, we’ll explore what was most satisfying about their life work how the field has changed overtime and what a career in that line of work can offer someone in terms of reaching their personal, professional and financial goals.

Listen to a short introduction from Fred Studley

Featured Podcast

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Music Teacher – CP077

Gary talks with Mr. John Coffee, an elementary school Music Teacher. John shares memories of his early interest in music, his time at Berklee College of Music and the several school districts he has taught in. He offers a full description of the role and responsibilities of a public-school Music Teacher, the rewards and challenges; the strategy of bringing kids along, musically, from a young age through the high school level. Finally, he comments on the characteristics that make for success in his line of work, and not surprisingly they are the same fundamentals that apply to most any career, including this one of fostering creative potential in kids.

VP Human Resources (Pro Sports Team) – CP076

Lou talks with Mike Danubio, VP of Human Resources for the Boston Red Sox, about his career in HR. Mike explains that he was trained as an accounting professional, but after several years at one of the top firms, he was drawn to an opportunity to lead a nationwide HR initiative in campus recruiting for the firm. Mike offers an insightful view of the various HR disciplines, the value of a ‘generalist foundation’ in the profession and the personal and career rewards of finding your niche in one of the disciplines and leading that function. Although Mike moved to increasingly responsible HR positions in companies of various industries, much of the conversation centers on the unique aspects of his current role as an HR Executive in a Pro Sports organization ... in this case, The Boston Red Sox baseball team.

Elder Care & Services Consultant – CP075

Gary talks with Ms. Gail Samaha about her consulting business, GMS Associates, that is focused on advising families on strategies and resources for caring for aging or infirm family members. Gail shares how her interest in this field evolved from her own family experience; and how she leveraged her initial career as a business coach into this rewarding type of work. It is also an insider’s look into the challenges of arranging care for one or more family members, especially when they are remote. Gail works from her own, proprietary model, to help families honor their elders’ wishes by having in place legal, financial, medical and home-care plans, documents, people and resources; so that they can live out the latter part of their lives as safely and comfortable as possible.

Sr. Financial Aid Counselor (Higher Education) – CP074

Gary talks with Ms Beverly Furtado; a senior Financial Aid Counselor in Higher Education. Beverly talks about her role in counseling students about financial options for, and implications of, paying for a college education. She gives an insight into the tasks and responsibilities of administering financial aid on behalf of a school, charitable foundations and the Federal Government. She also discusses the subtilties of dealing with family financial disclosures and advising students on not taking more financial loan assistance than they need because of what that means for post-graduation debt repayment. This is a comprehensive look at the world of financing a college education.

Director, Career Services (Higher Education) – CP073

Lou talks with Mr. Junior Delgado, the Director of the Career Services Center at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. Mr. Delgado explains what is entailed in the role of leading a Career Services team at a small-mid sized college/university, and how that might differ at smaller/larger institutions. He also shares his experiences as both a leader of an organization assisting graduating students as they choose career paths as well as recruiting incoming students (via athletic scholarships) as they begin their college experience. Mr. Delgado shares the rewarding aspects of the job, but also acknowledges the frustrating dynamics of competing priorities and fiscal realities that are inherent in the academic world, just as they are in the larger business world. Finally, Junior comments on the ‘calling’ and values that are essential if one is considering a role in ‘Career Services’ because it requires more of a commitment (to students’ success) than a typical 9 – 5 job. A great inside look into an aspect of a college education that is often lost in school rankings articles or the popular press.

Car Salesman – CP072

Gary talks with Levi Downing who has made a career as a car salesman. Levi shares how he had several sales/retail jobs prior to an opportunity at a car dealership. He immediately knew it was the right industry for him. He walks us through the various stages of winning a sale - ‘pre-sales’ prep, engaging the customer ‘making the sale’ and the ‘post sale’ paperwork in the business office and follow up later with the customer (which often generates future referrals and leads). He also shares his thoughts on what it takes to be successful in such a competitive industry; and one in which the customer is so much better informed and prepared before they even walk in the showroom. Finally, he reflects on his experience being promoted to a management role...many years ago...and why it was a short-lived chapter. A heartfelt, candid reflection of 35 years in a profession that is, too often, only seen in stereotype.

Image Consultant, Personal Stylist – CP071

Gary talks with Ms Lori Johnson about her career as an ‘Image Consultant / Personal Stylist’. Lori explains her unique early career (in construction and CAD) and how that changed as she decided to follow her passion for fashion/style and her drive to be an entrepreneur. She became affiliated with the J. Hilburn Company and built an independent business focusing on men’s style/fashion. She explains, in detail, what the world of ‘Image Consulting and Personal Style’ is; how she works with clients, and what it takes to be successful. She shares insights into how one’s appearance enhances self-image and confidence; and impacts how one is seen, and treated, by those we encounter. A fascinating look into a little known career that is growing in surprising ways in today’s changing professional workplace.

Innovation Leader, Entrepreneur – CP070

Gary talks with Mr. Eric Braun who has built a career as an entrepreneur; then as an ‘Innovation Leader’ within large Corporate entities (often not culturally wired for such Centers of Expertise). Eric talks about the essential characteristics of an entrepreneur, the importance of ‘context’ (the when & where) in the birth of a game changing idea; and the similarities/differences between an entrepreneur and an innovator. Finally, he shares thoughts on how important it is to really understand and accept yourself as you encounter adversity/failure as well as how you set goals and define success.  This is a thoughtful discussion about the career of a kid who ‘loved to learn’ and ended up a successful tech entrepreneur, Corporate Innovation Leader and founder of several innovation hubs/initiatives. 

Entrepreneur, Professional Presence Consulting – CP069

Gary talks with Ms Judith Bowman about her entrepreneurial career starting a consulting & training firm focused on teaching ‘soft skills’ that, in addition to communication and presentation skills; included etiquette and various physical/behavioral skills such as table manners, eye contact, telephone etiquette, grooming/attire and other protocols essential to proper business and general interpersonal interactions. Judith knew from an early age that people form impressions of others largely based on their personal appearance and non-verbal (behavioral) ‘presence’ before any substantive (verbal) exchange has occurred. She started her business offering lessons (paid for by parents) to teenagers, but after a positive article in a major metropolitan paper, she was approached by several CEO’s to ‘coach’ senior managers in these skills to develop their effectiveness in client engagement. She shares experiences and insights about her career journey and the clients who saw the value in fine tuning these skills for their professional and personal goals. A fascinating look into a unique niche of the Professional/Personal Development field... and one entrepreneur’s journey in that arena. 

Associate Dean (Higher Education) – CP068

Gary talks with Mr. Bill Boozang, an Associate Dean of Graduate and Professional Programs at Emmanuel College in Massachusetts. Mr. Boozang offers a very comprehensive and thoughtful view of his career as an educator. He started teaching at a public high school, then a 2-year college, a 4-year college and finally at the graduate level in a University setting. These career chapters encompassed both public and private higher education institutions. He also went beyond the classroom to start ‘Learning Centers’; evening and graduate programs and ‘satellite campuses’ as part of his various roles. He never lost a passion for the classroom though; and views his role as an educator as helping students in ‘learning how to learn’ and setting high expectations for themselves and their educational achievements.

Registered Pharmacist – CP067

Gary talks with Judy, a Registered Pharmacist. They discuss the various organizational settings a Pharmacist can work in (retail, hospital, research, etc) as well as the various ‘specialties’ that have emerged in the field. Judy also talks about the diverse demands of the job; seeing customers, dealing with their doctors, working insurance issues and occasionally referring customers to the ER. She shares insights into how technology has helped the pharmacist manage the data and detail of the field; especially given the number of new drugs for conditions and ailments that, until now, hadn’t been treated with pharmaceuticals. This is a glimpse into a career as a Pharmacist and the various paths and specialties one could pursue in that line of work.

Certified Personal Trainer – CP066

Gary talks with Mr. Tyson Sunnerberg about his career as a Personal Trainer. Although he graduated with a degree in Travel & Hospitality Management, and was working as a manager in a family style restaurant, he spent all his free time at the gym. He was soon recognized for his passion for fitness and his approachable and motivational way with other members at the club. He was encouraged to pursue the Personal Trainer career. Tyson explains the certification process, the personal qualities needed to be successful in this field and the dual role of being an ‘employee’ of the club but also an ‘independent professional’ attracting and retaining clients that he works with in the club. He emphasizes the need to have a ‘niche’ specialty area as part of your ‘brand’ and the importance of maintaining various certifications. Finally, he reflects on the rewards of his work and acknowledges that there are frustrations; but has found the field to be a perfect fit for his values and lifestyle. 

Entrepreneur, Telecom Services – CP065

Gary talks with Mr. Fred Wallrapp, founder & CEO of Tribute Telecom, a Telecom & Data services infrastructure provider. Fred discusses his early career in finance and sales management at a large Telecom company; then setting out on his own and starting a business providing design and installation of telecom and data infrastructures for office, manufacturing and other construction/ renovation projects. He shares insights into the challenges and rewards of starting your own business, and does a deep-dive into the technical, regulatory and economic trends that impact businesses in the Telecom sector. Finally, he comments on engaging with local business organizations as a means to finding new business and the importance of retaining good technical staff as a means of delivering consistently great results for his customers. This is a deep dive into being an entrepreneur; and running a small business in the telecom sector.

Professional Musician & Bandleader – CP064

Gary talks with Mr. Joe Middler about how he became a working professional musician and, fairly early in his career, a bandleader. Joe took piano lessons and a kid, moved to guitar in junior high school, and was in a number of bands. While in college, he became a session player and lived with several other more accomplished working musicians in LA and acknowledges that that experience dramatically improved his playing and network within the LA music scene. Joe put together his first ‘real’ band and they soon became one of the top ‘Corporate Bands’ in the country. Joe talks about lucky breaks, the success factors in being a good band member and the importance hiring the right players. He also shares memories of playing different iconic clubs around LA and beyond. Joe also comments on the business and promotional aspects of the music; and the hard work and contingency planning that are essential for one’s music career to also be their livelihood.

Admissions Officer (Higher Education) – CP063

Gary talks with Ms. Julie Richmond-Blackburn about her career in College Administration, specifically the Admissions office. Julie explains that she embarked on this career later in life, after starting a family. She talks about having worked in several Administration departments at Quincy College in Massachusetts before taking a position in the Admissions Department. Julie walks through the various areas of responsibility of an Admissions Officer; highlighting the fact that it is a very ‘outward facing’ and active role that interacts with a variety of other college departments as well as governmental, educational and community groups across the State. She discusses the rewards of the role, especially as she attends graduation and sees students she recruited receiving their degree and embarking upon their next chapter. This is a candid inside look into a career that is much more dynamic and interactive than many realize.

Executive Assistant – CP062

Gary talks with Kelley Wharff about her career as an Executive Assistant. She talks about her early interests in working in a business and playing a role similar to what her mother did, and found so rewarding. Kelley talks about the positive aspects of being an integral part of a team, organizing many aspects of a company’s administrative operation, interacting with other departments and representing the company when she dealt with partners/vendors/customers. She shares insights in the difference between entry, mid and senior level administrative assistant roles; and the unique aspects of the Executive Assistant position. Kelley acknowledges the impact technology has had on the field, especially given that most executives now are people who ‘grew up with technology’ and are more self sufficient than their predecessors. She notes, however, that this has opened up other types of work and opportunities for the Executive Assistant that entail technology, research and customer relations.  This is a clear and concise look at the career possibilities for administrative professionals.

Architect – CP061

Gary talks with Richard DeCoste, a registered architect. Gary discusses his background and the various educational paths that can lead to a career as an architect. He shares an overview of a typical project from the Architect’s perspective and gives insight into the close coordination needed between the owner, design architect, builder, architectural engineering teams, and others. He also talks about the different types of building projects one would encounter if they were in small firms vs larger ones. Finally, he comments on the differences between working for a firm vs starting your own (as he did); with all the marketing, relationship building and financial ‘contingency’ planning needed to survive as a small firm in an industry so impacted by economic cycles. This is a fascinating look into the world/career on an architect. 

Ice Hockey Referee – CP060

Gary talks with Brian Burke about his lifelong passion for ice hockey and how he continued his involvement in the sport for some 30 years after college, where he played varsity. Brian reminisces about his childhood days playing hockey in the ‘almost life-sized rink’ his dad built in their backyard. He shares insights into how, as a side job, refereeing high school and college hockey allowed him to stay immersed in the sport he loves. He talks about the rewards of officiating a game, the keys to being a respected referee, the important role of the ‘assigners’ within a hockey league and the character-building benefits (even to young teens) of being a referee. Brian has watched teenagers pursue refereeing and seen the benefits of self-confidence and maturity that come from committing to such a responsible role, in a sport they love. This is an engaging episode into the world of officiating High School and Collegiate ice hockey.

Cosmetology – CP059

Gary talks with Samantha Bouchard about her career as a Cosmetologist, and the field of hair styling. They discuss how and why she entered the field, what personal characteristics are key to being successful in that field and how the ‘Art’ and ‘Science’ of cosmetology work together. Samantha shares insights into the differences between small, privately owned salons and large ‘chain’ salons. She also discusses the pay/commission practices, the process changing salons and the rewards of working with long term clients. This is a nice ‘first chair’ insight into the world of cosmetology.

Career Services (Higher Education) – CP058

Gary talks with Ms. Karen Smizer, Director of Career Services Quincy Community College in Quincy MA. Karen shares how she leveraged her early career experience in Insurance and Event Planning into the role she has now. She explains what’s entailed in running a Career Services department at the collegiate level. Karen also talks about the significant resources (for researching and networking) that students can take advantage of; and the value that more experienced professionals, many now working in these Career Services departments, can offer students as they consider their first/next step after graduation.


The Art of Conversation
– in his 45 years on VFMT radio, Studs Terkel talked to the 20th century’s most interesting people. Studs Terkel also represents the inspiration behind the development of CareerPod. See details here of the reconstructed archives