I’ve been involved in higher education my entire business career. In hindsight, each of my firms provided solutions to problems that organizations didn’t realize they had.
In 1973, while in college, I started photographing students when they received their diplomas and then mailed a free proof to their parents. It had never been done before. I’ll never forget when a well respected college VP told me, “Don, we’ve held 150 commencement ceremonies and never had one parent ask us to provide your service!” In the 32 years since my firm started photographing his college’s graduates, over 19,000 grads and their families have had an opportunity to proudly display a never to be repeated moment. We eventually grew to the point that we were sending 150 photographers to 500 colleges and high schools around the nation to photograph their 200,000 graduates each year.
Alumni Online Communities
In 1996, when AOL had 3,000,000 members, I got inspired, and decided to create an online community for college students which we called StudentAccess.com. Unfortunately, the idea was about 8 years early–have you heard of Facebook?–and it only attracted pornographers! We did the right thing, and shut the site down, but approached our graduation contacts who were in the alumni association and asked if they would be interested in us building an alumni online community for them! We eventually built and maintained 300 alumni association online communities around the world.
Today, nearly every alumni association has adopted an alumni online community to network alumni, help them do business with one another, and mentor students.
And that leads to TalentMarks!
For the past three years, I have enjoyed working in a new industry where hundreds of career professionals have told me that they love what we do, but: 1) they don’t have the funds to pay for our solutions, and (more importantly) 2) students would probably not use them!
But the times they are “a changing!”
I believe career professionals are entering a golden time in their careers. We are in a time when management is going to pay more attention to the needs of the career center, students and the companies that hire them. And students, given the right incentives will take ownership of their careers!
My goal, and that of my firm, TalentMarks, is to help:
- Colleges and universities develop a culture on campus that is focused on careers.
- Our career center friends get more resources from management.
- More students end up with jobs by graduation day!
- How charging student fees will increase participation and grads with jobs
- Why your college president will LOVE “Shared Services” in career services
- 10 Ways to increase resources in the career center
- How to create a college culture focused on careers!
We hope you stay involved in the dialogue!