College is a time of self-discovery and exploration, and liberal arts colleges stress the importance of broad knowledge across a variety of disciplines. Pam Haralakova, a 2005 business graduate, had experiences at Calvin that exemplify these goals.
While at Calvin, Pam took advantage of a wide range of opportunities. Not many students have four internships by graduation, but Pam did: at the corporate office of Meijer, in Calvin’s Student Life Office, through the Jubilee Fellows program in Seattle, and at Willow Creek Association in Chicago. Through these varied experiences, Pam discovered what types of work she enjoyed most. She developed skills like designing websites, organizing conferences, and providing international sales support.
In addition, Pam gained leadership skills through a two-year stint as a Resident Assistant and a marketing team leader. While in leadership roles at Calvin, Pam learned “how to be professional and proactive in the work environment.” She was surrounded with “wise mentors who guided (her) and to this day continue to guide (her) career choices.” Through class and extracurricular activities, she uncovered her skills and passions.
One passion that she developed was the desire to work for The Boeing Company in Seattle. She applied on the Boeing Careers website. When she didn’t get the first job for which she applied, her tenacity proved invaluable; she continued applying for positions until she was hired nine months later.
As a Business and Planning Financial Analyst for Boeing, Pam evaluates and improves financial processes, and she develops communication strategies through focus group feedback, customer surveys, internal web utilization, and interactions with management. She also establishes metrics to measure performance, relying on project management skills to deploy improved processes.
Pam’s advice to current students? “Make the most of your college experience by building a strong network, completing a variety of internships, and remaining teachable. Seek the guidance of multiple trusted advisors as you make career choices.” Her strategy for finding one’s place in the workforce is also valuable. She states, “Consider the type of work that few people want to perform.” Learn the critical skills to fill that void, and you’ll become a valuable asset to your company. “Ask your manager what is a critical task that has not yet been completed. Go for that!”
For Pam, relocating to Seattle has been a wonderful experience. She has found a home church, made new friends, and adjusted to the culture of the Northwest. She states, “The nature is breathtaking, the people are laid back, and the economy is competitive and growing. Find a reason to visit Seattle!”
Update: As of June 2011, Pam has taken on a new role a Consultant with Loft9.
Written by Laurie Lemmen, posted July 2010