Finding Hope and Support Through Career Transition


Have you experienced an unprecedented event that permanently changed your life and career?  If so, you are not alone. Rhonda is an EdD alumna who had a successful career in education administration until a family member became ill.  To care for her loved one, Rhonda left her position as a Program Administrator and assumed the role of a full-time caregiver for several years.  During this time, Rhonda completed her EdD program and wrote a doctoral study on first-generation college students that identified hope as a critical factor in student success.  As she attempted to re-enter the workforce and find meaningful work, she maintained her sense of hope through advocates, friends, and the Walden community.  Her relentless commitment to following her dreams and sharing her vision with others resulted in a “perfect fit” position working for a faith-based nonprofit committed to stopping human trafficking.

How did Rhonda gather positive energy from others to find the right opportunity?

Finding Supporters and Job Search Advocates
When Rhonda made a long-term commitment to complete her EdD and make a difference in the world, not everyone in her life was supportive of her efforts.  To succeed in her doctoral program and job search, Rhonda decided to surround herself with people who embraced her vision, including dedicated friends and her doctoral study chair at Walden, Dr. Tom Cavanagh.  She also connected with Walden’s Career Services Center where she received networking tips, interview strategies, and job search tools that elevated her confidence.  She reached out to multiple nonprofit organizations and universities for informational interviews and became skilled in sharing her career goals with others.  Rhonda periodically updated her advocates on her progress and personal growth.  Her open heart and sincere gratitude motivated others to provide valuable leads, tips, and job search strategies.

Rekindling Friendship and Faith
One day, Rhonda was driving to another city for an informational interview.  While on the road, she remembered that a former pastor and dear friend lived a few miles away from her route.  She picked up the phone and invited him and his wife to dinner.  During the dinner, the pastor mentioned a nonprofit organization working to stop human trafficking.  Rhonda decided to reach out to this organization for an informational interview based on her interest in their faith-based mission.  Shortly afterward, she met with the organization’s founder and made such a positive impression that she was invited back for a series of four interviews and, ultimately, hired to develop curriculum and courses for professionals and agencies working to stop human trafficking in Thailand.  Rhonda’s new role allows her to live her mission and apply her writing and analytical skills to make a difference in the lives of women and children.  Currently, the nonprofit is exploring new ways to utilize Rhonda’s skills, including developing programs in the U.S.

What are Rhonda’s next steps?  She is looking for new ways to strengthen her connections with people and organizations she encountered through her career transition.  Ultimately, her mission is to generate hope for others who are facing challenges and searching for a more meaningful life.  She encourages Walden students who are in career transition to never let go of their dreams, find advocates who can generate ideas, and reach out to Career Services for help.  She said, “[Career Services] gave me the hope and encouragement I needed that led to the path I was destined to take.  I could not have reached my goals without this support.”

Are you in career transition?  The Career Services Center is here to help!

Need additional support through life transitions?  Reach out to Walden’s Student Assistance Program.

Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services