A Q&A With Cancer and Careers! #SHRM18

When SHRM shared the speaker and vendor list that would be attending #SHRM18, I was so excited! I couldn’t believe how many awesome people there were to reach out to and connect with. Instead of selecting an HR service provider that I was familiar with, I decided to go through the list and pick vendors I had never heard of. I really wanted to focus my time on an organization that was of personal interest to me, and that could be a resource to my employees. I saw Cancer and Careers on the list and I was so intrigued to know what this organization was all about. I visited their vibrant website full of resources and I immediately wanted to learn more and see how I could get involved. I am so thankful for Nicole Jarvis’ time to answer the below questions and tell us more about herself and Cancer and Careers. I can’t wait to meet Nicole at #SHRM18 this June in Chicago!

Nicole, would you mind telling us a bit about yourself and your role with Cancer and Careers?

My name is Nicole Jarvis and I’m a licensed social worker and the Senior Manager of Programs at Cancer and Careers. In my role I manage CAC’s two webinar series (both accredited for PDC’s!) made up of 15 webinars scheduled throughout the year and free to attend. (Link to events/webinar calendar is here.) I also manage our blog and newsfeed, oversee the general phone line where patients, survivors, healthcare providers, managers and anyone else trying to sort through the challenges at the intersection of work and cancer reach us for help, and manage our Professional Development Micro-Grant Program—a first of its kind program, and one of my favorites, offering survivors the ability to apply for small grants to build or learn new skills, work with a career coach, update their certifications, etc.

What is your favorite thing about working with this organization?

My favorite thing about Cancer and Careers is that we are addressing a problem that deserves more attention than it is given. Cancer touches nearly everyone at some point, so it’s important to provide patients, as well as those in their lives, with information that can help protect them in the workplace and ensure they are able to continue pursuing their career goals. While income and benefits are cited as a reason why individuals want to work during and after treatment, it’s also important to understand that working is an integral part of many people’s identities, helping to bring a sense of normalcy at a time when so much can feel chaotic.

Can you summarize for us all of the services and tools available through the organization?

Cancer and Careers’ mission is to empower and educate people with cancer to thrive in their workplace by providing expert advice, interactive tools and educational events. Its programs—offered nationwide and free-of-charge—include a comprehensive website and library of publications in English and Spanish; legal and insurance information; job search tools; career coaching; resume review; professional development micro-grants; and events and workshops for people with cancer and their healthcare providers. In addition to educating healthcare professionals, we also offer information for managers, employers, and coworkers since they too play such an important role in supporting those with cancer. Our upcoming in-person events include our National Conference on Work & Cancer in New York City on June 22nd and our West Coast Conference on Work & Cancer on October 13th in Los Angeles, both events are free and open to anyone who is interested in learning about how someone with a cancer diagnosis can succeed professionally.

Can you share one of your favorite success stories where someone benefited from the resources your organization provides?

Success can have different meanings for people. In my mind, a success story doesn’t necessarily mean that someone got a job or was able to successfully change careers (though those are certainly positive achievements) rather, success to me means that our services contributed to a survivor feeling confident and empowered after cancer. A recipient of our 2017 Professional Development Micro-Grant shared this after completing their training: “To me, receiving the grant meant that there were people out there that didn’t know me, but believed that I could overcome the struggles that came with cancer. It meant that there were others like me that struggled to get back to the work force, and that Cancer & Careers believes that we, cancer fighters, can do it, that we can be productive and useful again. It inspired me to embrace the challenge and prove to myself that I was still worth it, that I could learn and bring value to an organization.”

Are there volunteer opportunities available with Cancer and Careers?

If you are interested in helping Cancer and Careers, we are always looking for community advocates and ambassadors who can help bring our information and resources to their community! This can be done by ordering and distributing our publications to local hospitals/clinics, support groups, or other local organizations. Having our publications on hand at your office can be a great way to provide support to employees as well.

What can attendees expect when they visit your booth at SHRM 18?

Our booth at SHRM 18 will provide visitors with a sample of our publications, information regarding our upcoming events and all the ways PDC’s can be earned, and the opportunity to meet and chat with me so that I can answer any questions regarding Cancer and Careers! We’ll also have some fun giveaways cause what’s a conference without that?!

What are you looking forward to most about the conference?

We’re excited to be a part of the SHRM conference this year so that we can have the opportunity to connect with HR professionals and understand how we can help them to best support their employees. We can’t wait to see you all there!

Visit Cancer and Careers at their website: https://www.cancerandcareers.org/en

Connect with Cancer and Careers on Twitter: @CancerAndCareer

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