Ever since Lori Kennedy ’93G was a graduate student interning in Lehigh’s Office of Career Services, she has been helping Lehigh students, alumni, and others navigate their careers.
“I took a career development course taught by Dr. Arnold Spokane and was instantly intrigued with how we make career decisions,” said the alumna of Lehigh’s Counseling and Human Services graduate program. “It was a big turning point in my own career. I loved the ability to be a part of the process and to help people navigate career decisions…to identify values, interests, skills, and how they relate to our career choices.”
As the new director of Lehigh’s Office of Career Services, Kennedy will now devote her ingenuity to expanding the outreach and opportunities that the department offers. Part of that initiative is to increase networking connections with alumni, who are so important to the success of students entering the workforce.
“It is daily that alumni are either here on campus to recruit, make a presentation, or have a position to post,” she said.
“The Lehigh community is deeply dedicated to the success of our students and willing to partner and contribute to their success.”
Alumni volunteers regularly visit campus to participate in events such as the Resumé Marathon, Mock Interview Day, or Career Fair. In September, Lehigh’s Career Fair connected 117 employers to more than 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students. During the 2012-2013 academic year, 1,216 corporate partners worked with Career Services to interview on campus or help students secure jobs or gain valuable experiential experience through externships, internships, and co-ops. Much of that collaboration is done through alumni involvement.
“The Lehigh alumni network is amazing in the support that they provide our students,” said Robert Wolfenden, assistant vice president, Alumni Relations. “Lori Kennedy will expand an already strong group of volunteers who regularly return for on-campus Career Services programs, invite students to gain on-site work experience, and seek to fill positions with Lehigh graduates.”
Kennedy, who replaced Donna Goldfeder after she retired in August, brings a wealth of impressive experience in career development and employer relations to her new role. In her former position at Lehigh, she was the director of Alumni Career Solutions and Volunteer Engagement. She and her team were recognized as launching one of the first alumni career programs that combined webinars with personal career coaching. Their work garnered national attention and was featured in the NY Times for pioneering a new program that could meet the needs of mid-career professionals. Kennedy presented to more than 400 colleges and universities on how to develop and launch alumni career programs.
“Career Solutions uses a blended approach to meet alumni career needs through web seminars, individual career coaching, networking, workshops, e-mail exchange, and online tools,” she said, explaining that these services are for graduates who have been Lehigh alums for more than a year. “Nationally, many universities are not staffed to provide services to alumni, which is why Lehigh’s unique approach is vital in providing continued support to our graduates.”
In Career Services, Kennedy will lead a very busy and successful staff who educates students and first-year alumni on how to transition from college to career. The main objectives are to teach career-related skills, gain practical experience in the workplace, and secure first destination plans in careers or graduate school. With the help of alumni volunteers, the Career Services staff offers professional, career, and leadership development to promote student success.
Recently, a Philadelphia Inquirer article quoted Lori Kennedy and stated statistics from Lehigh’s online job placement report charting the success of 2012 graduates. According to the article, the report was lauded by the Department of Education and is being viewed by the Obama administration as a model to follow for a new college rating system.
Posted on Friday, December 06, 2013