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.
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.
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.
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.
Aviation Maintenance Technician – CP057
Gary talks with Robert Kelly about his career as an Aviation Systems Maintenance Technician (aka Airplane Mechanic). Bob recounts his Trade School education that culminated with a Certificate from East Coast Aero –Tech, a highly regarded technical academy for Aviation maintenance specialists. Bob shares his insights on the field and its evolution from Turbo-Props to jets. He discusses the proliferation and challenges of computer based flight and maintenance modules and interactions with the FAA. Finally he recalls the personal responsibility he always felt for the quality of his work given that passenger safety and flight-time availability were always hanging in the balance.
Technical Writing – CP056
Gary talks with Ms. Terry Abbate about her career as a Technical Writer. She shares how her undergraduate degree in English initially lead to an early career in Insurance/Banking; but she soon found herself doing network Services/IT. It became apparent to her and her manager that the best part of her work was her documentation and she was encouraged to get trained/certified as a Tech Writer. That led, professionally and financially, to a very rewarding career. Terry shares her insights into the day-to-day activities and responsibilities of a Tech Writer, the skills needed and how the role and work change as one moves from entry to mid to senior levels in the field.
Newspaper Journalist/Editor – CP055
Gary Wallrapp, a new member of the CareerPod team talks with Al Young about his career as a Sports Writer and editor for the Boston Globe. They discuss the skills and personal qualities essential for a successful career in journalism. Al talks about going from Sports to other topics or ‘sections of the paper’ and the learning curve that entailed, but also how he relied on his journalism fundamentals to be successful. Finally he shares thoughts on the role of editors in the newsroom environment. This is a candid look inside the world of journalism, from the ‘beat writer’ to the ‘desk editor’.
Finance (Dan Patrick) – CP054
Jim talks with Dan Patrick, a Finance executive. Dan talks about his willingness to explore several ‘majors’ in college and even transfer schools to find the ‘right-fit’ for him. Dan explains the difference between ‘Finance” and ‘Accounting’ , often not well understood by people outside the field. They discuss the skills/credentials needed to be successful the field(s) and what a typical day might look like. Dan also shares his thoughts on leadership and mentoring; what has been satisfying (and frustrating); and the role luck has played in his career. Finally, he talks about being aware of, and choosing, a career that you can be motivated by and hopefully passionate about; but also one that meets your financial responsibilities and lifestyle goals.
Medicine, (Concierge) Physician (Dr. William Goldberg) – CP053
Fred talks with Dr. Goldberg about how/why he chose medicine as his life’s work. They discuss the demands, challenges and rewards of being a doctor, the differences in healthcare resources and patient needs in various parts of the country, and the emergence of the “Concierge” model of physician practice. Dr. Goldberg comments on the inner-workings of the profession such as patient load (panel), the economics, staying current, technology’s impact and the toll constantly dealing with illness, injury and mortality can take on a practitioner.
Marketing, Consumer Packaged Goods (Frank Bergin) – CP052
Jim Scott talks with Frank Bergin, a consumer packaged goods marketing executive, who has a broad range of experiences from US Naval Officer, to marketing roles in a very large multi-national company and a much smaller entrepreneurial branded products organization. Frank discusses the cultural and management style differences among these organizations including the transfer of “military style command and control”, or not, into the corporate environment. Of note are Frank’s experiences in a highly resourced, matrixed environment where it takes time to get things done versus the smaller “all hands on deck” environment where decisions are made and implemented immediately.
Culinary Arts, Food Service (Dan Chase) – CP051
Fred talks with Dan Chase about his career as a Cook and Food Service manager. Dan has worked in several different restaurant and food service environments. He shares his thoughts on the skills needed to succeed in different settings, ranging from Fast-Food Chains to fine dining to Corporate Food Service establishments. He talks about the importance of confidence in your cooking skills, the differing levels of 'creativity' allowed in various restaurants and the challenges in managing employees, inventory and customers. A great look inside a field that is growing and full of creative and business opportunity.
Planful Career Management: Pro Football / IT / Pastor (Troy Barnett) – CP050
Fred talks with Troy Barnett about his interesting and non-traditional career path. Starting as a 'walk-on' football player for a Div1 college team, then as a 'walk-on' for a pro football team (New England Patriots) his early career was built on determination, persistence and hard work. He also had the foresight to prepare for 'life-after-football', and readied himself for a career in IT after his NFL career ended. Finally, Troy also serves as a Pastor in his community. He enthusiastically shares his insights on a career that is true to one's self, takes the long view; and has enabled him to provide for his family not only financially but as an example of integrity, commitment and hard work.
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