Sean Goheen (Host) 00:00:01
Greeting scholars and welcome to Following the Gong, a podcast of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State.
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Following the Gong takes you inside conversations with our Scholar Alumni to hear their story so you can gain career and life advice and expand your professional network. You can hear the true breadth of how Scholar Alumni have gone on to shape the world after they rang the gone and graduated with honors and learn from their experiences so you can use their insights in your own journey. This show is proudly sponsored by the Scholar Alumni Society, a constituent group of the Penn State Alumni Association. I'm your host, Sean Goheen, class of 2011, and college staff member. If this is your first time joining us, welcome. If you're a regular listener, welcome back.
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Sean 00:00:55 Haley Staub Rappoldt class of 2018 is the Assistant Director of volunteer programs in Penn State's division of Development and Alumni Relations. She has been in this role since graduating with her BA in Public Relations with honors where she supports 700 plus Penn State fundraising volunteers. Our conversation focuses primarily on volunteerism and philanthropy, but all scholars can get value out of this episode by learning about leadership and skills that can be useful in any industry and in any volunteer role. For Haley's full bio and a more detailed breakdown of the topics we cover, check out the show notes in your podcast app. Now let's get right into our chat with Hailey following the gong.
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Sean 00:01:40 Haley, thank you so much for joining me here on Following the Gong, though I'm very excited to talk with a fellow volunteer manager. For those of you who don't know, that's a big part of my job outside of this podcast is working with volunteers for the college and Haley does a lot of volunteer work with Penn State University overall. Now, before we get into exactly what we're talking about there, volunteer management, Haley, I know you have a story that will resonate with some of our current and probably some of our prospective scholars about how you first came to attend Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College, if you would like to share.
Haley Staub Rappoldt 00:02:13 Yeah, of course. Thanks so much for having me. So I would say it, there's really two main reasons that I decided to come to Penn State and to Schreyer specifically, and the first being Penn State THON. Um, so tha is something that I first attended in eighth grade as a leader for my school's Mini THON , and I haven't missed a year since. So simply put, it really is something that I found a passion in where I saw myself and a potential to make a difference. I think that San gives children the opportunity to grow up and chase their dreams like I was able to do as a Penn Stater and so beyond academics found is really what epitomized what it meant to be a Penn Stater and what it does mean to be a Penn Stater and has inspired my lifelong commitment to philanthropy. So that was one, um, huge point that led me to Penn State and then the second being the Honors College.
Haley 00:03:08 So I admit I was a little bit intimidated by the university's size. I had come to Penn State many times growing up, but never really had seen myself through the student lens. So having access to a smaller community with opportunities to learn and to grow inside and outside the classroom as academics was a priority to me. So knowing I would be with other like-minded driven students in that way was something I needed to sell me on Penn State. And the day I got accepted to Schreyer was the day I made my college decision and hit accept.
Sean 00:03:42 Well, I can reassure you, Hailey, you're not the first alum to appear on following the gong that was a little intimidated by the size of Penn State, especially University Park, and looked at the honors college's way to help shrink that. So you're in good company with many of our alumni and students now. There's a lot of majors and skills that could lead to a career and a life path that involves philanthropy and volunteerism, which clearly being involved in Manyon and drew you to Penn State was really important to you. And as a theme through our conversation today, what drew you of all things to public relations? Yeah,
Haley 00:04:14 So to your point, there really is no major in fundraising, in volunteerism and philanthropy. So nor did I know that was where my career was going to lead me at the time that I was deciding what major I wanted to be at Penn State. So I thought first journalism and just because of a passion for writing and storytelling, and I think ultimately public relations had that same theme in mind, but broadened it in my mind. I knew I could take the skills of effective communications many places in different industries, different fields, and really because I wasn't sure, that's why I picked something so broad that I knew I would enjoy and that would hopefully give me some clarity as I had more experiences in the area.
Sean 00:04:57 Now I wanna give a special shout out to an unexpected guest appearance that I'm seeing. I believe you have a four-legged friend. If you wanna give a quick shout out for all the dog lovers here, if you wanna introduce your, it looks like some kind of golden doodle maybe.
Haley 00:05:11 Definitely. Yeah. So Quincy, my coworker, he is a golden doodle. I rescued him when he was three months old and I was living by myself and was like, I'm, I'm ready for a companion. And he hasn't left my side ever since.
Sean 00:05:26 Well, excited to have Quincy here on following the gong as well. I'm a, I'm a dog lover. We have three in my house, so glad to hear that your volunteerism tends to, uh, rescuing animals as well. That was not part of the script, not part of the planned conversation. Just dogs are gonna do what dogs are gonna do. So I decided to have Quincy join us. Hailey, back to what I had intended to talk to you about. Behind you, there's this beautiful kind of collage art wall of a whole bunch of thaw memorabilia, and you had the distinct opportunity to serve on the executive committee for th 2018, I believe, right? Uh, and that's when we first met, when I started at the college, you were a senior. What was that experience like? How did you prepare for that? What did you learn? What insights do you have for scholars who are looking to get involved, not just in thon, but in other clubs and organizations, either at University Park or at the Commonwealth campus that they're attending?
Haley 00:06:25 Certainly. Yeah. So like I said, THON was something that I feel fortunate that I knew about coming into Penn State, but I think I learned that that is not the case. So many people come to Penn State having either just heard of tha or maybe having never heard of it, but wanting to get a part of what they determine is this tradition and that they continue hearing about. And I think that that is just part of it is this tradition to contribute to something greater and that contributes to the Penn State identity. So I think that I came in freshman year going to the involvement Fair, walked right up to the HON booth and said, this is what I wanna do. And I really had no idea the complexity of the organization and all that went into it. I love that there are so many different ways to be involved in thon.
Haley 00:07:14 So I really feel that, and being a leader, I felt that I had a greater sense of this than I did as a freshman, of course, but that there really is a place for everyone to contribute their own unique skills to make a difference within this organization and within this cause. So whether you are involved in the women and engineers, you can still give back to tho and I love that. Um, so I, I myself took the like internal committee, captain executive committee route because I found, um, the public relations committee, which is probably not surprising, um, that I started there and kind of worked my way up as I had those opportunities as I learned from, uh, more veteran, um, students and volunteers who also invested in me. And I feel really fortunate and grateful for that. But I think that from that experience, there's really no way to prepare for it other than to be open-minded, um, to continue to sign up, like I said, walked up and put my name on the list even though I was not ready to be a captain as a freshman.
Haley 00:08:18 Like, I didn't even understand that I was skipping the whole committee member step, but by showing that enthusiasm, by asking questions, okay, then how do I get there next year? Um, that kind of thing. That's the kind of vision I guess I had for being involved in tha and I think that I learned also that it is challenging sometimes to be a leader among your peers, um, when you're also friends with them. So I think that that's, that was such a great learning experience for me, is finding the balance between being friends with somebody and being their age and then also being motivated to this end result, knowing that we had work to produce at the end of the day also. So that stands out to me as a key learning experience that I think I, I continue to benefit from having that.
Sean 00:09:09 I imagine, especially 'cause many of the volunteers that you work with, and we'll get to that in a minute, are much older than you. So I think, we'll, we'll talk about that in a minute. Now, if you're wanting to learn more about what it's like to be on Thet th executive committee, I would encourage you to go back and listen to episode 20 of this show. We had a panel with several other THON directors who were scholar alumni, so I encourage you to go back and listen to that. Now, Hailey, I'm gonna throw you another curve ball here. For those who are maybe somewhat familiar with th or looking to grow their leadership in th there's a communications committee, which several of the panelists on that episode were the directors of at various points, and you were the director for the public relations committee. What is the difference between those two things? That
Haley 00:09:51 Is a great question and one that we get that gets confused quite often. Um, so really the easiest way to explain it is communications is communicating with SANS volunteers and I would say internal stakeholders. So all of the student organizations at Penn State, all of these volunteers, captains, committee members, directors, that is their stakeholder base that they're communicating with, they manage the, um, newsletter that goes out to those volunteers and assists with fundraising in that way, whereas public relations is more externally facing. So we were dealing with our media news contacts, we were part of the production team creating videos and social media content, those kinds of things. So what the, what the THON brand image looks like to the public.
Sean 00:10:43 Now, we've talked about th quite a bit in the first few minutes of our conversation today, but I know outside of academics being a scholar and outside of tho you were also involved in some other opportunities on campus completely separate from these things. What else did you do to enhance your experience as a scholar? The
Haley 00:11:01 Other ways I tried to get involved were now looking back all tied to the honors college or honors community in some way. So the first and one that I got involved with freshman year right away was the Shire Honors College Student Council. So this was just an, an easy way to meet the people who I was living with, who I was passing in the honors dorms every day, who I was sitting in classes with. And I loved that it was a smaller, tight-knit club than hon such a large organization. So I really appreciated that. And also having the opportunity to interact with the honors college administration who supported the student council a great deal. And I also, later on, I think sophomore year I served as the th chair for the Honors College. So Schreyer student Council also is paired with a four Diamonds family and raises money for ths.
Haley 00:11:54 So we would travel with the student council members to the family's house for Canyon weekends. And so some of those are some of my fondest memories through the student council. And then in addition to that, I also wanted to take advantage of the travel opportunities that Schreyer so generously, um, made available to scholars. So though I never wanted to miss a semester, a full semester though, I, I do love to travel. I could, I wanted to be involved in thought and to have that leadership position. I wasn't ready to take a whole semester away, but I still found opportunities through embedded honors courses. So I took a, one was through the commu one through communications, which was Global Media Systems, and we traveled to Prague over spring break. And then I also did one my senior year for an arts credit in Sydney, Australia. So I was still able to find those opportunities and I highly encourage those embedded honors courses. That wasn't something I knew right away, but I was so happy that I found and took advantage of.
Sean 00:13:00 I think that's really helpful for scholars to hear when you typically first think of study abroad opportunities, you're thinking a full semester abroad in the Czech Republic or Australia or Japan or, or in Brazil, wherever you're, wherever you would go. So that's really a great opportunity, especially for those of you who are like Haley, who did not want to give up some of your opportunities on campus, like being involved in THA or in student council. And then Hailey, I wanted to ask, you shared kind of a, a neat anecdote from I think one of your, your, I don't remember what we call them honestly, but the phys ed requirement, uh, one of your classes like squash or racketball, something to that effect. Could you kind of talk about not just that class, but kind of the connections that came out of it?
Haley 00:13:44 Yeah, it was really fulfilling. I needed to fulfill my kinesiology, um, credit requirement and I was looking at different opportunities that I saw court sports. So having played tennis, um, growing up, that was easy. I'm like, sounds great. So long story short, I really formed a relationship with the court sports professor throughout the course of our semester together and it really blossomed into an opportunity to lead a bible study together for Penn State Christian athletes. So eventually, and that actually even came after graduation. So I took the class my senior year and then this was an opportunity after graduating and then deciding to stay here in my career, which will come later. But that was an opportunity she presented to me. And to be able to continue that, to be able to continue growing together, you really never know the people that Penn State will place in your life. And she also, um, read a bible verse at my wedding recently. So it just shows you that, um, people make a difference and I thank Penn State for that relationship.
Sean 00:14:48 So I think a key moral there would be get to, to know your professors, go to office hours or maybe in that case play an extra round of tennis with them on the courts. Great, great anecdote there, Hailey. Now we've talked a lot about philanthropy, service, volunteerism. That's a huge theme of our conversation today and your, and your story. But your thesis doesn't cover that in the slightest bit. It's still a fascinating topic. So I'd love if you could share about it and how it has nothing to do with these
Haley 00:15:20 True and intentionally. So, so when I was thinking about my thesis, I of course very much wanted to write about philanthropy and th and anything like fundraising focus, but I felt also this other side of me that wanted to use this as an opportunity to diversify my experiences and my knowledge. Like when else was I going to do an in-depth research and study of another topic that I was passionate about? And I decided that since I was already doing so much with hon, like let's explore something new. So, and I meant it wasn't totally new. So the thesis itself, long title, understanding the effects of snack food packaging labels on consumer decisions in preparation for mandatory G M O labeling, and that was long to put it simply, is talking about how the timely issue of litigation hitting snack food companies with the increased focus on a consumer right to know.
Haley 00:16:26 So as product lines such as like organic, gluten-free, non G M o as these terms are, were becoming and are still becoming more popular, how are they affecting snack food brands and what they communicate to their consumers. And so this was really inspired. I, my, one of my very first jobs was a marketing intern at TZ Quality Foods. So I grew up in the snack food capital of the US which is Hanover, Pennsylvania. And so TZ happens to be located in Hanover. And so that was one of my first jobs. So I had a snack snack. Food wasn't totally new. I was interested in the marketing of it. It's a very different industry to study G M O labeling, like, you're going to eat a bag of chips, at the end of the day you're going to eat a bag of chips. So it was interesting to study the nutritional value of that and like what consumers look at when they walk down the snack food aisle and how that is changing. Um, so really that's the story of the unique thesis topic.
Sean 00:17:27 It's certainly interesting 'cause last I checked, I had a course that was focused on sustainable agriculture and one of the key takeaways even over a decade later that I took from that is there's really no consistent definitions around organic in a lot of these other terms. What does it mean to be vegan, gluten-free? How are different companies and industry trade groups defining that? So that's certainly fascinating 'cause I think of a bag of chips, it's like a lot of consumers I imagine are probably more price conscious than, than anything. Is that something that you found?
Haley 00:17:57 Yes. And I think, like I said, it's a, it's an interesting product line to focus on this labeling topic of, and, but I agree with you. I I think that exactly what you said is what makes it such a complex issue. And then different states doing different things regarding the labeling is what adds a whole nother level of that. So that's kind of all of that that I was discussing in the thesis paper.
Sean 00:18:25 The other piece that really jumped out at me about what you said, in addition to making me hungry, and probably you as the listener as well, I had visions of pretzels and potato chips dancing in my head from a Pennsylvania brand that I think many of you are probably familiar with, not sponsored <laugh> though if anybody from from us wants to reach out, happy to talk. So you were heavily involved in th and all this and you consciously chose to look at the thesis as an opportunity to broaden your horizons and do something different. So I wanna suggest that you take that into consideration as you're thinking about your thesis, the listener and the different things that you're involved in so that you aren't just one track, but that you couldn't really get the most out of your experiences. Now you mentioned that you interned for them, which is kind of what inspired your, your topic in addition to probably just enjoying snacks like most people. What other kind of internships and practical experiences did you have and what you learned from them? Yeah,
Haley 00:19:21 So that one, that was my very first internship, like I said, with Ts. And that was marketing focused. And then I think I, after having an introduction, then I went into college. So having an introduction to public relations, I started thinking more along that lines of, okay, what does a job in this industry look like? So that was my next step, was looking for an internship at a public relations firm. So I did that, um, with Tierney, which was a great organization and opportunity to learn what it looked like to be a professional like media contact, to pitch the media, to work on behalf of clients. So we were promoting, um, Pennsylvania tourism. So a lot of what I, I, it was also fun that sometimes there was crossover with TZ there that TZ and being the snack food capital could be a draw of bringing people to Pennsylvania.
Haley 00:20:13 So that was a fun, um, kind of correspondence there. And then I think I also wanted to see, I looked for other opportunities to diversify again that, okay, this was a smaller, medium sized public relations firm. I also had the opportunity to be a public relations intern at the honors college. So that was something that was promoted, I believe, within a listserv that I heard about. And so I interviewed for that position. And so that was very different. So doing public relations for tourism and doing public relations for an higher education honors institution is a very different audience. The communications, the branding, all of it is very different. So when you're dealing with such a broad field as communications and public relations, I think that putting yourself in different opportunities and different environments, um, is something else. Like not just a firm, try an institution, try a, try different sizes, um, of institutions and industries and organizations. They all give you a very different feel. So I think that I tried to seek out internships and opportunities that would gimme something different. So ultimately I can narrow down where what would be the best fit. And
Sean 00:21:28 You had one other internship that probably was a little bit more impactful than others because, not to give it away, but I will led directly to your role that you currently occupy. Can you talk about that internship, how you discovered it and some of the lessons that you learned early that really set you up for success?
Haley 00:21:48 Yeah, so I ultimately was sitting in a thaw meeting and as a captain and heard about the development of an alumni relations internship at Penn State during my junior year. And so I heard this at a THA meeting was like, oh, this sounds great. Like I love what I'm doing with tha, I didn't know I could continue anything like that, so sure, why not? Go for it. So really it was more of a, I'm really passionate about tha this was, this is philanthropy related, let's, let's see what it's like. And it's very, having coming off of a public relations internship, this would be very different. So I thought, sure, let's just go for it. And really, I think I came into like many students understanding philanthropy maybe had a very, very narrow vision as to philanthropy equals th and sure it is and th is such a great part of what Penn State does and is.
Haley 00:22:50 But also there is so many other facets of philanthropy and what goes into fundraising at a higher education institution like Penn State. And I think understanding that this is a career, that it's not just raising money. There's so much more that goes into it, such as working with foundations, working with corporations, drafting guidelines, meeting with donors, working in stewardship, like understanding that there are so many different places that you could plug into making philanthropy a career was something that this internship showed me. And yeah, I credit my career today and staying at Penn State to this internship because that's what really opened my eyes. I never would have considered taking my communication skills in this direction in the way that this internship showed me that I could, I could
Sean 00:23:44 Do that. So you interned with D D A R as we refer to it in the shorthand because in higher education we love our abbreviations, and now you work full-time in that same office. So how did you translate that internship and those relationships into the full-time job? What was the story there?
Haley 00:24:04 Yeah, so I was placed in the Office of Volunteer Programs, which at the time was not necessarily an office, it was just one person who was leading the volunteer programs efforts. But that's where I was placed for the summer though I was an intern and I was in between my junior and senior year at Penn State. So knowing that I was going back to school in the fall, I was going to be a THO director that year. So knowing I was also gonna have a pretty busy schedule, um, I remained in touch with my supervisor at that point, but wasn't sure really where the year would take me. Um, I didn't necessarily stay on part-time because I knew that I had the, the fond commitment and I wanted to give everything I had to that. And so I remained in touch with her. And I think a lot of the projects also that I was working on let themselves to follow up in that they were, they were things that were going to continue to be implemented and working on.
Haley 00:25:04 So it was something that I had something to talk about and that I could potentially continue if I wanted to come back. So when I saw, it was right before graduation <laugh>, my senior year, I was notified that there was an opening and that volunteer programs was expanding into an office. So like I said, it was one person and it was becoming three, so nothing huge, but they were hiring for two different roles. And I, the morning of graduation, I went and interviewed, um, for one of those roles. So it was kind of a, was a whirlwind of being exciting about graduating and a little bit nervous about, okay, am I going to be here? Like I never thought I would be here. Like I thought this was the end of the chapter at Penn State, but maybe it's not kind of thing. But I also knew that if I had the opportunity to continue the work that I did in the internship and that I loved and a team that I was passionate about working with and working for that, that was an opportunity I wanted to go for.
Sean 00:26:03 So obviously you, you got the job, you, you had a pretty successful and happy graduation day, earned, you earned your degree, got a job, kind of the dream there for, for many scholars. So it's present day. What exactly do you do? I know there's, and and you work in jobs like ours, there's no typical day, but what are some of the things that, so I'm not gonna ask that question 'cause that'd just be silly, but what, what are the kind of things that you do? I know we overlap a little bit, but talk about what does it actually mean to be an assistant director of volunteer programs at a place like Penn State?
Haley 00:26:37 Our office volunteer program situates itself as a central resource for those who interact with fundraising volunteers. So we are tied to development and alumni relations. So that is what differentiates, uh, our office a bit in terms of how we define volunteer, being that they are a fundraising volunteer. They are donors and supporters who have contributed philanthropically and time, talent and treasure and are now helping the university advance those philanthropic priorities and goals. So we really see them as, when we say fundraising, volunteer, we see them as our insiders, our ambassadors. We wanna equip them so that they can help the university continue to reach those philanthropic goals. So what that looks like is being a central resource, there's over 700 um, that we consider fundraising volunteers on over 50 different committees. So for example, Schreyer being one of those, like the different colleges, campuses and units each have their own fundraising volunteer committee dedicated to those priorities.
Haley 00:27:43 So we see ourselves as a place where we can provide resources, we can provide engagement university-wide, that there can be a sense of like a larger volunteer community that they're a part of as we're all working towards the university's same philanthropic campaign goals, providing education materials of how they can be better equipped in their roles and their conversations as they meet with their peers and donors on behalf of the university. And then also recognition. So how can we recognize those who have done a great deal for the university and contributed to those goals. So that's pretty broad. But I would say also specifically, um, we run or lead, I would say four different committees out of our office. So two of those that fall in my purview are the university's volunteer engagement committee, which sees itself as it's a diverse group of volunteers who sees themselves as a way to provide counsel to our office to give us feedback that they could be the voices on the ground and say, this is what we're feeling as volunteers, this is what we need.
Haley 00:28:49 These are the kind of events we'd like to see. Why aren't you communicating with us about this? Or how can we help advance this? I see this as a fundraising goal, how can I help? That kind of thing. And then the other being the women's philanthropic advisory board. So I'm particularly passionate about this because I started it as an intern. So it was one of my intern projects was benchmarking other institutions who had women's philanthropy programs as all of the data shows that women are increasing in wealth and status in terms of who's making the household decisions when it comes to philanthropy and how we can adapt the conversation to be more inclusive of women. And so that was something I did research on, provided recommendations. And now Penn State has a women's philanthropic advisory board. So it's been growing and developing what that looks like, providing education to staff as to how we can better be more inclusive in our fundraising so that ultimately we can bring more supporters and more, more women into the fold.
Sean 00:29:51 Really appreciate that. The first, the the engagement committee there, Hailey, A huge part of working with volunteers if you're interested in this line of work is you need to listen to them because it's a very different manager worker relationship than if you are in a paid position. Volunteers can come and go easily. There's no contract typically, you know, they'll say, oh I can do this. And so you really need to listen to them. So I think having empathy and listening skills are really important if you want to be a volunteer or manage volunteers. So that tees up my next question, Hailey, which is, if a scholar would like to go into roles like either of us have working with volunteers, what are some of the skills that they should work on developing and honing perhaps through volunteer opportunities like THON or through their classes or even a paid job at Chipotle or at an internship at Utz? What would you recommend that they focus on? Yeah,
Haley 00:30:48 So first and foremost, I would say relationships. It sounds really simple and it sounds easy. Um, but to your point, every volunteer is unique and everyone comes in with different skills that could be used to contribute to the organization's goals and also with different priorities. They volunteers want to be fulfilled in some way. Some of them want to contribute their time, some of them want to contribute by their expertise by speaking in a class or being connected to students. So whether it's their interests, their passions, their skills, it's understanding that. And that really comes with forming a relationship and understanding that you're not gonna, you're not gonna have that on one on one meeting. But being curious, asking questions, um, taking time to have one-on-one conversations are what is invaluable. That if you can pick up on little q cues and remember things about people's lives and what they're interested in, that goes a long way.
Haley 00:31:50 Um, because then you can tap them, um, for something specific. So just to give an example, we have a volunteer who talked about on our volunteer engagement committee who talked about being passionate about working with Penn State student veterans and how they already are very service minded from their experiences in the military and how can we engage that population as volunteers. And so when we, later a couple months, um, in, we're doing a Veteran's Day noontime knowledge event in November, we're looking for a volunteer host. We thought, what better person than this individual who had already shown us she was passionate about veterans, her father had been in the military, like what better person could we ask and tap on for that? And that was a really meaningful engagement opportunity and she did an excellent job 'cause she could talk, talk from her personal experience.
Haley 00:32:40 So all that to say, relationships are important, little details are important. Um, investing your time in individuals, I think communication in general, the more you can talk, um, with a purpose. Um, so understand why what you're trying to get across if you did that effectively. Um, emails, different kinds of writing. So whether that be writing on behalf of leaders or whatever that might be. I think something I also try to do and is ask for feedback. So after I give a presentation or create a PowerPoint for our, for someone, um, for our leader or draft an important email asking for feedback of how could I have done that better? Because when you're dealing with soft skills, sometimes that can be hard to be like, I know how to form a relationship, I know how to write, okay, I'm good. But there's always a way to, to be better and to improve yourself.
Sean 00:33:37 And I think a lot of those things, Haley, in addition for working with volunteer management, I think could probably also translate to other professions. Like if you go into sales and marketing and other people oriented career. So go back, even if you're like, I'm not interested in being a nonprofit leader and working with volunteers, very very applicable advice for other professions as well, but certainly really critical for roles like the ones we have. And obviously a certain type of volunteering is coming on a podcast and sharing your experiences. So that's another way of giving back with your time and your talent. I alluded to this earlier, you have your do there Quincy who we've given a shout out to and your th memorabilia. So you're actually working fully remote right now, which I think is going to be something that a lot of the roles are scholars are going to be pursuing, whether internships full-time, that's gonna be something that they're gonna have to ask about. Is this a in-person role? Is this a hybrid role? Is this remote for those who are being offered fully remote or considering if that's something they want to explore, what kind of advice do you have for scholars in a full-time or internship that is remote?
Haley 00:34:49 Certainly. So I admit I didn't start off my career in this position as a fully remote worker. So I was onboarded and knew the role coming into this fully remote environment. And I feel really fortunate to be in a position where I can continue this job that I love and also had the opportunity to move in with my now husband. So that was kind of led led me personally to this, to this work environment. It is unique, um, as you said, and I've had to adjust my schedule and my, my work patterns. I would say what I've noticed is that it requires definitely one, a great deal of self-discipline. So knowing, keeping track of deadlines, keeping track of how you can structure your day when you don't necessarily have to walk over to a meeting or somebody walks into your office and asks you a question.
Haley 00:35:43 So it's understanding how you can effectively get things done and what works for you and your work style. I personally am a morning person, so if I have something important to, to write or an important call to make, I prefer to make a list of that and do it first thing in the morning. Um, but everybody's different, but it takes time to figure that out and then to execute on what works for you. And then I also think another thing is it requires a great deal of work-life balance, though that looks different. So of course that's a topic regardless of what your work environment looks like. But I think for me it's been important to have a dedicated workspace that I'm in when I know I'm here in my office, I'm working, I'm fully on, and then when I close the door, what at the end of the evening, whenever that might be, I'm not coming back until the next morning.
Haley 00:36:34 So understanding that I also have to be able to disconnect and contribute to the other parts of my life, um, and be able to turn on and off your brain in that way. And for me that's, it's easier when you have a physical space, like I said, to be able to close the door and not see my computers. So it's finding little things like that building in time to give yourself the breaks that you need, like mental health breaks. I use the dog taking the dog for a walk at lunch, um, to get outside, to break up the environment a little bit.
Sean 00:37:06 And I can also tell from the, the way we obviously, if you've probably can pick up, I can see Hailey while we're recording this. So, um, and, and Quincy and it certainly seems like you have, you know, monitors, you're not just crouched over a laptop, you've got maybe an external webcam and some other peripherals. I know this is super dorky, nerding out on on some of the tech, but do you have anything like that set up it seems like? Yes.
Haley 00:37:34 So that also makes a huge difference. I have the dual monitors, I have a standing desk, as silly as that sounds, it made a huge difference and I invested in that when I knew I would be working remotely just to be able to be active, um, to be comfortable in my workspace. It makes the difference.
Sean 00:37:52 It absolutely does. I have the dual monitors, I've got the ring light above me here to help illuminate so that I'm not covered in shadow <laugh>, so Hailey can see me as we're talking. So if you do end up working remote, make sure you invest in the peripherals and you're not just hunched over a laptop all day because it will definitely change your workflow and your productivity if you end up in a role like that. We've talked a lot about volunteerism and we've talked about your role managing volunteers professionally, but in your questionnaire responses you were really big on making sure that you don't just talk the talk, but you walk the walk. And so you still do a lot of volunteer work as an alumna in addition to managing <laugh> all of our fundraising volunteers at Penn State. So what are you doing out in the community at Penn State as an alumni volunteer or just a community member?
Haley 00:38:41 Sure. So yeah, I think that dealing with volunteers every day and seeing their passion for giving back just inspires it in me that much more. Um, so it was important for me to not just interact with volunteers, but also to volunteer myself, um, and to exercise those passions that I still have and had as a student. So I have been involved, I took a year to get situated to my career, so I didn't hop right into volunteer roles right away. Um, but when I was ready, I applied to the Dance Marathon Alumni Interest Group. So that is a alumni interest group through the alumni association that's dedicated to supporting SA as alumni. And so it was a way to continue my passion for this organization, but in a different way with a different community, um, with a different challenge, um, as there are alumni across the globe.
Haley 00:39:33 So that has been a fun experience that I've had the opportunity to serve as the public relations director. So going back to the public relations mindset side of things, I also love, um, to be able to go back to doing social media and drafting blog posts and those kinds of things that I don't necessarily do in my day-to-day now as a volunteer manager. And then this year I also had the opportunity, they were looking for a advisor for the local high school, middle school, hon, where I was first introduced to the calls of Mini to four Diamonds to thumb, like I said, in eighth grade, it's the same organization and they were looking for an advisor. So just knowing my passion for the organization and that it started there, I couldn't say no. I was so excited to take on this from a u a different angle that I had ever been before.
Haley 00:40:27 Um, being a young adult with a group of high schoolers and middle schoolers who have never done philanthropic work before or necessarily they don't necessarily know what four diamonds is, but they understand that this cause is important. They've had classmates, they've had family members, they've had friends who've been impacted by cancer. So regardless of the introduction, they're equally as passionate about this. And so I love that, I love that it's like the next generation of philanthropists that they're getting excited about doing something greater than themselves. Maybe it's not minit on, maybe it's not for diamonds or cancer related at all that they decide to continue, but if they take a passion for serving away from the experience, then I think it's definitely worth it. So I'm excited about that. Our mini's coming up in less than a month for the first time, so we'll see how that goes.
Haley 00:41:23 And then I also wanna say I've also continued to stay engaged with the Honors College, um, through the Schreyer alumni interview program. I will never forget when I had my interview and the interviewer flew in and we flew in as a pilot on at this really small little airport and he came off the plane and met me. I was so nervous. Um, so just like that is a memory I will never forget. So now having the opportunity to be an interviewer, I'm not nearly as cool coming off of a plane, but just to be able to flip this, flip the script and to be an interviewer meeting potential scholars, I love that experience and I think that it's really easy to do with the busy schedule. You can fit it in where it works for you and so highly recommend that also.
Sean 00:42:09 Well thank you Haley, for continuing to be involved in THON and supporting, you know, the local community there in the, in New York, um, county and also particularly thank you for being still involved with the Schrey Honors College through our alumni admissions interview program. You know, uh, more and more of our volunteers have now we've reached the critical mass where they were interviewed as prospective scholars and now they're turning around and volunteering. And I appreciate the words because I try to make it as easy as possible for you all. 'cause so spoiler, I run that program too. So, uh, Hailey gets to be one of my volunteers, um, and that, so really appreciate you volunteering on that. And then obviously you're here on this podcast, which I very much view as a volunteer opportunity, kind of a one-off opportunity, but certainly still sharing your expertise and we'll get to how to contact you in a couple minutes here. With that being said, I want to pivot to the last third of our conversation, and this is really some reflective questions. What would you say, and you're still early in your career, so there's a lot of bright days ahead, but you've had some success. So what would you say is your biggest success to date?
Haley 00:43:16 Yeah, and I think my biggest success isn't necessarily is the fact that it's not necessarily just my success. It's that I was introduced and started a career where I can use my skills and passion, but it's facilitating an impact that is greater, that's lasting and creates a brighter future for generations of Penn Staters to come.
Sean 00:43:38 And on the flip side, what would you say is your biggest learning moment that you've had where maybe you made a mistake, you might call it a transformational learning moment or learning challenge and what you pulled from that and have incorporated into your life since? Yeah,
Haley 00:43:53 I would say just going back to my path to this career, I think I look back and I can't imagine if as an intern when I was interning in the Office of Volunteer Programs, knowing that I still had my senior year, if I would have just kind of written that off as I'm never gonna come back here, it's just a summer job kind of thing. And said like, and it's not my job. If that's kind of the attitude and enthusiasm, which I would've approached my work as an intern, I feel it's a pretty safe bet that my boss wouldn't have extended me a full-time job offer a year later. So I, I think that that's something that has clicked for me, that you never know who your future boss is going to be. So put your best foot forward, raise your hand, volunteer for things, do the hard work and put it in now because you never know what opportunities are going to come. So just show up and to continue to show up.
Sean 00:44:50 Speaking of volunteer opportunities and speaking of relationships and those connections, how do you approach mentorship both as a mentee being early in your career, but you're also at a point where you could serve as a mentor? How do you approach both of these roles?
Haley 00:45:05 Yeah, and I think in both cases it's a two-way street and it's really approaching it as how can I add value to this relationship? So I think that as a mentee, it's important to be curious to ask questions and I, I think it can be intimidating when you think that it has to be a formal ask, like finding the right person and okay, do you wanna be my mentor? Kind of thing. But I don't think it has to be like that. And I think some of my most supportive, and I guess the insightful relationships that I feel that our mentee, mentor relationships have come with things like, oh, can we grab coffee sometimes? So you could tell me more about that project that you mentioned, or if you ever need help with that, I'd be interested in learning more. Or can you show me how you did that?
Haley 00:45:53 Or that kind of thing. When you find somebody who either has an experience or a project that you're interested in, I think that's a great way to plug into that without being intimidated by, oh, do you wanna be my mentor? I think when it happens naturally, not putting that kind of pressure on yourself, but just seeing it as a learning experience sometimes is the best way to just go into it. And then I think as a mentor, likewise, um, I think sharing your failures as much as your successes is something that I've, it's hard 'cause it's easy to talk about the things that have gone well, but I think that sometimes what's more beneficial for whoever that person might be, or a pa an for now, like I look at interns who are now in the Office of volunteer programs and I'm serving as a supervisor, like sharing what I maybe failed at or struggled with as an intern so that they can improve upon that experience and have a better one is actually more beneficial to them than the opposite. Opposite. So I think those are what I would say in terms of those relationships.
Sean 00:46:54 Are there any professors or friends or maybe coworkers from your scholar days that you would like to give a quick shout out to?
Haley 00:47:01 I would just say my court sports professor, Cindy Guthrie and her husband Dave Guthrie, who inspired me to enroll in the Master's of Education higher Education program at Penn State and pursue my master's part-time. So both of them wonderful people.
Sean 00:47:17 Yes, because on top of working full-time in all of these volunteer roles, you also squeezed in a master's during a global pandemic. So kudos to you, Hailey, on that. Now as we're wrapping up our time, I'd love, love if you could leave us just some final advice, something that you were like, I really wanna talk about this, but Sean, it hasn't come up organically in our conversation. So what is that one last thing that you wanted to leave with our scholars listening today?
Haley 00:47:41 Yeah, so I think when I think about my greatest takeaway from my college experience in general is that looking back, I was so caught up in what I was doing, what I, what I could sign up for, what I could put on my resume, all the whats and not. And then now I realize that it's not necessarily what I do, what degree it was that I received, what clubs I'm in, but rather why I wanted to do it, what, why I was passionate about it and who I impacted with that work. And I think ultimately it just is a testament to life is not a solo journey and that it's, I feel that I'm a product of the people who have empowered me, who have taught me lessons, taken chances on me, both personally, professionally, academically, and giving back to Schreyer is something that I'm passionate about because I was blessed to receive financial aid and support from others when I was in college. And now it's time for me to help others by giving back much in the same way I was helped.
Sean 00:48:46 I think that's some great final advice there, Hailey. If a scholar wanted to reach out to you and keep this conversation going, they wanted to pick your brain for further advice on being involved in th or being a volunteer manager or working in public relations or any of the other great things that you have experience with, or maybe somebody who's about to graduate and they want to get involved with D M A I G, how can they get in touch with you? Of course.
Haley 00:49:09 So happy to connect on LinkedIn. First and foremost, if you're interested in the university fundraising side of things, we have our office, the volunteer programs has a website, which is raise.psu.edu/volunteer programs. And also the Dance Marathon Alumni interest group has a website, dm aig.org that you can find more inter more information about staying involved in THA as an alumni if that's the avenue you're looking for.
Sean 00:49:39 Excellent. Now finally, you probably know it's coming, if you were a flavor of Berkey Creamery ice cream, which would you be? And most importantly, Hailey as a scholar alumna, why would you be that flavor?
Haley 00:49:51 So THON Gold Ribbon Ripple, which may not be a surprise. So the biased answer is <laugh>. The why is I was involved in the process of creating that ice cream flavor. So that came out during the year of th 2018. So that's the biased answer. On the other side of things, the deeper why is because the ice cream flavor you can enjoy and all its deliciousness and there's a deeper meaning behind it and you're contributing to a greater cause. So I think always looking for the why, always looking for the deeper meaning. That's the reason I pick this flavor and it's delicious. The caramel swirl and white chocolate chips, highly recommend. Love it.
Sean 00:50:31 I did not know you were involved in creating that, so that is a great final accomplishment to talk about here. Haley, thank you so much for joining us on Following the Gong. Lots of great thoughts and advice for our scholars. Really appreciate you coming on the show today.
Haley 00:50:46 Thank you for having me.
*GONG SOUND EFFECT*
Thank you Scholars for listening and learning with us today. We hope you will take something with you that will contribute to how you shape the world. This show proudly supports the Schreyer Honors College Emergency Fund, benefiting Scholars experiencing unexpected financial hardship. You can make a difference at raise.psu.edu/schreyer. Please be sure to hit the relevant subscribe, like, or follow button on whichever platform you are engaging with us on today. You can follow the College on Instagram and LinkedIn to stay up to date on news, events, and deadlines. If you have questions about the show or are a Scholar Alum who'd like to join us as a guest here on Following the Gong, please connect with me at [email protected]
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