A Team That Eats Together… Succeeds Together?
My name is Jasmine S. Jackson, University Career Services Peer Career Advisor and Mason student.
I’ve been here as a peer career advisor for two years. I’ve seen a lot of changes.
We’ve added many new staff members, introduced a new operating model, had an office makeover, and introduced a new flavorful tradition. I think Christine Cruzvergara, Director of UCS, summarizes it well:
“Our major shift to an industry model and our focus on being customized connectors has resulted in amazing relationships with our students, employers, alumni, and campus partners. Over the past two years, we’ve welcomed 10 new staff members (myself included) while rolling out our new approach and I’m so proud of our UCS team for embracing change and driving innovation. There’s a new energy that surrounds our office!”
What UCS is doing appears to be working. Student appointments are up over 40%, and 94% of students who
responded to our appointment survey say they enjoyed their experience. The successful changes and re-model at UCS have even gained attention from career centers at other universities.
The switch to a new industry-specific model, which uses Industry Advisors to connect Mason students to their prospective industries, is arguably the most high-profile change.
But, I think there’s something equally important for UCS’s success.
While the new industry model might be the most visible change, there’s another change which might be the most appropriate to capture the office’s “personality.” The office already had lunch together, but the newest addition to the team– Quayla Allen — suggested holding a monthly office-wide cook-off. Each cook-off has a new theme. Each cook-off has a winner who has their name inscribed (sharpie’d) on the crown (chef’s hat).
While sampling each other’s dishes, Career Services staff share new recipes, share company, and share ideas. This is University Career Services – a group of creative thinkers who like to get involved and love to try new things.
“It gives the office a competitive camaraderie,” said Jessica Adams, UCS Front Desk Manager. “It inspires me to try new things and get involved.”
As a senior at Mason and a peer career advisor at UCS, I’ll vouch for the environment made by an idea-driven staff and the interaction between those personalities. Everyone builds on each other’s ideas. Everyone connects and engages with each other.
I’ve heard that a family that eats together, stays together.
Similarly, a team who eats together – and at the same time shares ideas, works together for a common goal, and can have fun in the process — is a team which succeeds together.
That’s just what UCS is.