Monday, November 28, 2011

Dani Zandel Shares Her Networking ABC’s – Always Be Connecting

I hope Thanksgiving treated everyone well and you enjoyed your time with family and friends. Now that the holiday "season" has officially begun, I'd like to remind you of great opportunities in front of you.

Yes, this is the time of year for shopping sprees and eating and drinking way too much. Don't worry, I'm not about to pitch a gym membership. In fact, I'm going to encourage the shopping sprees and food/drink fests. Why? Because they will provide prime opportunities for networking. And as Lynnette, Larry, and our wonderful LA Fellow advisors will remind us, networking is the key to many wonderful opportunities.

Have you joined any professional groups yet? Many will have December "meetings" as holiday potlucks or minglers. Are you a member of some sort of a social or even support group? They may be having parties, too…and if not, why not suggest one?

In December, I have four events lined up before any school or family-related commitments: The International Association of Business Analysts, a professional group I joined this year, will have its monthly meeting as a dinner and wine sampling mingler at a restaurant. The yoga studio where I take classes will open their doors to a holiday potluck. The Beer Homebrewers Club, a social group I joined when I was let go from my job, will be having their annual Christmas party. And as wacky as it may sound, my surgical weight loss support group will be holding its annual potluck event. These are my personal networking opportunities (and still looking for more!) to show you that you may have holiday events you may not even realize to be good opportunities for meeting people AND building relationships with people you have met.

The importance of networking is in the fact that you don't know who people know. I have so many personal stories of six degrees of separation - as obscure as a woman in my support group having 1. worked with one of my dad's cousins, 2. worked with a former classmate, and 3. having a hairstylist who I met through my best friend....and that is ONE connection of mine! I'm always happy to share my stories if you ask, but there is one that occurred right within LA Fellows: I met David Berkus at the Reunion Picnic in October. He was telling me about the work he used to do, and some companies he used to work for. My response was to ask if he knew someone whose name I will not mention. Not only did David know this person, but they worked together for over 15 years. This mutual connection is a man who was like my father's brother. He is so close to my family that he was in the hospital visiting my dad more than my dad's own brother. His family is like family to mine - to the point that our Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions include dinner with each other! How is that for a small world?

Networking can open many doors - though hopefully to jobs, your next connections can lead to making other new connections, or learning new skills. An informational interview may lead to your ability to join a professional association, or a professional association may lead to your ability to take a discounted skills or certificate course. Stepping out of the professional realm for a moment, for those of us who are single, networking may lead to meeting Mr. or Ms. Right - and provides a much better experience than internet dating! Heck, once upon a time, I met a great hairstylist at a social networking event! You just never know.

And don't forget to maintain the relationships. Attend the meetings/events throughout the year so that the faces and names become familiar. If they don't see you, they can't think of you when they find out about jobs! For people you have created relationships with, don't forget the big gesture a short phone call or email can send. For those you are even closer to, meet for a cup of coffee or a happy hour. Maintain an appropriate follow-up for the relationship you have built, but you MUST follow-up! Be active. And continue this activity AFTER you have found a job. It can be easy to slack off when juggling work and family, but we all know how not-so-great it is to be unemployed, and if it happens again, we all know how much easier it is to find work when we have connections who can lead us to our next destination. Make time, even if it is for one event per month. A-B-C: Always Be Connecting!

For those who are intimidated to go to an event alone, ask someone to go with or meet you. For those who don't like large groups of people, find smaller groups. Keep in mind that the first time you attend anything, everyone is a stranger. Keep going. Keep building the relationships. All you need is to feel as if you are walking into an atmosphere where there is ONE person whom you could say HELLO to.

And for those of you who know me to be advocating networking and all of the activities I have just mentioned...You don't know how FREAKED OUT I am for the first few minutes in anyplace where I don't know people. After losing my job last year, I had to force myself to reach out, and in doing so, attended a Beer Homebrewing Club party with 300 people, knowing no one. The only person I "knew", I had met at 2pm the day of the party. It was an uncomfortable evening to say the least, and a step I needed to take. But over the past year of attending social opportunities and monthly meetings with the same group, I look forward to this year's big Christmas party. And I know I will not know MOST of the expected 300 people there this year, but I do know enough faces and names to mix and mingle and have a good time.

So, advocating the importance of networking is one of my long-winded topics...but very worthwhile of the share. Don't forget A-B-C: Always Be Connecting. You never know who people know and you never know where your next connection may lead. As this festive season begins, get out your best outfits, go ahead and shop (for canned goods and gifts to donate to charities), eat, drink (safely) and be merry....If you're comfortable to do so, be someone's wing-person...and if you need a wing-girl, give me a call!

Happy Holidays LA Fellows and Job Training Staff!


Dani Zandel
LA Fellows, Cohort 3

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Are You an Entrepreneur? Yes, You Are!

Wendy Stackhouse of Cohort 2 is working as a Social Media Consultant in the Recruiting and Environmental Services industries, as well as in Public Relations. She learned about Entrepreneurship from Dr. Virginia Green at the LA Fellows: "No matter what industry or field you work in, whether you work for a multinational corporation, a mom-and-pop storefront or in your home office, you are an entrepreneur. Congratulations!",_You_Are!/

Monday, November 21, 2011

Joy Gemberling shares how the hidden job market worked for her!

I’m proud to announce that I’ve landed as a consultant for Plus Delta Consulting Firm, a LA-based firm specializing in leading organization development and change initiatives to produce better business results.

My story is very different from the majority of LA Fellows Cohorts since I started my job search in a new environment having relocated to California less than a year from attending my first LA Fellows class. In 2009, I reconnected to a high school buddy through Facebook and we fell in love. We both grew up in New Jersey; he’s been living in the SoCal area for quite a few years while I was still living in New Jersey. We had a long distance romance for several months. In January 2010, I was laid off from my Jersey (pronounced “Joisey”) job, relocated to California in May 2010 and got married in August 2010. During the Fall 2010, I began my California job seeking adventure, joined the Los Angeles chapter of the ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) and attended locally-based job seeking groups to network and learn more about companies/organizations within the area. Through the ASTD-LA’s LinkedIn group, I saw Allison Silver’s posting regarding the LA Fellows program and thought it would be a great opportunity to expand my network, partner with a nonprofit to gain new skills and expand my job seeking skills.

Being new to the SoCal area, I needed to make friends and expand my network. During our first LA Fellows class, I met Victor Beauchamp and Monqiue Carroll who both lived nearby in Pasadena and I suggested that we start a carpool. During our drives to and from classes, we commiserated regarding our job seeking woes and how it was affecting our families. Being so new to the area, I didn’t have any close friends to talk to and their friendship came at a perfect time in my life.

Back in Jersey, I was active with a variety of nonprofits and was looking forward to my LA Fellows internship. I had chosen three nonprofits that I was interested in working with, but wanted more information. I decided to contact LA Fellows who had interned at these nonprofits through our LA Fellows LinkedIn group. I was excited with the outpouring from many Cohorts graciously offering their experience and advice. I decided to accept an internship at Chrysalis where I recorded and edited 24 videos of their core classes to create 10 train-the-trainer videos in order for new volunteers to successfully facilitate specific Chrysalis classes to clients. I reached out to Ana Gamboa, who was in Cohort 2, had interned and now has a full time position as an Employment Specialist at Chrysalis. I hit a few bumps in my internship and Ana was very sympathetic and generously offered her job seeking advice. I also met Kimberly James, who was in Cohort 1 and also interned at Chrysalis. We’ve become friends and will be serving as Co-Directors of Community Services for ASTD-LA in 2012. Now remember, I’ve only lived in California for just over a year and have met some great people who have become friends all through the “joys” of networking (yes, a pun IS intended).

Since attending the LA Fellows Program, I significantly changed my job seeking philosophy and strategy. This job opportunity happened though my LinkedIn network. Having been an active member of my professional organization (ASTD national & ASTD-LA chapter), I decided to join ASTD affiliated LinkedIn groups. I read a posting on the ASTD-LA LinkedIn group from the owner of this consulting firm, checked out his LinkedIn profile and company website. Per Lynnette Ward’s advice, I sent a personalized cover letter seeking a consulting position with his firm along with my resume. Within 10 days, I was offered a consulting position at his firm. Before the LA Fellows program, I wouldn’t even have thought about seeking a position that wasn’t posted on a job seeking website. The recession has made it quite challenging in seeking a full time job. Through the LA Fellows program, I realized the value of the hidden job market, being open to endless possibilities and the power of networking.

There’s no good luck charm or one size fit all solution in finding a job in this turbulent economy. However, I hope sharing my story will open your eyes to new opportunities and possibilities towards your job search.

Joy Gemberling, Cohort 4

LA Fellow Honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals

LA Fellow Jo Ellen Krumm, a nonprofit communications professional and grant writer, was honored as a Medallion Recipient by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater San Valley Chapter, at its National Philanthropy Day event on Nov. 3. Jo Ellen, a member of Cohort 1, volunteered many additional hours after her internship at Valley Village, a nonprofit that serves developmentally challenged adults.

National Philanthropy Day Medallion Recipient
Jo Ellen Krumm, an LA Fellow from Cohort 1,
with Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian at the awards event.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Maximizing LinkedIn: Job Search

Wendy Stackhouse of LA Fellows Cohort 2 is now working as a Social Media Consultant for Artisan Creative, Alliance Environmental Group, and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and as a freelance blogger for various other clients. She also volunteers as a Web Content Development Instructor for the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church. She has been writing a series on how to maximize LinkedIn on Artisan's blog and this week's post discusses how to use LinkedIn for Job Search. She gladly gives credit for her expertise to LA Fellows Instructor Larry Braman and Cohort 2 Member Jay Bernard.

She recently wrote,  "I didn’t sign up with LinkedIn until I was looking for a job. I hadn’t even really heard of it when I was working in the non-profit sector and busy with the many hats I wore there. I should have signed up earlier."

Click here to read more:

Monday, October 17, 2011

People are being hired...decide you are going to be one of them!

Thank you Karyn Stump, Cohort 3, for sharing these very true and encouraging thoughts…

I was talking to a friend of mine who is currently unemployed and it reminded me a bit about what it is that one needs to make it through this difficult time.

You have to believe that you CAN get a job in this environment in spite of the environment. I said repeatedly during our Cohort, Lynnette and the other instructors mainly rebuilt our confidence.

If you approach your job search with the attitude that nothing you do will make a difference, then you will not find a job. A positive attitude is a must. That follows into your phone and in-person interviews as well.

People are being hired, even people who have been unemployed for a long time. Just decide that you are going to be one of them.

Karyn Stump receives her certificate at LA Fellows graduation for Cohort 3

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started

Wendy Stackhouse of Cohort 2 used what LA Fellows instructor Larry Braman taught her in this blog post for recruiter Artisan Creative where she is a Social Media Consultant:  Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turning a volunteer position into a paid position...One LA Fellow's story

Roxanne Rock, Cohort 4, recently shared how her volunteer position turned into a paid position.

I'm glad to report that I have completed my 100 volunteer hours for City Scholars Foundation.  It was a rewarding experience that allowed me to use my administrative skills and gave me the opportunity to work with the 2010 MS Suite.  The inhouse staff is comprised of just two people - the Founder and the Program Manager - so it felt good that I was able to attend to all of the small tasks it takes to put a program on.  Once my 100 hours were completed I let them know that I intended to volunteer to help with their upcoming program but that I had to reduce my contribution from two days to one day per week.  They knew that they needed more help than that to tend to all of the details.  They decided to hire a temp two days a week through October.  They offered me that opportunity.  Now I can say that I work for pay two days a week and am still able to continue my job search and networking three days a  week.  Thanks to LA Fellows, I get to update my resume to show that I am working!  

Roxanne Rock
Cohort 4

Monday, September 19, 2011

Victor Beauchamp of Cohort 4 shares his Top 5 Best Job Search Practices

When I think back on most useful practices I learned there are the obvious classics such as “bring shiny penny,” the “blunt instrument,” network, practice interview questions, volunteer, etc. which were all valuable lessons for me, but the “Top 5” that stood out during my search were:

1. Have an Accountability Partner(s)/ “Continue the Fellows” – Immediately after Fellows graduation I went into a “Post-Fellows” funk and started to slip back into some bad habits: staying up late, not wearing shoes, etc. Fortunately I was able to attend a Monday morning group of “Mini-Fellows” led by Julie-Ann, with Monique, and Lorita that had an agenda and weekly homework assignments. Just knowing that I had to start off my week with at least three people expecting big things from me really made a difference and helped keep me focused throughout the week. It also helped me feel like Fellows was still ongoing as we already knew each other’s issues and had an amazing shared experience that we could all draw from. I recommend that everyone have at least one “accountability partner,” but if it can be a few former Fellows I think the experience will be that much richer because you can reinforce to each other what you learned in the program. (Also, be friends with Joy Gemberling if possible: she is very resourceful, helpful, and a human good luck charm!)

2. Adjust Resume for Each Job (Use Hybrid with “Selected Accomplishments”) – Although this is a huge drag (especially when the “no’s” start rolling in) I took Lynnette’s advice and only applied for jobs that I thought I was really qualified for, and created at least a new unique “selected accomplishments” section for each with my best three bullet points that fit the job. This helped me immediately understand how I was qualified for the job, got my best attributes on to the first page, and became the basis for my cover letter. (If you don’t want to do this you have to at least use Lynnette’s resume template and follow it exactly to the letter unless you want to get in trouble : )

3. “Be Completely There” During the Interview – I would get super nervous during interviews and over-prepare which would create a tightening effect, but Larry’s numerous tips about speaking from your lower abdomen, “mee mow moos,” shaking it out, and finally just “letting go and trusting it will be there for you” really made a difference for me. I also found that using his SOAR template and putting those concepts on flash cards instead of actually writing out full interview answers allowed me to still grasp the basic concepts but sound less rehearsed…

4. Help “Non-Fellows” Job Search (Teach) – As I mentioned numerous times before many people in my other networking groups are very interested in LA Fellows: I used these opportunities to teach people the lessons which helped me better understand what I had learned and made it obvious to me when I was not practicing what I was preaching.

5. Take Risks/Get Out of Your Shell – I used the Fellows program to take advantage of every opportunity that was presented to me, even if it meant getting way out of my comfort zone (like speaking at graduation, attending black tie affairs, or having informational lunches with complete strangers that prefer to talk about “chicks” instead of job openings, true story : ( I figure whatever I had been doing for the last few years had got me unemployed so changing it might reverse the effect? Although none of those experiences directly led to me getting this particular job, I saw each of them as accomplishments that went in my “backpack” so when I started feeling nervous about the next panel interview I just thought: “this is easier than the graduation speech and that went ok so calm down.” It really helped put things in perspective forced me to see myself in a totally different light.

Although these were all important to me I really can’t emphasize enough the importance of continuing the spirit of support and community with other Fellows: in fact I think the only downside about landing for me is no longer having the chance to go to Mini-Fellows (that and the whole working every day thing : ) Seriously, please get together with each other because it really is the easiest way to “keep” what you learned. I wish you all luck in your job search and if there is any way I can help please let me know…

Victor Beauchamp, Cohort 4

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ara Easley shares how her LA Fellows training and volunteering helped her secure employment

Ara Easley, a proud LA Fellows graduate of Cohort 1, shares how she moved past the struggle and hopelessness of searching for a job and secured full-time employment.  Read all about how she made it happen:

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it... I was struggling at the time I was in LA Fellows, to the point of hopelessness. The people were great, the classes were helpful, but I felt like a lost cause. Then there was a job fair at LAVC. Tony asked who wanted to help set up, which gave us an opportunity to be of service in the moment, and talk up LA Fellows as well as ourselves. All of the skills honed in LA Fellows came into play. LA Fellows filled in the conversational gap of "what are you doing now?", and we had spent countless hours with all of our coaches figuring out what we wanted to do next, and how to present it concisely, confidently and with our own personality shining through.

I met a recruiter, who asked what I was looking for, and I perkily answered non-profit. He asked if I would be open to loan processing. My smile stayed just as big as I said yes. He asked what I had been making, and then presented this salary, which is a cut, but is way more than I was making while unemployed, so once again I stayed open and positive. The job turned out to be a Bankruptcy Specialist at Bank of America, temp-to-perm, and after the scheduled nine month contract it has finally gone perm! Nine of us started that day, and four of us are left.

It may have been a tip from Lynnette that put me over the edge... she said to use your real job title no matter how dry, and no matter how little it represents your actual job. I had an eight year stint at Northrop Grumman growing from Benefits Assistant to Associate Benefits Analyst to Benefits Analyst. The Bank of America job was obtained through resume alone, with the briefest of phone interviews. Those titles told the recruiter I had a background in Insurance and was very analytical and detail-oriented. I may have other skills, and they may have even come out more if I fudged my title to match the tasks from my previous position, but these are the skills I've been hired for, and am continuing to hone them while I am at Bank of America. I am truly grateful to LA Fellows for the support and the tools to get me back on my feet and back to work!"

Ara Easley, Cohort 1, proudly displays her LA Fellows certificate at graduation

Friday, September 9, 2011

LA Fellow blogs about the "Top 8 Traits Employers are Looking For: Creative and Marketing"

One of the graduates of LA Fellows Cohort 2 recently wrote this blog post about Job Search in her new role as Online Marketing and Social Media Consultant for Artisan Creative.  She said she reflected on much of what she learned in LA Fellows when writing the post.

She writes, "Do your research.  Know as much as you can about the company culture and the person you are meeting.  Prepare a couple of interesting questions to ask your interviewerLinkedIn is a great place for finding inspiration!"

To read the full post, visit

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wendy Stackhouse of Cohort 2 discusses job search best practices that really work!

There are two best practices that have served me well in the process of landing not one role, but two, both in a new field for me, Marketing.

First is to, before every single interview, phone, in-person, panel, write out the answers to the sample interview questions. Even "Tell me a little about yourself." (Why is that the hardest one?) Over the course of my job search, my answer has changed based on what's going on with me, what the role is, who I'm meeting, what stage of the process we are in, all sorts of reasons. Some of my answers are always the same, but to have them firmly in the front of my mind right before an interview has been essential to being articulate and calm during the meetings.

Second, remember that a job interview is a chance to meet another person, to find commonalities and maybe even make a new friend. Like an audience for a performer, they want you to do well, they want to like you. Although they are judging you in a certain way, they, like you, would love to discover that you are the perfect candidate. Interviewing and networking are both chances to meet new people and start new relationships. How fun is that?

I've had a lot of interesting experiences during my job search including a Dramatic Re-enactment of an interview (the panel messed up big time) and a very strange interview with a Daily Deal site. The jobs I have landed have come from internet site searches, black hole notwithstanding. I've tweaked my resume and cover letter over and over and over. And over. I've tried making deals with my karma. The most important factor has been thinking of the entire process as building relationships, start to finish. Today I can't wait to start working with my new manager next week and getting my feet under me in my new role. I get to build a community of creative professionals and that is my mission (thanks again, Dr. Green).

Best of luck to everyone and if there's anything I can do for you, please let me know!

Wendy Stackhouse

Cohort 2

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chai Chaloyphian, Cohort 4, shines at Habitat for Humanity

Congratulations to Chai Chaloyphian, LA Fellows Cohort 4, on completing over 100 volunteer hours at Habitat for Humanity. In addition to volunteering and completing the training portion of LA Fellows, Chai is on track to complete his MBA before the end of the year, will compete in his 15th LA Marathon, and has started his own company. What an inspiration!

Chai Chaloyphian, Cohort 4, proudly wears his Habitat for Humanity shirt and hat

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sharon Morgan, LA Fellows Cohort 1, shares invaluable job search advice

I really took the advice of the LA Fellows instructors to heart. What I was doing clearly wasn't working...for almost 2 years I was spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. The particular tips that helped me the most were:

1. I stopped spending so much time replying to job ads, and really focused on networking. But my networking was with small groups of people who I could build relationships with, not those large networking events where people hand out tons of business cards. If people can meet with you a couple of times, they are more likely to remember you and think of you when they hear of job leads. And they can be great support when you need a pep talk.

2. Network with unemployed people, and particularly with employed folks. Those who are unemployed can give you a heads up on jobs they hear about, but you're much more likely to get leads for unpublished job leads...and get a leg up in the interview knowing someone on the inside.

3. Be very clear about what you're looking for. If you can't concisely explain the type of job you want, how can anyone help you? Even if you'll take anything, ask for what you want first. Then say "but I'm interested in any position in x area". I met a woman this weekend at a party who is job hunting. I asked her what she was looking for. She said "anything". I asked her for more specifics, and she told me, but I can't remember what she said. I just remember the "anything" part.

4. Everything is a job interview. How you behave, whether it's during volunteer time, networking meetings, or parties, is a chance to make an impression on someone who could potentially be a help. If you're a whiny mess, you're not making a good impression. Save the whining for behind closed doors, and when you're around others, be your best self...that bright, shiny penny. Your friends aren't going to recommend you for a job if they don't think you're up for it; how you perform is a reflection on them, too.

5. Get to work!!! It doesn't matter what you do, but don't do nothing. It's important not only to have something current on the resume, but for your mental health as well. Your best bet is with a non-profit, as you know. They are grateful for the help, and you have at least one special skill that can be very helpful to them. If they won't pay you, volunteer. If it doesn't look like it can be converted into a paying job, find another non-profit where you can at least get experience or learn a new skill that will make you more sellable in the job market. If nothing else, you're getting your butt off of the couch and networking with people who are working. You'll probably get a great recommendation, too. And you'll have a chance to impress the people who are working at the non-profit, who can recommend you to their friends when they hear of job opportunities.

6. Don't be picky with job offers. As wrong and terrible as it is, people are more likely to hire those who are working vs. those who aren't working. I don't care if it's not making as much as you were making, or it's not using your skills as effectively as possible, or it's not geographically desirable. As Lynnette says, it doesn't have to be your job for the next 10 years. Maybe you'll be there for 6 months. Maybe a year. But at least you'll be working, and making yourself that much more desirable when the perfect job opens up. And you won't appear nearly as desperate during your interview for that perfect job, either.

In my case, I took full advantage of my LA Fellows volunteer experience. I networked with everyone I could at the non-profit, and made sure they knew what type of work I was looking for, and that I was open to any opportunity. I also continued to network with my LA Fellows, which turned into a job offer at another non-profit. Turns out the experience I had during my volunteer internship was exactly what they needed help with, too. It didn't pay a lot of money, but the job had benefits (woo hoo!) and gave me the chance to feel productive again. There's a lot to be said for having to get up, get showered, and go someplace every morning. I also picked up a couple of consulting jobs by networking with a small group at my university alumni group, too.

Within a couple of months the perfect consulting job offer came along...because of networking...and I nailed the interview. I was confident (thanks to my not-perfect but perfectly respectable job), didn't smell of desperation (again, thanks to my job), and even felt like I could negotiate with a little bit of confidence...or at least fake a little bit of confidence. Once I got in the door and was able to prove what I could do, I was able to transition from consulting to a full time job. It wasn't easy, or fast, but I finally feel back to normal again. I've got a great job, with a good salary and benefits. I'm even starting to accrue time off toward a vacation! It's taken me more than 2 1/2 years to get to this point...but if I can do it, anyone can! So stop reading this email, and get to to find an organization who can benefit from what you have to offer. Good luck!

Sharon Morgan
LA Fellows Cohort 1

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cohort Four's Cara Eichorn's graduation speech

Cara Eichorn, a member of LA Fellows Cohort Four was chosen by her fellow participants to give a "class perspective" about her experience in the LA Fellows Program in a speech at graduation and Cara has generously allowed us to post a copy of her speech here on the blog: 

Good Morning – Los Angeles Valley College Job Training team, our esteemed instructors, members of participating non-profits, distinguished guests, friends and families of the LA Fellows and to LA Fellows Cohort #4.

Before I get into the heart of what I'd like to share, a heartfelt thank you is extended to the Job Training staff, faculty and administration of LAVC and program partners for conceiving, creating, and implementing the LA Fellows program.

My name is Cara Eichorn and I am proud to be an LA Fellow. I am immensely grateful to be here and to represent Cohort #4.

To start, I'd like to read a quote that resonates deeply within me from Moliere. (Mole E Air) "It is not what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable." This ties in directly with my belief about responsibility for all of my actions. Moreover, the role of accountability helps me stay in integrity with my good intentions.

Establishing an open support system, communicating openly, being vulnerable, showing empathy, and establishing trust happened quickly and seamlessly for our group. Let me share a story that is very powerful that illustrates these ideals.

On Day 2 of our program, we were asked to stand up and tell the class who we are, what field we were in and what we were looking to do next. Everyone with some level of nervous anticipation, including yours truly, stood up, shared and sat down. Then, it was Matt's turn. He started, was on a roll and then it got unquestionably quiet in the room. He was at a roadblock and was doing his best to filter and process what he planned on saying. As one could imagine, if a pin were dropped, it would have sounded like a blaring horn. In the next moment, Matt was getting emotional and the room was absolutely silent, doing our best to give him the space he needed. We knew as a group--that this was a pivotal moment for Matt and ultimately for the entire class. After a period of silence, Victor showed empathy by sharing some things he had learned about Matt. This gave Matt an opportunity to regain his composure and for him to realize he was in a supportive environment. Then, Matt finished what he had to say in an eloquent style. This one example set a precedent and a foundation which opened the group up to being vulnerable, including Alicia who made a point when she shared to personally thank Matt, as this allowed her to share opening and freely. The tone was set--LA Fellows Cohort #4 was off and the fast lane.

Throughout our entire job search journey, we have shared many personal and professional stories through our course materials. We have learned about a multitude of different topics, including, advanced job search techniques, career growth, and volunteerism. All of us worked and have re-worked our resumes and cover letters, ad nausea, so that these documents would stand out favorably and get us the interview. And ultimately, the goal was and is to differentiate ourselves from our competition. Before the interview, we practiced answering interview questions as a class and even had a few mock interviews. These prepared the "lucky" ones who chose to participate in the mock interviews and hopefully gave them another dose of confidence. It was suggested to have 30 stories ready to tell, as these stories would most likely answer many interview questions that we could be asked during an interview.

The program was designed to thoroughly cover these topics and many others to give us a plethora of resources to use in order to have a potential advantage in this job market. As each classroom module was learned, we each gained more confidence and the knowledge that we could do “it”, whatever the "it" was. Through hands-on collaborative exercises to working independently, we each had a chance to test drive our new knowledge base.

In short, our class had a fun time learning new material. Often times, we were motivated or inspired to change our behavior or “conventional” way of thinking. In fact, come to think of it, we were often challenged to think and do things differently which was a breath of fresh air for many of us. We definitely had quite a few laughs and sometimes a few tears. Interestingly enough, the laughter would happen spontaneously when one least expected laughter to erupt. One hysterical example comes to mind is when we were asked to select a theme song that keeps our attitude upbeat and positive when we’re headed off to an interview. Rosie enthusiastically announced “Brick House.” The entire group was caught off guard and burst out in roars of laughter. Once again, our expectations, or at least mine were put in check---quite quickly.

Through applying skills that were reinforced through the LA Fellows program, it helped me land a consulting role with VCA Animal Hospital. Incidentally, VCA is one of my target companies. I am proud to say that I am passionate about my new role in training customer service to their IT department, so I am very eager to make a contribution that will impact their morale and their bottom line.

Concurrently, I will be doing my internship with the Los Angeles Valley Foundation, located right here on campus. My main focus will be to raise funds for the President's Circle initiative which provides funds for academic scholarships and other Foundation events. Who knows....some of you who are present today, may receive a phone call from me, so kindly, please take my call. It is for a great cause.

For all of us, we know this is the beginning and not the end. We have heard this all before, although now this statement probably resonates more loudly and with greater sincerity. I am elated we all have been on the same bus for our journey. The “bus” analogy does come into play once again. There have been many stops along the way and rest assured, there will be many more. Now, each of us is faced with knowing that the LA Fellows bus is heading to the main station for re-fueling, in anticipation that there will be a Cohort #5. Although I am very loyal to Cohort #4, we are breaking barriers, being fearless, rebuilding our confidence levels, and most of all, we are being vulnerable and willing to go the extra mile -- to land our next job. I sincerely wish everyone the best on your journey. I am rooting for you and I know you are rooting for me.

It is now time to board another bus, as the job search journey continues for many of us. Remember to take proactive action steps, to stay on course, and to remain positive with a stellar attitude. Now, we each must ask ourselves, “What is next?” For some, this answer will be simple and intuitive; for others, time is of the essence and Cohort #4 as well as the rest of the LA Fellows extended family is here to help.

I would like to leave you with the following quote by Gilda Radner. She said: “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I have learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

It has been an honor to be one of the speakers for Cohort #4. Thank you and I will see some of you on the next bus.

Cara Eichorn

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gail Soffer, LA Fellows Cohort 4, featured in The Soldiers Project newsletter!

Gail Soffer, from LA Fellows Cohort 4 was recently featured in The Soldiers Project newsletter.

They wrote, "I am thrilled to announce that we have hired a full time Development Director: Gail Soffer. She is a recent graduate of the Los Angeles Valley College LA Fellows program. We are fortunate to have found her as she brings to us a wealth of knowledge and skills from her many years of working with non-profits. She is passionate about the work of The Soldiers Project and has already attended several Veterans Events, made new contacts for us and expanded our visibility via Facebook and Twitter."
To read more visit:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Big Thank You from LA Fellow, Bill Papoutsis

I’d like to send a BIG THANK YOU to everyone at the Job Training Program for putting together a GREAT graduation event!  It was really inspiring to see all the people who are responsible for the creation of this program there.

It was great that the LAVC administration was there along with Councilmember Krekorian, all very supportive of the LA Fellows program. I now know that people care.

A big part of the success of the graduation was the fact that our two fellows, Cara and Victor, were very honest about their/our challenges trying to get back in the workplace and becoming productive citizens.

I have never seen better cooperation, generosity and honesty in a large group like that before, it may never happen again! It speaks volumes of Allison's and Keri's abilities in recruiting all of us as well as their leadership and help they provided us from the very beginning. I hope that we will get the funds so this program can continue on.

Today was the first day without attending an LA Fellows class in two months! It will be an adjustment.
We now have to apply what we learned in the class and just as our Program Director Lennie said, FIND WORK!

Again thank you for the opportunity to participate in this program and from now on we will always be connected with LAVC !!

Bill Papoutsis

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gail Soffer Reflects on her LA Fellows Experience

Gail Soffer, LA Fellows Cohort 4
I am really looking forward to reuniting with my fellow LA Fellows in Cohort 4 at our graduation on July 28th. I will be very proud to introduce you to my guest, the founder and director of the non-profit I now call home, Dr. Judith Broder. It was a very bittersweet experience for me to take "early graduation" to accept the position of Development Director at The Soldiers Project. My first day at work was exactly one month after our classes began, and it was surprising to find how strong a bond I had formed with 31 people in those 30 days. Although I love what I'm doing and am so grateful to be here, two weeks later, I still genuinely miss being in class and spending time with everyone.

I think the nature of what LA Fellows offers engenders a unique camaraderie among the participants rather than the competition that could be expected. Even though we have very different backgrounds and skill sets, we are, after all, competing for a very limited number of employment opportunities. And, especially with so many opening up to a transition into non-profit work, it would be natural to see each other as rivals. But I was so touched by the support, care, encouragement, and sharing of resources that was in abundance instead. How refreshing! So much credit for that is due to the environment created by the instructors and staff and the message behind the practical aspects of our trainings.

Yes, we were taught some priceless skills that would give us an edge and shown some amazing resources that would give us special access to apparently locked back rooms. Those things would certainly get us across the finish line ahead of the others. But what was most significant to me was the focus on exploring who we really are and what we really want. Getting in touch with what makes you thrive and flourish provides clarity on the destination and an understanding of how best to use the newly available tools to get there. And, on top of that, discovering your uniqueness completely dissolves the stress of beating out the competition. You can move forward with full confidence that there is a perfect match out there just for you. You still have to make plenty of effort but you can also enjoy the treasure hunt rather than race around in panic and desperation or collapse in despair of someone else getting "your" job. I like life being an exciting hunt for treasures waiting just for me!

So what I found conveyed in LA Fellows has been far more than job-seeking tools but some wonderful, far-reaching life lessons. I'm so thrilled to have shared the learning and growing process and this brightened part of my journey with such sincere and enjoyable travelers. I want to express tremendous appreciation for my companions and for this fabulous program.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spotlight on Daniel Ball from cohort three

Please join us in congratulating Daniel Ball from cohort three, who was recently named the salutorian of his graduating class at ITT Tech. 

Not only did Daniel receive the second highest grade point average of his class, but he has the distinction of doing so while completing his LA Fellows training at Los Angeles Valley college and securing employment as a programmer at B.A.R. Engineering and Manufacturing.

We celebrate this momentous achievement with Daniel and look forward to his continued success! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spotlight on Colette Ostrye

Colette Ostrye from cohort two recently completed her volunteer hours with Abode Communities, a nonprofit organization dedicated to opening new doors in people's lives through the creative and responsible design, development and operation of service-enhanced affordable housing.

We recently received a glowing recommendation for Colette Ostrye from Marla Alvarez, Community Services Manager at Abode that we would like to share a piece of:
Thank you, Colette for exemplifying the very best of the LA Fellows program and congrats on completing your volunteer hours at Abode Communities.
"Colette updated and reorganized the Excel tabulation matrix, entered the data and analyzed the results. She also made further refinements as needed to generate clearer answers from respondents. We will use the survey instrument that Colette adapted as a template for our current and future properties.
I have been very pleased with her work and the projects that Colette has completed. Colette is a warm and thoughtful person who is methodical and focused in her work. She is eager to learn and has graciously taken on tasks that can be quite tedious. She is self-directed and while she works independently, she does not hesitate to ask for additional clarification on tasks when needed. Our department can be quite busy and new projects come up quickly. Colette was always flexible and adapted to any changes with good humor. In addition, Colette solicited feedback on ways to improve her work.
We are pleased that we were able to provide Colette with an opportunity to explore other fields and to further enrich her skills. I am certain that she would be a welcome addition to any organization."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cheryl Norris talks about her new job and the LA Fellows experience

We are thrilled to announce that cohort 2's Cheryl Norris has just made an exciting career transition!  Cheryl will be configuring, testing, and training court employees in the use of new case management software in the California Courts system.  There is so much we could say about Cheryl's journey as an LA Fellow, but we thought you might enjoy hearing about her experience directly: 

"When I started the program, I had been unemployed for over a year and had no confidence that I would be able to find a job. I really didn't know what job I wanted, how to look for a job, or where to get started.
One of the most important things I learned, was to be honest with myself about what I liked doing and what I was good at, instead of just applying for jobs that were the same as my last job. Once I was able to find my focus after several false starts, I signed up for email alerts with many employment webesites, such as, and received emails everyday with new opportunities.
It only took 3 months for me to land a new job, which required me to use all the skills I recently learned during the LA Fellows program, such as resume writing, interviewing, networking, and most of all, the self confidence to go out and sell myself. 
I found the job I was looking for in terms of salary, commuting distance, and business application, and am grateful that a program like LA Fellows exists to help people in my situation get back to work."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hello and Welcome Cohort 4!

We are thrilled to welcome the exceptional men and women selected to be a part of the fourth cohort of LA Fellows!

Hailing from a variety of backgrounds and industries, this outstanding new class truly distinguished themselves during the long LA Fellows interview and application process. 

Cohort four officially started on June 6th and very soon they will be putting their newly refined skills to good use at their host nonprofit organizations.

Please give a warm LA Fellows welcome to cohort 4!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kenneth Strong creates marketing video for Valley Village

Thanks to our excellent nonprofit partners, the LA Fellows from each cohort have had exciting opportunites to contribute in meaningful ways to the organizations where they have volunteered. 

Kenneth Strong from Cohort 2 recently wrote, filmed, narrarated and edited this great promotional video for Valley Village, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting, fostering, developing and advancing the rights and interests of people with developmental disabilities:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Congrats to Kenneth Strong from Cohort 2

Kenneth Strong from Cohort 2 has secured employment with a National non profit health agency dedicated to helping children and adults with disabilities attain greater independence.  We are so thrilled for Kenneth and could say quite a bit about his experience with the program and how it helped him to find his new job, but we thought you might enjoy hearing directly from Kenneth, himself:

"I'm writing this two months after I completed the classroom portion of the LA Fellows program at LAVC, I can genuinely say the material you learn stays with you.  In just securing a job this week, I had a better and more focused approach than I had before I entered LA Fellows.  The program is many things, but for me, it best provided direction.  So often, when looking for a job we are distracted by so many opportunities that we forget exactly what to spend the bulk of our energy on.  I had spread myself so thin I was applying for jobs as diverse as Fire Fighter and Administrative Assistant with no real purpose other than to get a paycheck.  I lacked focus and each week I didn't get a job, my confidence dipped lower and lower.

Personally, the program taught me many things about the job market that I had not known-- as I hadn't had to look for a job for 10 years.  I learned big things, such as completely 100% re-writing my resume and little things such as don't slide around in your chair in an interview.  (This latter part came in very handy when, 
in my interview, I was given a chair on wheels and my instinct always is to twist and turn the day away when I sit in these things!  I kept still and professional and let my smile show my lighter side; not my slide :)  

The LA Fellows program most of all is about the people you meet.  Everyone has such diverse backgrounds; not just in careers, but in life experience, and having all these people working and learning side-by-side with you is a true asset.  You make friends and you move forward in life.  Remembering them and your successes together will build your confidence and become the bedrock in your career advancement. 

Being in such a dynamic group and led by experienced instructors, you not only learn interviewing and resume skills, but understand what other people look for in job seekers.  You get support from class members and the opportunity to support others.  You have a community and each day you learn and get better at what you are aiming for.  

Additionally, as a volunteer you meet people at Nonprofits in a very professional environment.  I had the opportunity to not only learn about their business in a Development office, but I got to make a promotional video for them -- something completely unexpected, but very satisfying for me personally.  Other people in the program were able to secure employment at the very places they volunteered at -- so the possibilities are fruitful.  The opportunities in the LA Fellows program are endless if you are willing to bring your 'A' game to the table because this is the perfect place for people who are out of work to let themselves shine again."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Friend's Place Volunteer of the Month - May 2011: Caroline McElroy

Caroline came to My Friend's Place ( through the LA Fellows Program in early March. In her weekly dedication to MFP, she has transformed the clothing closet, organized the art room, and helped with office work. Caroline loves having a client ask for a particular piece of clothing and, because of her time spent in the clothing closet, she knows exactly where to look! “[MFP] sees a need and fills it,” she said, “and you meet [the clients] where they are.” Thank you to Caroline for all her hard work and dedication to My Friend’s Place.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Last chance to become an LA Fellow. Final Orientation added Wednesday, May 11th at 10:00 am

Los Angeles Valley College Job Training is searching for unemployed men and women for what might be the final class of the LA Fellows program. Funded through a grant by the City of Los Angeles, the program provides unemployed individuals with free skills training and volunteer opportunities while they seek full-time positions.

LA Fellows participants will be selected through an application and interview process. They will receive seven weeks of training at Los Angeles Valley College covering executive level topics including critical thinking, advanced job search skills, and how to generate effective business leads. In return, participants will volunteer their time and talents by sharing their professional expertise through project based roles at local nonprofits.

The LA Fellows participants will acquire new skill sets, encounter countless opportunities to network with professionals, and project a marketable career candidate impression while presenting a community-focused image.


We hope you can join us at our last orientation session on Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 at 10:00 am at Los Angeles Valley College, which is located at 5800 Fulton Avenue, Valley Glen, CA 91401-4096. You may park in Lot B which is located at the corner of Oxnard Street and Fulton Avenue. Parking tickets will not be issued during the orientation meeting. You only need to attend one orientation, which is designed to answer all your questions about the LA Fellows program and application process.


An application is available online and you are encouraged to fill it out prior to attending the orientation – but it is not required to attend.

Last Chance

Because the program has only received funding for four classes, this could be the last opportunity to become an LA Fellow. If you know other job seekers who might be interested in the program, please encourage them to attend our last orientation.

For more information, please visit: Check out our blog to hear more about how LA Fellows are finding jobs and making a difference in their communities!

Thank you,

Allison Deutch

LA Fellows Project Coordinator


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mary Kimber networks her way to success

We are thrilled to announce that Mary Kimber of Cohort 1 has secured employment as a Business Development Associate at a local non-profit organization that provides the training and resources to create and sustain a highly-skilled worforce that contributes to local economic growth.

Using the networking skills she learned during her LA Fellows training, Mary stayed in constant contact with her colleagues and when a position opened up, she was the first person to know about this terrific job opportunity.  Networking is an essential skill for all job seekers and we commend Mary Kimber for learning that skill so well! 

Congratulations, Mary! 

Wendy Stackhouse transitions to Public Relations

We would like to congratulate Wendy Stackhouse from Cohort 2, who recently landed a position as a Media Relations Associate at a P.R. company that is a subsidiary of a large online marketing firm. 

After making the announcement about her new job, Wendy expressed her thanks to the staff, instructors and everyone involved with the LA Fellows Program. One of the class speakers at Cohort 2's graduation, and a frequent contributor to this blog, we feel certain Wendy will be a great success in her new industry.

Well done, Wendy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Job Seekers: Find your next career through free training and volunteerism. Become an LA Fellow!

Los Angeles Valley College Job Training is searching for unemployed men and women for the fourth class of the LA Fellows program. The program will provide unemployed individuals with skills training and volunteer opportunities while they seek full-time positions.

LA Fellows participants will be selected through an application and interview process. They will receive seven weeks of training at Los Angeles Valley College covering executive level topics including critical thinking, advanced job search skills, and how to generate effective business leads. In return, participants will volunteer their time and talents by sharing their professional expertise through project based roles at local nonprofits.

The LA Fellows participants will acquire new skill sets, encounter countless opportunities to network with professionals, and project a marketable career candidate impression while presenting a community-focused image.

We hope you can join us at our next orientation session on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 10:00am to learn more about the LA Fellows program and application process, and get your questions answered.

Orientation Dates and Locations

All orientation meetings will be held at Los Angeles Valley College at 5800 Fulton Avenue, Valley Glen, CA 91401-4096. You may park in Lot B which is located at the corner of Oxnard Street and Fulton Avenue. Parking tickets will not be issued during the orientation meeting. You only need to attend one orientation.

Thursday, April 14, 2011
10:00 am
Faculty Lounge (located near the Cafeteria)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
10:00 am
Cafeteria Conference Room

Monday, April 25, 2011
1:00 pm
Faculty Lounge (located near the Cafeteria)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
10:00 am
Cafeteria Conference Room

An application is available online and you are encouraged to fill it out prior to attending the orientation – but it is not required to attend.

If you know other job seekers who might be interested in the program, please encourage them to attend.

For more information, please visit:

Thank you,

Allison Deutch
LA Fellows Project Coordinator

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hello and Welcome to Cohort 3

After a long interview and application process, we are pleased to officially welcome the outstanding members of Cohort 3 to the LA Fellows program.  Hailing from diverse backgrounds and a wide variety of industries, they already seem poised to take advantage of the training and skills they are learning in class.

We wish them well on their journey and look forward to their success!

Exciting News from Elsa Murillo

On Tuesday, we heard some fantastic news from Elsa Murillo of Cohort 2 that we couldn't wait to share.

Elsa secured employment in her targeted industry: Healthcare.  She will be working for a leading National laboratory services company that is focused on high science and innovative new products.

It is never easy to make a transition from one industry to another, but Elsa put in the hard work necessary to make this opportunity materialize.  We at the LA Fellows program celebrate this excellent news with her.

Congratulations Elsa!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Congrats to LA Fellow Nicholas Koutouras!

Nicholas Koutouras of Cohort 2 recently secured employment!  He is now a Senior Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis Manager at a major National Bank.

Nick explained to his fellow cohort members that during his crucial last interview, the hiring manager wanted to know what he had been doing during his time off.  Without hesitating, and using the interview skills he had picked up during his training, Nick said that he had been taking part in the LA Fellows program.  He went on to talk about the volunteer commitment and how he was looking forward to helping out at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House.  The hiring manager was so impressed that he had been taking part in a development program that fostered volunteerism, that Nick said he believes being an LA Fellow really helped him to secure his new job.

Congratulations once again to Nick Koutouras!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Above and Beyond!

When the LA Fellows begin volunteering at their Non Profit organizations, we always hope there will be a meaningful match on both sides.  Our Fellows hail from diverse backgrounds and their experience and career expertise cover a variety of industries, so it is always exciting when they are finally able to go out and demonstrate their skills to their Non Profit hosts.

We are proud to announce that JoEllen Krumm from Cohort 1 has just completed more than 278 hours with her Non Profit Organization, Valley Village.

Thank you to JoEllen for going above and beyond to help Valley Village with their mission to protect, foster, develop and advance the rights and interests of people with developmental disabilities.

Way to go!

Two Weeks After

It’s funny, but since graduating from the LA Fellows a couple of weeks ago, I’ve never been busier!

Between (a little) online job hunting, (a lot) of networking events, (as many as possible) informational interviews and (a huge amount of) career development, I’m sure working will be a breeze compared to this!

We’ve been taught to keep the pipeline filled and make sure we’ve done a list of 25 proactive things, to think of ways we can become entrepreneurs, to build relationships and make sure everyone knows what we’re looking for.

I wish they’d taught me how to live without sleep.

But all of that aside, I am having a great time exploring companies and positions that excite me, finding places to get experience in my field, meeting and talking to people who have careers like the one I want and supporting my fellow Fellows in the same.

Today I submitted to an online magazine, published my first column on a hyper-local news site in LA, had an interview and followed up on some applications from last week, volunteered at my son’s school and at my church and worked at my part-time job.

What did you do today to advance your career? Do you know what to do? Do you know how?

There is one more Cohort this spring of LA Fellows coming up. Join us! It’s a lot more exciting than you might think!

Wendy Stackhouse, Cohort 2 and Blogger since 2005

Monday, March 14, 2011

LA Fellows Cohort 2 Graduation - Wendy Stackhouse's Speech

Thank you to the Job Training staff, the Faculty and Administration of LA Valley College, Program Partners, our guests and representatives from our nonprofits for being here with us today.

I feel like I’ve been writing this speech for seven weeks. And I guess I have. On Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on the LA Fellows Blog and my own and in my journal, I have tried throughout to think about what has really been going on and what the impact of the LA Fellows program has been on far. I say “so far” because the journey isn’t finished yet. And even when we all have fabulous new jobs, the journey will continue.

We all came into the LA Fellows missing something. What, you ask? A job, I would have said. That’s what’s missing in my life. But what were we really missing? A lot...and then again not so much.

So I will say thank you to our instructors both for showing us what we brought with us and for what they gave us that we needed.

We came here with our spirits. Thank you to Jim Marteney for showing us that the spirits we have and bring to our work are important and valuable and then how to tap into those spirits and put them to good use.

We came here with our brains and our bodies. Thank you to Larry Braman, a special reconnection for me from long ago and far away, for showing us the skills and energy we have and bring to our work are amazing resources for ourselves and our employers. And for showing us that any way we connect with one another and the world is significant.

We came here with dreams. Thank you to Dr. Virginia Green who taught us to only accept the best from ourselves, from our team, from our lives, from our time. Some of us didn’t know what our dreams were, some of us even found that our dreams were different from what we thought. Wherever we are in our journey today, all of us have gained clarity and if we don’t yet know what we want, we do know what we need.

We came here with an idea of what job search was. Thank you to Tony Jaramillo for giving us concrete skills to deal with what we have to go through to reach our goals.

We came here thinking we knew about group dynamics and communications. Thank you to Michael Tompkins for reminding us that listening can always be improved and that openness to others is a huge asset in any situation. And thank you for being there for us after the program ends.

We came here feeling powerless. Great thanks to Roberto Guitierrez for giving us a safe place to find the power within us and proclaim it to the world.

And for the things we needed:

Thank you Doug Card for getting us up to speed on the computers with such good nature, humor and patience.

Thank you to Andrea Mitchel, who made “nonprofit” into a reality for us, a place where we can learn and grow and thrive. And for giving us a whole new skillset that will serve us well as we move on.

And to Lynnette Ward, thank you for giving us so many things we really did not have at all through her immense knowledge and generosity: what to do, what to use, what to bring, what to say, what to ask, and what to do when we land.

And Allison, our bright shiny penny, our touchstone, our confidante, our mentor. I cannot imagine anyone doing this better than you do, working harder, being kinder.

But, sorry everyone, my biggest thank you has to be to my colleagues. Thank you for connecting with one another, for supporting one another, for becoming a family, for crisis counseling and for laughter. I don’t think any of us knew we were missing each other, but we were and now we’re not. And thank goodness, we never will be.

I will finish with an Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

Until we meet again.

Thank you.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cohort 2 Finds Their Rhythm

LA Fellows took a break from the classroom to participate in a
lively drum cirlce led by instructor Roberto Gutierrez!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Week Four (better late than never)

We planned to celebrate the halfway point (lunchtime on Wednesday) and were stymied a bit by not planning quite well enough, but enough of that!

Having reached the halfway point, and the first fulltime placement of one of our Cohort (yay, Nick!) we have all started to realize that it will soon be over.

Last week I talked about building relationships. How important this group has become to one another. And luckily, due to Facebook and email and LinkedIn and Twitter, we will keep in touch, keep track and keep seeing each other in the future. We need to hold each other accountable, to encourage each other and to continue to be a team. And a team we are!

Do you need a reason to get up and get out in the morning? Do you need some friends who understand what you’re going through? Do you need some help refining your brand? Do you need some coaching for interviews?

Join the LA Fellows Cohort 3!

We are all waiting to meet you!

Wendy Stackhouse, Cohort 2 and Blogger since 2005

Want to be an LA Fellow? Recruiting Job Seekers for the Next Class!

Apply to be an LA Fellow

LA Fellows are accepted through an application and interview selection process. The first step is to attend a mandatory orientation at Los Angeles Valley College Job Training.


At the orientation, you will meet Los Angeles Valley College Job Training’s staff, learn more about the LA Fellows program and application process, and get your questions answered. Dress for orientation is corporate casual.

Orientation Dates and Locations

All orientation meetings will be held at Los Angeles Valley College at 5800 Fulton Avenue, Valley Glen, CA 91401-4096. You may park in Lot B (map available here) located at the corner of Oxnard Street and Fulton Avenue. Parking tickets will not be issued during the orientation meeting. You only need to attend one orientation.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Cafeteria Conference Room

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Faculty Lounge (located near the Cafeteria)

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Great Resource for Job Seekers - ( is an online resource for job seekers and employers throughout the Los Angeles region. JobsLA provides you with access to workforce development and human resources services at any time wherever you have access to the Internet. It is available both in English and Spanish.

JobsLA provides one site where job seekers can search job postings from thousands of employers in the Los Angeles region. Every day new, unduplicated postings are drawn from all over the Internet, including the web sites of private corporations, state job boards, local newspapers, recruiters, hospitals, government agencies, and more.

In addition to acting as the most comprehensive online job board for Los Angeles, JobsLA provides a number of additional tools.

Tools for Job Seekers:

• Highly targeted job search capabilities that allow you to narrow down your job options based on a variety of criteria, including occupation, industry, skills, salary, employer name, and more

• A virtual recruiter tools that automatically reviews job postings and notifies you of jobs that match your skills

• Career tools that allow you to assess their skills and job interests and to access information about the conditions of the Los Angeles labor market

• Comprehensive information about training and employment opportunities to improve your skills and marketability to employers

• Résumé and cover letter building tools that provide you with simple step-by-step instructions to create professionally formatted documents

Tools for Employers:

• A free job posting board where you can advertise job openings to a wider audience on the Internet

• Targeted résumé search capabilities that allow you to quickly filter through candidates and find the most qualified talent

• An easy-to-use tracking system that allows you to manage all their job openings and to track candidates throughout the recruitment process ( is available courtesy of the City of Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don't Get Left in the Dust!

Paula Guenon

Don't Get Left in the Dust

PAULA GUENON, LA Fellows Cohort 1

After 20 years working at Warner Bros. Studios, I was laid off in 2009. This gave me the opportunity to pursue dreams that I had abandoned for some time. I wanted to be more creative and provide a service to the public. However, I realized I was “behind the times” with new and changing technologies. I had to retrain and reinvent myself.

Working as a Manager at Warner Bros., and being officer in the non-profit organization Toastmasters, I enjoyed coaching and training people to succeed in their work and overcoming their fears.

If you would like to be on the show to promote your project, business or non-profit event, contact me at