Guest Lecturer

The guest lecturer for my business class on Wednesday April 21 was Matthew Spangler. He works at Chatham as the manager of employer relations, as a part of their career development department. A large part of his job is finding employers for students. To do this he talks to HR managers, CEOs, those hiring, asking especially what employers are looking for in applicants. His LinkedIn page is here:

Even though his decision to lecture was last minute, he came armed with a power point on both is experiances that lead him to his dream job but plenty of advice on how to improve our own resumes and be more hire-able. His advice was: 1) Join clubs, participate in internships, and volunteer, all great things to increase a resume. 2)“The #1 thing hirers are looking for: dedication and passion,” he said. And people who can hire you look and find this quality apparent in resumes and cover letters. 3) Fake it till you make it. 4) Look at what your dream job is looking for and build your resume based on what they want. 5) Research the company you’re applying to. 6) Keep in mind there are 3 degrees of separation in Pittsburgh, everyone knows each other.

He advised us that the average American has 17 jobs, 5 careers average in their lifetime. Stressing the need to find the place that has the right fit. Part of that right fit is working well with a team. In Exploring Business by Karen Collins, she lists what is needed to work well and for a team to be cohesive: team size, similarity, success, effectiveness, and competition. Teams need enabling conditions to thrive: “a compelling direction, a strong structure, and a supportive context.” (Haas, 2016) This lesson is especially relevant in today’s current news of constant firings in the Whitehouse. Without good teamwork and cohesiveness, the team is falling apart with 11 cabinet members being fired since the beginning of the administration.

In parting, Matthew stressed: you need to be a responsible, work well with team, have good writing communication skills, and problem solving all as must haves to make it in the hiring world. And of course, networking is vital. Simple ways of doing that include using things like LinkedIn and Handshake.


Collins, Karen. Exploring Business v2. FlatWorld Publishing.

Haas, Mortensen. (2016). The Secrets of Great Teamwork. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from .


A Professional Event

On Jan 28th I attended a discussion with Sandra E Taylor as she applied for Chatham’s socially responsible business chair position. The link for the event was Ms Taylor spoke on: Sustainability, Social Purpose and Values Driven Leadership as she experienced it working with many companies, including Starbucks. Her LinkedIn page is found here:

Corporate Shared Value:

Ms. Taylor described corporate shared value as “Not exactly philanthropy.” For example, Starbucks built a bridge in Africa so people can get their wears to a market and keep people safe. What they did was generous but it also served a community and business purpose. She stated it’s all about “Identifying intersection between business strategy and a societal need.”

She defined corporate responsibility as; governance, environmental resonance, workplace and response to employees, suppliers’ social response, and response in products. Having a strong corporate responsibility is good because it attracts and keeps employees/customers, it reduces operating costs, strengthens supply chain, enables license to operate, and adds to community goodwill. In a way, it a kind of risk management, helping companies to avoid: Lawsuits, divestment actions, and boycotts (human rights issues).

Financial companies are setting the expectation of social purpose and metrics since social purpose helps a business’ purpose. With the government doing this less socially, CEO’s are doing this more – it’s becoming an employee and consumer expectation – “Brands Taking Stands.” Companies hope that these behaviors will “bring business and society back together,” as the two are frequently seen as at odds. (Porter, 2011)

Her take-away and closing remarks were: At the end of the day, consumers can drive sustainable behavior, making this type of thinking a branding opportunity. Consumers don’t always know sustainable products can be same or similarly priced to non-sustainable products, but when they find out it increases their expectations and customers return to where they know they’re getting quality products that increase customer satisfaction. (Collins)


Collins, Karen. Exploring Business v2. FlatWorld Publications.

Porter, Kramer. (2011). Creating Shared Value. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

A Business Plan

Mission Statement:

I am a fantasy justice writer, because real life is hard enough without hope found in the things we read. Those who would enjoy my work aren’t afraid to be swept away in worlds similar enough to ours to be familiar but different enough to capture and take you away from reality for a time. All of my stories have roots in real instances and people, though a lot of my inspirations don’t know I see them as daily heroes. My passion lies in telling and sharing stories and some day my goal is to be a published author. I am currently working with brilliant readers to help give me feedback on the stories I’ve written and once that is done, comes the submission faze! (Kiefer, 2017)

Business Environment:

The industry I will be competing in, is that of the world of writers and publishing. Globally if I can become a famous enough writer, my books potentially could be published in different languages and circulate. Sadly that is infrequently the case.

There is always a demand for writers, whether or not they’re good or go anywhere I don’t see the industry changing too much more, maybe eventually the thing I write will be translated into a holo-deck where people can live out my ideas, but stories are still needed everywhere.

Entrepreneurship and Strategy:

Being an entrepreneur is all about taking risks. Just putting myself out there in the sea of writers is a huge risk. I’ve started slowly with self promotion between my social media sites and the business cards I’ve handed out. I plan to continue on at a steady pace. Challenges to self promotion are my intovertedness, the shear amounts of other writers out there, deciding to not write or submit.


As a novice writer, reaching my goal of becoming a published writer begins with planning. The steps of which are: brainstorming, writing, editing, getting feedback, reediting, researching publishers, writing a queire letter, sending the letter, submitting, and then waiting. The organization of which is also as listed, in that order. It is difficult to direct this list as none of this is something I can dedicate 100% of my time to as-yet. Personal motivation as well as a passion for writing and telling stories acts as the fuel, and the lofty goal of publication and financial stability as a writer. Making time goals and meeting them is how I plan to manage this long list. Developing (Trucker, 2005) myself along the way will come in the form of: additional classes, exchanging work with other writers for feedback, self awareness in real life circumstances, and research. Attracting others to me and my writing begins with blogging on WordPress, submitting my work, and networking. Networking especially will demonstrate my ability to work well with others and my communication skills, secondary means of this are discussions in workshops and in my communications with publishers.


As a writer, any one who loves to read, hear stories, or watch movies are a part of my potential clientele. That is narrowed somewhat by fantasy verse traditional fiction readers, but I hope my writing has more of a universal scope.

My marketing mix of product, price, place, and promotions breaks down as such: I am a fantasy and creative non-fiction writer, with novels, short stories, non-fiction essays, blogs, and poems all being worked on. As I am yet unpublished there is no price point available, though I do believe my time is worth money, as a student, that can be averaged out to maybe $10 an hour. I am able to write from everywhere but I am as yet to find a home for my writing. With writing there are many possible places where I could be published. There are journals for my poems, short stories and essays. My novels, short stories, and poems can be published as a books with publishing companies as parts of compilations or as a whole.  I began promoting my writing early on with my Seraphim City blog, writing about writing and my experiences. On my blog I also teased artwork I’d hired people to do to show what my world looked like. The blog is also linked to a Facebook page I made where also share victorian style items like houses, clothing, and accessories.

I feel like my blog and social media platforms are a great way to design and develop awareness of my stories. Another part of that development is networking. This is easily done on WordPress, at local readings, and in writing classes. I already have a business card with a design I had an artist create for me, so hopefully that will also attract potential readers.

Digitally marketing my skills is a new and interesting field for me. To start I would: Create title pages, create meta tags, place strategic search phrases on my pages,  and develop new site maps to google and bing (Rognerud, 2014).

Accounting and Finance:

Finance is the easiest aspect of being a writer. I expect $0, at least for the first 20 years or so. In 2015 it was estimated that some 17% of professional writers polled in the UK made nothing. The bottom 50% in general didn’t make enough to live on (Flood, 2015). Any money I did make would go into a savings account to be used for submission fees for getting other things published. I don’t see myself ever making the Forbes Billionaire list, like J. K. Rowling, any time soon. This is why my major is sustainable agriculture and my minor is creative writing. “Gotta get a real job to support your writing hobby.” As my parents always said.

Information systems and Operations:

Google analytics would probably be the best tool for my business going forward.


Flood, Alison. (2015). Median Earnings of Professional Authors Falls Below the Minimum Wage. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Kiefer, Kristen. (2017). How and why you should create a writers mission statement. Well-Storied. Retrieved from

Rognerud, Jon. (2014). Your SEO Checklist: 4 Steps to Optimize Your Website. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from

Trucker, Peter. (2005). Managing Oneself. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

A Role Model

After assigned to find a professional role model in business and in my future field of Sustainable Agriculture (and as a writer) I went looking of a Chatham grad who was making a difference in Pittsburgh.

Miriam is currently a Pittsburgh action strategist at ioby. She attended Chatham’s Masters of SUS and Management in 2014. Her interests while in school ranged from playing frisbee, all the way to founded club for a campus sustainability plan. I chose her as my role model in business and interest because she works closely with local non-profits, finding funding for their projects. I was especially excited when I heard that she was working with the Sankofa Village project, an organization I am interested in some day working with as well.

When asked for advise on the subject of studying; Miriam quickly responded with “do what works for you, not what others say.” “Know yourself, what do you need, not everyone needs either a babysitter or to self manage, once you figure out your style trust yourself. If you’re struggling, you can find articles on managing yourself through the  Harvard Business Review (HBR). A quick exploration a related topics on the HBR webpage, led me to an article on attention management which is “the practice of controlling distractions, being present in the moment, finding flow, and maximizing focus, so that you can unleash your genius.” (Thomas, 2018)

Miriam could not stress enough the need and brilliance of finding career related projects, especially in your own community. She participated in a few of these during undergrad and felt the experiences were useful to both her personal life and in her resume building.  Another suggestion she stressed was that when writing a resume, taking real time and utilizing creativity would advance your resume.

This brings me back to an article in Chatham Business Insight. Chatham offers a managing non-profit class (BUS452/552) and from the course spotlight, a very well received class. As Miriam mentioned before, the key to a good resume is experience which is echoed in this article, as the class “provides students with more opportunities to gain practical experience and professional growth.” (Sudkamp, 2017)



As a student, sometimes I have to write things for school linked to my blog page. Sadly, I have had some trouble wrapping my brain around my business class so I’m behind. To fix this I plan to complete as much of my assignments during spring break as I can logically fit. Starting today.

As a fan of the Wall Street Journal I read an article on employees who got their company logo tattooed on their bodies. And I have to admit I was floored, but I shouldn’t have been. I have heard of getting tattoos for love, affiliation, because they were drunk, and my favorite “I liked the drawing.” So why not a job logo? In business class we learned about marketing and the power of a brand. A link/game was put up on the screen in class to see if we could name some of the top logos, my class didn’t even need time to think about each that came up. Things like Apple even I knew, but these kids years younger than I knew Atari’s logo, I even played the console back in the day and I didn’t recognize it. The power of logos and modern day advertising is through the roof.

There were a few articles circulating a few years ago about people who would rent space on their bodies as advertising for businesses, receiving as much as $5,000 to be a mobile billboard. It is a bizarre, but seemingly functional marketing strategy.  I could understand the idea of getting a Walmart logo tattoo if I was getting paid, but these people are doing this for their own reasons. Considering the ribbing they’re getting, they should be compensated for their free advertising. It would encourage others to do so and really rocket the concept of logo tattoos.


On my Drive

Gps trying to take me a direction a sign clearly says has been closed for 2 months
A nervous young guy carrying a potted plant obviously meant for a date and really nervous about it
Topless guy carrying around a painting (as in on a canvas!) of a topless guy

Oh Pittsburgh 

Back to Work p2

It’s been between 3 and 4 weeks since I went back to work. It was a bit rocky at first when they were trying to put me on customer service where I would have spent all day dealing with returns and grouchy customers. Yeah, hell no! I stomped that notion immediately. After my last deployment there was some civilian directed anger and I don’t want to poke the bear on that, plus, I need to be outside. The weather is beautiful and being submerged in flowers, getting to talk plants everyday is exactly what my inner chill needs. 

I’ve worked mid shifts and night shifts and morning shifts so far and I have to say, morning shifts are freaking awesome!

Waking up at 4:30am is not great but once I crawl into work….

This morning I have: cleaned the counters, swept up the area, chatted nicely with the coworkers, and messaged friends(the ones actually awake).

And I have also shopped for new sunglasses, took 10 min to start learning how to Juggle (on the bucket list), worked on both my blogs (plantgeekery), did some squats, and soaked up some sun! I am still yet to have a customer. 

It’s a bit rough in the evenings with figuring out what to do with myself, but I’m trying to schedule things here and there. It’s been 3 months since I got home now. Guess I’m officially settled, it still all feels off but I did come home to a mostly new life. I think the adjustment period might be longer.