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Professional Buzz

Professional Buzz

Professional Buzz is a blog warehousing relevant information, tips and tools for students and professionals looking for career development and advice. Topics range from leadership and management skills to interpersonal communication and innovation in the workplace. The blog is written and curated by Associate Dean of the Graduate College, Anne Converse Willkomm – drawing on her academic and professional experience to provide insight into the latest professional trends, challenges and skills needed to thrive in today’s everchanging workplace.

Image of a paper ripped with the word transparency behind it.


Wells Fargo is in the news again for taking advantage of their clients. In full disclosure, I bank with Wells Fargo, but that does not stop me from questioning their actions. Over the past couple of years, Wells Fargo has made the headlines with a series of scandals for the treatment of their employees and their clients. As I read about the latest scandal, I can’t help but think about transparency and Wells Fargo’s lack of it.

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Two headshots side-by-side of Wil Reynolds and Emily Allen of SEER Interactive

Interview with Wil Reynolds and Emily Allen of SEER Interactive

This is the 100th blog post! To mark this special event, I wanted to interview a thought leader, someone who could share their thoughts with me, and you, to help us put the professional world we navigate into some perspective. As I began to sift through potential interviewees, I realized that what I really wanted was someone who is actively engaged in making our working world a better place – someone who is leading by example.

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A green exit sign with the added words "the Graceful" to say "The Graceful Exit"

The Graceful Exit

I have written a little bit about leaving a company in the context of not burning your bridges and leaving when you realize a position or company are a wrong fit, but I haven’t written much about actual exit. And how you exit is almost as important as how you enter.

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6 Life Lessons

During the 20th century, when my father, grandfather, and mother were working, the lessons were few and simple. Get up, go to work, complete your work, and return home, and do it all again the next day. Times have changed. As we near 2025, a quarter of the way through the 21st century, there are more pressures, more opportunities and challenges, and a recognition that there is more to life than work.

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Image of woods where there are two paths to choose from

Mid-Career Transitions

When you find yourself at a cross-roads, a diverging path– STOP – reassess before embarking down either of the paths before you.

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A man in a suit with his hand extended as if to shake your hand.

The Handshake

After talking with my freshmen about the handshake, I started thinking more about this little ritual and had to ask myself the question - are they really all that necessary?

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Ted background with a large 3 surrounded by the words: informational interview in one corner and steps, goals, and musts on the other side with the Drexel Dragon below.

The Rule of 3s for Informational Interviews

While an informational interview could lead to a job interview, the intent, as the term implies, is to gather information. I like to apply the rule of threes to informational interviews. There are three steps, three goals, and three post-interview musts.

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Revisiting The Importance of Soft Skills

Soft skills are interpersonal skills. They are the skills that allow you to interact, engage, and collaborate with fellow human beings to foster a relationship. Without these skills it is much more difficult to function within a team, listen to a colleague with empathy, or to evaluate policies, let alone lead. Leaders who lack these interpersonal skills are unable to inspire, build, support, and encourage their team. In teams where leaders lack these soft skills, there is often high turnover.

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Image of a wooden fence with a dangling sign that reads: Time for Change

So Your Boss is Leaving

Change always opens the door to the unknown, especially when it involves leadership. I’ve written before about a colleague leaving, but what happens when it’s your boss? In some instances, it could be a good thing, but for those of you who have a collaborative and supportive relationship, your boss’s departure can be anxiety provoking.

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Image of a young person's open hands holding a rolled up ball of money

Millennial Impact on Corporate Philanthropy

Corporate philanthropy, the practice of corporations donating money to charitable causes, is technically on the decline. While the total dollar amount has increased some 115% over the past 30 years, as a percentage of pre-tax profits, corporate philanthropy numbers are dismal. According to Ken Stern in his article entitled, “Why Don’t Corporations Give to Charities,” published by MoneyBox, corporate giving has dropped over the past 30 years. In 1986 corporations gave 2.1% of their pretax profits, and as of 2012 that number had dropped to 0.8%.

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Image of a computer with yellow email envelopes floating away from it.

THe Downside of Email

While the first electronic mail was sent and received in the late 1960s, email as we know it did not become commonplace until the turn of the century, which means it is less than 20 years old. There is no doubt email has revolutionized the way we communicate both personally and professionally. But is it always the most effective form of communication?

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picture of a heavy rope tied in a knot

What Are Your Strengths

While I am an advocate for growth and turning weaknesses into strengths, I have not spent nearly as much time advocating for continuing to nurture and grow our strengths. It is not as if they will wither and die, but spending time enhancing them is also a necessary aspect of our growth process.

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