2021 in Review!

A year ago I decided to publish 2020’s helpful resources in review! It’s a great post and I still reference it often – so many great webinars, podcasts, LinkedIn lives, blogs and other great resources were shared during 2020 even though it was a weird and difficult year in so many ways. This year I want to do more of a wrap up post on the year. I’ll still be sprinkling in some helpful resources throughout. Let’s go! (At the end I share some fun things on the docket for 2022!)

January

In 2021 I joined the University at Buffalo School of Management Alumni Association (SOMAA) Board as a volunteer board member, and I’m proud to be staying on with the organization again in 2022. I love being involved with my alma mater and take any chance I can to work with the students and faculty to promote the HR profession and help create successful careers in business! Here is a fun LinkedIn post from a session I presented to business undergrads on using LinkedIn to showcase their personal brands and help their careers grow. 500 students reached in a day. Amazing! Please reach out to Caitlin Rush on LinkedIn (she’s tagged in the post I linked) if you’re interested in working with the students and sharing your knowledge and expertise!

In January I also published my LinkedIn Profile Basics blog post! I’ve referenced it so many times when folks reach out to me with questions and it’s definitely been a fan favorite this year. If you’re looking to review your profile sections and make sure you’re up to date, check it out!

February

In February I started my new role at Lighthouse Technology Services! This post from my first day in Seneca One Tower was so much fun – thank you to my network who came out and supported and encouraged me. It’s been such a fun year at Lighthouse. I get to combine my loves of HR, Recruiting, Recruiting Technology, Marketing, and Career Coaching all in one job! A highlight this year at Lighthouse was providing career readiness support for the students of the WNY Tech Skills Initiative, backed by M&T Bank. I met with students 1:1 to create/review resumes, update their LinkedIn profiles, discuss the job search process, and prep for interviews. These folks had taken free tech training programs through the initiative and were interested in launching a new career in tech!

A WNY Tech Skills Initiative student landing a new role in tech after working in a different industry for the past few years. So exciting!

I also presented my first SHRM webinar in February! So grateful for this opportunity – I had such a blast. Thank you SHRM! The topic was making social media work for you. The session is still available on demand and you can view the full session description and register here! I love sharing my social media story to help others unlock opportunities and grow!

March

I made a big investment in myself and joined the Five Figure Formula with Dielle Charon. Dielle has been a wonderful business coach and helped me launch my 3 month 1:1 career coaching program. I’ve since helped 6 people this year with their job search / career advancement / LinkedIn strategies and it’s been such a blast. I’m so grateful to be able to do what I love and help people get ahead in their careers. I’m still in the program and learn from Dielle weekly! Find her on Instagram or on her podcast – Black, Banked, and Booked Out.

April

April 11th I got to host the #HRSocialHour Twitter chat on the topic of Emerging HR Professionals! Here are the questions we discussed during the hour. If you’re not familiar with #HRSocialHour, the chat takes place the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month at 7 PM ET! Hop on Twitter during that time and search for the hashtag, and you’ll see us! There is a different topic for discussion each month, and Wendy posts it on her blog ahead of time. Here is the Tweet recap from the chat I hosted so you can catch up on all the good insights everyone shared! You’ll also find a bunch of wonderful people to connect with.

I was also honored to present one of my favorite topics for PRSA, The Public Relations Society of America, WNY Chapter. Are you really ready to apply for that job? So much of a successful job search goes into the prep beforehand so you can move quickly and confidently through! You can find a recording of a very similar webinar on my website here where I cover my 6 step job search process and what to have prepared at each step.

A few fabulous women also got together for a DisruptHR virtual event! The recording is on YouTube here. It was so fun to get to know each other better and talk about our work throughout the pandemic and how it changed, how we were navigating personally and professionally and what we overcame. For once (lol) I was vulnerable and shared some personal struggles during the pandemic, and it was so nice to be in community and support each other!

May

I published My HR Certification Story blog post! Once of the most frequently asked questions I get in my LinkedIn messages is which certifications did I do, how did I decide which one to do first, how did I study, etc. Please check out this post and then send me a message if you have any other questions!

May was also filled with a ton of fun networking calls, and getting my first two clients started in my three month program! Up to this point, I was taking clients at an hourly rate. Some feedback I received was that more accountability, scheduled sessions in advance and payment per month would be preferred – so I created it for you!

June

I created the Emerging Professional Toolkit here on my site! I realized I was constantly sending long emails with a bunch of individual links, so I figured why not create one landing page for emerging professionals to see all my best content in one place! I broke it down into 4 sections – networking, job searching, your first position, and personal development. If there is a topic you’d find helpful and would love to see included, please send me a message! I love to create new posts/videos/etc based on what YOU would like!

I shared my first ever Instagram live! This 12 minute video I saved as an IGTV is a good overview of me and why I’m so passionate about using social media and networking! Once of my most asked questions is, so where did the love of using LinkedIn and networking come from? I answer that question in this video! In a nutshell, if I hadn’t started showing up online, I wouldn’t have been contacted for career changing opportunities.

I also visited my best friend KatLynne from college – we attended the business/HR program at UB together. She lives in Austin, TX! I hadn’t been on a plane in over a year, and it was exactly what I needed – friend time, sun, adventure, unplugged from work. I went back to see her again in August!

July

The Taco Bell Foundation hosted their Summer of Connection series for their Live Mas Scholars! I was so excited to be invited to present on a panel titled Pathways and Perspectives – Early Career Success! Daniel Horgan is such a fabulous event coordinator, moderator and host. Check out his fun LinkedIn post about the session here! Speaking with students and answering their questions truly fills my bucket. I also got to record a five minute video for their quick tips library on networking – also such a blast!

August

In August I started preparing for #SHRM21 in Las Vegas! After the SHRM annual conference in 2020 was cancelled, I could not wait to see and hug my friends in person that I hadn’t seen in 2 years! Every year I like to create my schedule blog post and reshare my packing list. #SHRM22 is in New Orleans in June of 2022 – I’ll be there! Let me know if you’re coming!

I also found out I would be presenting SHRM21 conference orientation with SHRM staff, and presenting on a panel with my fellow SHRM EPAC (emerging professionals advisory council) members! I love to speak in front of a big room, so I was totally in my element and completely energized. So grateful to SHRM staff for being so supportive of me and offering these opportunities. I won’t rehash everything here – although I could, it was such an amazing time lol – everything about SHRM21 is linked in my post here. All of the Tweet recaps, SHRM website post covering the emerging professionals session, my photo album and more!

September

September was basically attending SHRM21 and coming down from the high of being there… lol. So many new friends, fun messages, connection requests on LinkedIn, new Twitter followers and Zoom networking chats!

Presenting #SHRM21 conference orientation in Las Vegas! Such a blast. I made so many new friends afterwards from those that came up with questions and introduced themselves!

October

I started going for massages again, and I’m proud to say I have gone every month since! I realized I was not prioritizing enough time for my own rest and relaxation. This is your sign to go book something for yourself now if you haven’t in a while. After handling some challenges in my personal life over the past few months, I was more than ready to start focusing on taking care of myself physically and mentally.

I shared my how to prepare for an initial screen with a recruiter blog and IGTV! This had become a FAQ and when I get questions from my network over and over (like about my HR certifications!) I create a blog post for y’all! I love helping people prepare for their job searches and interviews. Doing it alone is hard – I’ve been there. If you need support so you can keep moving quickly and confidently, please contact me and let’s chat!

November

In person events made a quick come back! I hadn’t been able to attend a local networking event in months, so it was so much fun to attend the Buffalo Niagara Partnership BN360 Young Professionals Guide Launch Party at Seneca One! This annual event is where young professionals in Buffalo can come meet a ton of different organizations who are looking for volunteers to get involved. I represented the BNHRA and made some great new friends!

I also drove to Oswego to participate in the NYS SHRM volunteer leader meeting. It was a blast to see SHRM friends come together from across NY state to learn and network. I had recently taken over my new position as College Relations Director on the board of BNHRA, so I especially enjoyed the College Relations break out session. I learned a lot and can’t wait to support local students and emerging professionals in the coming year. (More on that coming at the end of this post!)

SHRM’s VLBM (volunteer leader business meeting) also took place in November (virtually)! I got to record an on demand session with SHRM’s social media engagement manager, Michele Wood where we discussed how to best use social media to spread the word about your chapter’s events, SHRM, and engage your members. Such great feedback was shared on the session and I’m so glad my fellow volunteer leaders found it helpful. If you’re looking for a speaker on the topic of using social media to build and engage community, please reach out to me!

December

December was all about celebrating a great year, and relaxing! I really enjoyed my first holiday party as a member of the Lighthouse Technology Services team. We have such an incredible group of people! I was also very fortunate to welcome two amazing humans Madeline and Allison to my team at Lighthouse this year.

The Lighthouse Team at Park Country Club, celebrating a successful 2021!

UB’s Student Engagement Team launched a podcast called Lead On! I met with the team to record my episode in December. It won’t be dropping until sometime during the spring 2022 semester, but check out the show in the mean-time! I’ve listened to a few and there are awesome leadership nuggets being shared from proud UB Alums to help today’s students/tomorrow’s leaders.

This year I’m grateful and thankful to have my health, friends and family, and be able to do work that I love. I’m also proud that I chose to put myself first, try new things and grow! My friend Jane Murtaugh recently got me thinking about how comparison isn’t just the thief of joy, it’s the thief of creativity and growth. When we’re comparing our journeys to others, it’s hard to stay in a growth mindset. I’m going to continue to challenge myself in 2022 to focus on myself, get creative, and create new opportunities for myself. You already know I love to help others do this too (:

So what’s in store for 2022?

Ah so much goodness is already on the calendar for 2022! Some honorable mentions include:

HR Emerging Professionals Learning Series

Being a mentor for the SHRM Foundation’s three month mentoring program. We kick off next week and I couldn’t be more excited to work with my two mentees!

April presentation to the ABWA WNY chapter on using LinkedIn to grow personally and professionally!

SHRM 22 Conference in New Orleans in June

Empower Camp 22 in July

I can’t wait to add to this list as new opportunities and events come up. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter and let’s stay connected! I wish you a prosperous 2022. Take care of yourself friends. Please reach out if there’s anything I can help you with. Let’s do this! Cheers!

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