The Fremont Podcast

Episode 120: Unlocking Potential in High School Students with Kathy Laidlaw

May 31, 2024 Ricky B Season 3 Episode 120
Episode 120: Unlocking Potential in High School Students with Kathy Laidlaw
The Fremont Podcast
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The Fremont Podcast
Episode 120: Unlocking Potential in High School Students with Kathy Laidlaw
May 31, 2024 Season 3 Episode 120
Ricky B

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Can practical skills and customer service knowledge set high school students on a path to career success? Our guest, Kathy Laidlaw, believes they can. In today's episode, we sit down with Kathy to hear her story that started with teaching customer service to high school juniors and seniors. Drawing from her background in conducting customer satisfaction surveys, Kathy developed a nonprofit organization aimed at aligning students' strengths and interests with potential careers. Her journey emphasizes the vital role of equipping teens with practical skills and understanding customer expectations to better prepare them for the job market.

Recognizing the limitations of her network, she founded a nonprofit and launched a website filled with video interviews from various professionals. By becoming a certified Gallup Strengths Coach and integrating the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, she empowered students to identify their natural talents and apply this self-awareness in their career choices. Listen to the inspiring story of a student who turned a perceived weakness into a strength, showcasing the power of personalized assessments in guiding career development.

Join us for a compelling conversation on navigating today's educational landscape and empowering teens to achieve meaningful, fulfilling careers.

For more information about the work that Kathy does, check out her website here. 

You can find Kathy on LinkedIn as well here. 

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here.

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Can practical skills and customer service knowledge set high school students on a path to career success? Our guest, Kathy Laidlaw, believes they can. In today's episode, we sit down with Kathy to hear her story that started with teaching customer service to high school juniors and seniors. Drawing from her background in conducting customer satisfaction surveys, Kathy developed a nonprofit organization aimed at aligning students' strengths and interests with potential careers. Her journey emphasizes the vital role of equipping teens with practical skills and understanding customer expectations to better prepare them for the job market.

Recognizing the limitations of her network, she founded a nonprofit and launched a website filled with video interviews from various professionals. By becoming a certified Gallup Strengths Coach and integrating the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, she empowered students to identify their natural talents and apply this self-awareness in their career choices. Listen to the inspiring story of a student who turned a perceived weakness into a strength, showcasing the power of personalized assessments in guiding career development.

Join us for a compelling conversation on navigating today's educational landscape and empowering teens to achieve meaningful, fulfilling careers.

For more information about the work that Kathy does, check out her website here. 

You can find Kathy on LinkedIn as well here. 

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here.

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Speaker 1:

and I don't ever ask an auto mechanic or an HVAC technician or a plumber when I need help. So where'd you go to school? So can I see your diploma? I'm just like can you please help me? And I will throw any amount of money at you to get you to do that.

Speaker 4:

Coming to you straight from Fremont, california. This is the Fremont podcast, dedicated to telling the stories of the past and present of the people and places of the city of Fremont, one conversation at a time.

Speaker 5:

East Bay Times. Oh. May 29th, 2024. That's not too bad. The one before that, may 26th, 2024. That's not too bad. The one before that, may 26th, may 25th, okay. San Francisco Chronicle April 23rd, 2024. Before that, april 15th and, ooh, february 8th.

Speaker 5:

I mean, it is about Sean Wang so that's cool, but February, april and April. East Bay Express uh, april 2nd, 2024, it's mentioned rather than about, and then, oh, before that, october 27th 2004,. East Bay Express, kqed, august 10th 2023. And before that, june 23rd, 2022. Radio come on ABC 7, may 27th, may 20th, may 21st Okay, I mean KTVU. Fox 2, may 30th, may 21st, may 18th. Nbc 11, may 23rd, may 21st repeats of the same story over and over again. I wonder if the results would change if I took out the word Tesla, because every single one of these is oh, our Red Lobster closed, okay, may 15th, all right. Kpix. Cbs News. Channel 5, may 24th, may 22nd, may 7th, may 1st. Well, this is halfway between a complaint and an open invitation for news organizations to visit Fremont more often. And you are listening to episode 120 of the Fremont Podcast.

Speaker 4:

Now here's your host, Ricky B.

Speaker 2:

So Kathy, I have Kathy. Is it Laidlaw?

Speaker 1:

Kathy Laidlaw.

Speaker 2:

Laidlaw awesome, thank you for being on the podcast with me. I ran into you and we started talking. For some reason, you gave me your card and then you started talking about the way that you are concerned about teens and the way that they grow up and develop as a person, and especially within the job markets, and stuff like that, and that really resonated with me. I actually had told I think I that really resonated with me. I actually had told I think I shared with you an idea that I had had going on as well. But I felt like a lot of the same observations, a lot of the same concerns that you've had were ones that I had seen as well. So tell me a little bit about what it is that you do in that area, in the working with kids you do in that area, in the working with kids.

Speaker 1:

Well, when my son started high school in 2007, I was invited to go into one of his classrooms by one of his teachers to teach high school juniors and seniors who were going to be going directly into the workforce rather than going into post-secondary education. I was invited to come in and to teach them how to give excellent customer service because I had a business where I was conducting customer satisfaction surveys for midsize manufacturing companies.

Speaker 2:

So just to clarify so this was a class that the school system has that would help students that were no it was just one of his classes, one of his six periods.

Speaker 1:

I met the teacher while we were both chaperoning and dance. And she said, understanding now what I did at home, I had this home-based business customer satisfaction surveys gauging customer satisfaction in service. And so she said would you please come in and teach these juniors and seniors who are going to be going directly into the workforce how to give excellent customer service, because where else are they going to learn? It but from you, who are talking to the voice of the customer. You're hearing what the customer wants.

Speaker 1:

So, can you please come in and teach these kids what the customer is saying about what they want?

Speaker 6:

how they want to be treated.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's brilliant, so I did that, and the teacher was kind enough to mentor me on my presentation skills and on the things that students need in order to stay connected and engaged to a speaker, and so that morphed into a nonprofit where we started intersecting strengths, individual student strengths with their interests, with potential careers and so yeah.

Speaker 2:

So you, how many years did you help her teach that, or how long did you do that before you realized this was something that is needed more broadly than maybe just that classroom?

Speaker 1:

So I started going into the classroom in the spring of 2008 as a volunteer. And then in 2009,. Because what I was saying to the students is that, look, if you're interested in, say, perhaps, architecture, then you need to interview an architect to ask them. Can you give me 20 minutes and I'm going to ask you three questions what made you choose this career, how did you get here and what's the best advice you could give me if I want to follow in?

Speaker 6:

your shoes.

Speaker 1:

And so the more students I spoke with, it was okay. Well, my network is going to start to become saturated with students wanting to interview my friends, and so I thought, you know what? We just need to create videos of these people that I know, put it on a website so that students can access this content 24-7, at no cost.

Speaker 2:

That's cool.

Speaker 1:

So I incorporated as I got the help of wonderful pro bono attorneys who helped me incorporate and we started the website and we started interviewing people and that website is wwwgt20.org.

Speaker 2:

Wow, I'll put that on the show notes to make sure people can click on that link too. So this is interesting because it sounds to me like a master class platform or something like that, for teens, specifically as they anticipate going out in the workforce. Is that how you would view it? Is it like there's videos of people instructing and talking about their particular backgrounds and stuff like that?

Speaker 1:

It's more of a research tool actually.

Speaker 2:

But what?

Speaker 1:

I indicated in the classroom is that I wanted teens to know yourself. So you have to do some level of self-assessment. So we had a Department of Labor assessment tool on the website and that was helpful, but not great. So in 2017, I learned about Clifton StrengthsFinder and then I became a certified Gallup strengths coach, because Clifton StrengthsFinder is owned by the Gallup organization. So I became a certified strengths coach and started taking that into the classroom and really saw a huge, huge amount of impact through that, because the difference between just telling kids, okay, go and take this Department of Labor assessment, and then you figure out from there.

Speaker 1:

And here are these random, you know interviews these video interviews and you go and do all the work. Video interviews and you go and do all the work. So instead of that, we did a much more focused approach where we, as a nonprofit, would purchase the codes, the assessment codes and then we would administer the assessment in the classroom.

Speaker 1:

And then I have two additional volunteer Gallup certified strengths coaches that come with me into the classroom and then we coach the students one on one. Now we're in a room, the door is open, the teacher can still see us there's a lot of transparency. Every communication we send to the student, the teacher, is copied on it. So there's just 100% transparency everywhere.

Speaker 1:

But what we found is that the students were learning about what was right with them naturally, and then in the coaching we would help them choose a vocabulary about themselves around their strengths. So, as an instance, there was one young man that he was a freshman and I coached him and his top strength is called deliberative, which means he takes quite a bit of time to make a decision. Well, his friends he's 13, 14 years old. His friends are making fun of him saying dude just make a decision.

Speaker 1:

And so the vocabulary that he chose around that strength was that he is a careful, observant risk assessor, and so basically, he's able to tell his friends. I'm a careful observant risk assessor and I need more time to make this decision.

Speaker 2:

Wow, wow, that's awesome.

Speaker 2:

It really is you know you? You mentioned Gallup and the StrengthsFinder. Uh, I've never I say never. I didn't see the value in a lot of those things I've taken like quick quizzes on, like online platforms, social media, whatever, and it's like you're this person and you know whatever. And then I had to take a. I took a class several years ago where one of the things that they did was help you determine, you know, figure out who you are. I love the way that you said it too. Like who are you now? The natural person, the person that you, um, are? You know the design of?

Speaker 2:

who you are your psyche or your, you know your physical traits or whatever. And so we took several um, we took several of these sort of assessment tests. But I I remember taking StrengthsFinder and um and just reading it and thinking, oh my, my word, like this really gets me, like it helps me understand. I was just talking to a friend of mine.

Speaker 2:

One of my best friends is a. He works in the White House actually, but he was just talking. He and I were just talking on Saturday on the phone about these sort of tests and assessments and stuff like that, and we were talking about the value of them, the way that he's seen it happen within the military, in the Air Force, and how he, you know, works with the guys that he works with. But then I was telling him for me it was really helpful because a lot of times people write those off but then you struggle because you're always dealing with the same problems over and over and over again, or like, like. In this case you have a kid that is being made fun of and that's what everybody knows him to be, and they turn it into a negative thing when in reality it could be a superpower.

Speaker 1:

It's definitely a positive and the assessment is very validating because I was able to tell this student that he is the yin to my yang, because my top strength is called activator.

Speaker 2:

And.

Speaker 1:

I am characterized by ready shoot. Oh, I better aim, so I need him. I need him to slow my roll, to be a careful risk assessor, because I'm just out there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's great. As you do this, have you seen this really take off with these kids? As they've taken these assessments and as you've interacted with them and give them these tools, have you seen it make a big difference?

Speaker 1:

Yes, and on my LinkedIn profile there are recommendations from some of the students, some of the older students obviously not the minors, but the older students, the college level students that I have coached, and it's helped them immensely with their interviewing skills, because you go into an interview and ultimately somebody's going to say, well, tell me about yourself, and instead of fumbling around and saying, well, this or that, you have absolutely things within your gut that you can say this is who I am.

Speaker 1:

And this is how it presents in my life, because they're going to say well, tell me about a time when you used that and what was the outcome, and you're going to be able to go to stories immediately.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. We'll be right back. You can hear the rest of this conversation in just a moment.

Speaker 5:

An open invitation to all Fremont student journalists. An open invitation to the parents of all Fremont student journalists. An open invitation to the parents of all Fremont student journalists. If you worked for your school newspaper and would like to make an audio story for our podcast, we will air it, we will help you, we will edit, we will give advice. We don't even have to meet in person. We would love to have student journalists, teenagers with a point of view and a life lived in Fremont that we don't have access to. We would love for you to tell your stories, or tell the stories of those around you, or at least tell stories from your perspective.

Speaker 5:

This is a call out to the students as individual people. We're not going to be able to go through your schools because you know it's summer. If you had more fun in journalism class than you expected and it scratched an itch that you didn't know you had, let's do more work. Reach out to us through our website, thefremontpodcastcom, or message us on Instagram. Your parents are definitely going to have to be involved. We will need their consent, but we have worked with teens before. We'd like to do it again. To repeat myself an open invitation to the student journalists of this town. If you can come up with a story idea and do the field reporting, we can help edit and you will get airtime.

Speaker 2:

I've actually been working out with Own it Fitness, which is a small shop that opened up here a few years ago. They've been a sponsor on the podcast, and so I've been working out with them and they help you with diet as well as your exercise and stuff like that. Anyway, they're always asking me about my eating and stuff, so every time I'm in there they make sure that I'm eating the right things that go along with the workout plan they have for me and stuff. I want to to tell you about minute man press in Irvington. They are your quality printer to go to here in Fremont. I have personally worked with them before and I find their services to be fantastic. Look no further than minute man press in Irvington. You can find them at four four one four one Fremont Boulevard in Fremont.

Speaker 5:

Every single episode of the Fremont Podcast is now on YouTube. We put it there in case playing it from YouTube is easier for some people Enjoy. Please consider donating $1 a month on a reoccurring basis to help this podcast that you enjoy. Buymeacoffeecom. Slash TheFremontPodcast. Slash membership. Slash the Fremont Podcast, slash membership. We now have an audio letter to the editor, a phone number that you can call and let us know what's on your mind 510-556-4049.

Speaker 3:

Thank you for calling the Fremont Podcast. This is your audio letter to the editor. Please tell us about the things you have observed living or working here in Fremont, the things that excite you, the things that upset you and the things that you are curious about.

Speaker 5:

So give us a call, and if you need to call us more than once, that's okay. If you're three quarters of the way through and you mess up, just keep talking. I'm the editor, I'm good at my job. If you need to call us more than once because it doesn't all fit, that's okay too. Again, that's 510-556-4049.

Speaker 3:

With that said, we really do want to hear from you. So here's the beep.

Speaker 2:

And now back to our conversation. How long have you lived in Fremont?

Speaker 1:

We moved to Fremont in 1996, when our son was three years old and he's now 31.

Speaker 2:

Wow, that's awesome. Where did you live before that and what brought you to Fremont?

Speaker 1:

Well, I grew up in Playa del Rey on the beach in Southern California. I then moved to Manhattan Beach, married my husband. We lived in Redondo Beach. Then my husband got a job up in Santa Rosa. We lived in Santa Rosa for two years. It was absolutely gorgeous.

Speaker 2:

Loved it.

Speaker 1:

And that job didn't work out, so we moved to Fremont where the jobs did work out and we've been here ever since, and because I had lived in all of these garden spots and beautiful areas, I felt that Fremont was like it was going into the food and beverage hinterlands. I mean, fine dining was Chili's, it was beyond annoying and I hated it. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

But what I discovered about Fremont is that it is a really spectacular place to raise a family, and what I also found was that the community really supports its own supports its own Because I saw a need in Fremont where I wanted to start an education non-profit, and the community of Fremont has supported us for over 10 years in that.

Speaker 2:

It's been a while since I've been in school and you know, and I think back on it, I'm trying to remember, you know, how these conversations may have been navigated when I was, when I was younger I think it was probably a different generation, a different time but I just I'm just thinking about it, like when I think of I guess what I'm saying is when I think of even like Fremont, who kind of boasts itself and being one of the top you know areas with the education, like why is this not part of what we're already doing? And like why I feel like a lot of these things that you're, that you know the things that you're talking about here and I've talked with other teachers from other schools, um, and what they're doing it feels like there's some essential things that are just being avoided and, um, like and not included within our education.

Speaker 1:

Well, part of the curriculum. I mean every school district is mandated by the State Board of Education to integrate certain types of curriculum into what they offer, and career help is mandated by the state of.

Speaker 1:

California and how the different districts do that is up to them. I know that Fremont Unified School District used to contract with Naviance, which I did not feel was a great tool. I was called into an honors English class to coach the students based upon their Naviance results because they all had to do a career project. I don't think that the career project is part of the curriculum any longer. I don't know what they're doing, but the Naviance assessment had told some of these honors English students that, oh, you'd be a good bartender, or oh, you should be a crossing guard, or you should be a funeral home attendant. Yeah, it was, and that's, excuse me's, not across the board that was not the majority of the

Speaker 1:

assessment results. But I went around the room and said what did your Naviance results tell you? And these were some of the results I was getting. And I was scratching my head and said there's got to be a better assessment, because this is really not checking all the boxes here.

Speaker 2:

I don't know what would be the data that somebody would collect to determine that I would be a great crossing guard, but it seems to me like I could be imagining myself, or I have this dream of doing something and I feel like I'm really gifted to do that, and then just to be told yeah, you make a good crossing guard. Respect to all the crossing guards that are listening to the podcast right now, but I'm just wondering. That almost seems insulting to a certain degree.

Speaker 1:

Well, in all fairness, let's face it. When some of these high school students are going in to take this assessment, they're joking with their friends.

Speaker 6:

They're like how can?

Speaker 1:

I skew these results.

Speaker 6:

How can I make this?

Speaker 1:

as ridiculous as possible. This is not going to be meaningful at all. So, with all due respect to every profession and to Naviance, it could be skewed on the student and we just don't know. We just don't know, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I think that that's where, when you come in and you're doing these personal assessments of these students, it's not just up to them, you know and I mean there's obviously the StrengthsFinders test that they go through but when you become a coach and you're helping them one-on-one with these, with these things, I think, I think I think that also kind of like cuts the crap, cuts through the crap a little bit as well, and just say, hey, you know, I know you're joking about this. You may, you know, may throw down some things, that, but but let's get to know you, let's, let's help you, let's get you set up for, um, being successful at whatever it is that you're going to do when you leave here. And I think that's really, that's really great.

Speaker 2:

What have you learned, Um? What have you learned as you um have like jumped into this head first, like what is it that you have learned? That, you see, is both, um, perhaps you know, a real shining light for things that are happening, and what are some of the things that you feel are areas that we maybe as a, even as a community, could be made more aware of, that we could be doing better, or that we could be encouraging people like you who are investing in people's um in these kids lives like. What are some of the things that we could be doing better or that we could be encouraging? People like you who are investing in people's, in these kids' lives, like, what are some of the things that we could be more aware of to be able to, you know, to support?

Speaker 1:

The navigation of school districts has become a lot more complicated. When I started in 2008, it was the teacher would invite you into the classroom. You were a well-known part of the community. You were a parent of a student and other people knew you. It's like, okay, yeah, just come on in the classroom and I'll be there in the classroom with you and talk to the kids about what you bring. Nowadays, in order for anyone to go into the classroom, especially as a nonprofit organization, you have to complete a memorandum of understanding with the school district. You only get the invitation to complete the memorandum of understanding through a teacher or through someone within administration. You cannot just go and apply.

Speaker 6:

You have to be invited. Oh, interesting.

Speaker 1:

And the process can become a little political, which is very disheartening to be honest because I know the value that our organization has brought into Fremont schools and other schools and I'm disappointed.

Speaker 2:

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Speaker 5:

Fremont Bank has been around for 60 years and they sponsor a lot of stuff, and now included on the list of things they sponsor is this podcast. Thank you, Fremont Bank. I literally typed in the word bookstore and community and I immediately found two articles. The first article from 2018, guess what's anchoring many small downtowns, Even in the age of online shopping? The answer is bookstores. And another article from Strong Towns in 2019, how a local bookstore can make your town richer in more than one way. Banter Bookshop is on Capitol Avenue in downtown Fremont. The Ohlone College Flea Market is happening every second Saturday of the month from 9 am to 3 pm on Ohlone's Fremont campus. Hey Van, if people want to contact you, how do they get in touch?

Speaker 6:

So our phone number is 510-659-6285. And the email is fleamarket at aloniedu. More information can be found at aloniedu slash flea dash market.

Speaker 2:

I think, going back to, I want to go back real quick to what you do with the strengths finders. I do think that this is such a critical piece because when I like I'd already alluded to I took the strengths finders, I started recognizing the fact that I was like man. This assessment gets me, it understands who I am, and I think that oftentimes we do think that there's like a, there's like this one clear way that you know, we just and I think that's what's happening in the educational system and I'm speaking ignorantly, but you know we create this one pathway for everyone to go through and we don't stop to take notice of the beautiful dimensions of each student and of each particular person that's going through, and that's why you have people. Um, you know, my son was just telling me the other day and I can't remember which direct, which movie director it was, but he was like did you know that? I don't know it was Christopher Nolan or whoever you know.

Speaker 2:

It was like they didn't even go to college and I was like, did you know that? I don't know if it was Christopher Nolan or whoever you know, it was like they didn't even go to college and I was like, and look what they did. You know? And Steven Spielberg, I think, yeah, and and um, I was just like yeah and I. And you start thinking about that and you start thinking about the people out there who have had a huge impact on our society who didn't that they didn't stay in the rut of the educational system and instead they were actually not. They had the opportunities, but they also just had the drive to go and pursue something that was really in line with who they naturally were. And then they, and then they created amazing things from that. But I not everyone has that drive, not everyone has the opportunities to recognize who they are. So I think what you're doing, what I anticipate that you're doing by helping kids discover their strengths and discover who they are naturally, is going to go a long way with that.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think, also in Silicon Valley especially, that the track is that, well, you have to go to college, well, I don't know. But I'm doing a room addition and a remodel on my house and our contractor is making more than my husband ever did Right right.

Speaker 1:

And I don't ever ask an auto mechanic or an HVAC technician or a plumber when I need help. So where'd you go to school? So can I see your diploma? Um, I'm just like, can you please help me and I will throw any amount of money at you to get you to do that so don't please people.

Speaker 1:

I want to encourage you. If your kids want to go into the trades, just know that they'll probably make more money than you. They'll have a more fun lifestyle because they'll be able to schedule their work. They'll have the best toys out there, the best RVs and boats and whatever. So respect the trades.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think. I mean I was an electrician for six years full time, Like I had my own business, and I loved it, like it really fit with who I am. I like to tinker, like to do things with my hands and figure out how things work. So you know, I loved. I still do it. I still do it on the side, but I love doing that and I do think that there is something like there is.

Speaker 2:

I've had this discussion with my wife and I've had this discussion with other people recently. It was just like you know, I think sometimes our school systems, the way that they've basically evolved into a pathway by which we try to do the quick and fastest way for the majority of people to be, quote-unquote, successful. We want people to get to college, we want them to find a career path and whatever. Well, a lot of those people I feel we're discovering end up becoming very unhappy with whatever they just choose to do at a young age. When I was just talking with somebody recently and they were talking about how competitive, let's say, things are in the Mission San Jose school, like it's just highly competitive and there's a lot of competition there, and I think that a lot of those.

Speaker 2:

I think in some cases and I'm speaking ignorantly and blanketly, so you know, somebody out there listening can probably correct me if I'm wrong but it just seems to be a lot of that competitiveness is driven by expectations of, say, parents or teachers or a society, as opposed to just really saying, no, you know what, I have my own expectations because I know who I am, I know how I'm wired, I know these things and so I can go into a classroom and not have to worry about, like trying to fight for this certain particular position and within academia or whatever, not saying that those other classes are not important or like getting good grades is not important. I'm just simply saying that if you know who you are and you're confident with who you are, then I think that it makes the pressure that you feel from the outside when you're trying to just blindly discover who you are, I think it makes it feel a lot less impactful on you as well.

Speaker 1:

You bring up an interesting point, and as the parent of one child, I have in the past, as he was growing up, put a lot of pressure on him. He was our one little egg in the basket. You know we didn't have four kids and he was it. And so from a very early age our son knew that he wanted to go into the military and we did everything we could to dissuade him from doing that, even to the point of sending him to an all boys military boarding school for his junior year in high school, because he was making poor choices as a sophomore. So he said, Okay, well, we're gonna nip this military thing in the bud.

Speaker 1:

But it actually served as a catalyst, because our son is now a staff sergeant in the army having served four years in the marine corps, and he's doing very well in his life and he's happy you know it's his, it's his element, yeah it's like it's what he swims in and doesn't know he's swimming that's right so it's like if you have a child, and this has I've experienced this over the years um at some of the higher producing schools where there was a young man who wanted to be in law enforcement and his parents wouldn't allow him because that was beneath him and their culture and he was devastated.

Speaker 1:

He was very sad but he obviously was going to live up to the desires of his parents and be in therapy later. But you know, it's sad that we, as parents and I am guilty of this my son is succeeding in his chosen career area because of his stubbornness and his integrity and his honesty to himself, not anything I have done. So as parents, let's please, please, please support our kids.

Speaker 2:

Do you guys involve the parents, or does your organization involve parents as well in all of this, or how does that work?

Speaker 1:

In the past we have not, but if a parent ever wants to have a conversation with us about the student's results, we would be happy to do that. And the beautiful thing with StrengthsFinder is, for instance, if a student has a strategic strength and whatever other strengths that might work with an engineering skill set yeah but they don't want to be in engineering. We can help the student and the parent find other aspects of engineering where they can go in and still utilize these.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's right these strengths, but maybe they're more of an influencer type. There's a job out there called sales engineer.

Speaker 2:

And what?

Speaker 1:

you're doing is interfacing with a customer and yet, at the same time, you have to have an engineering background, know what you're talking about, but be able to have that conversation with the customer and put it all together.

Speaker 2:

That's really good, yeah, like having the knowledge and awareness of the, you know the opportunity. Because you do say engineer and you automatically think of, like I'm sending a rocket to the moon or something like that. You know it's like. Well, yes, there is that. And I've actually been surprised when I've met people, a lot of people, recently. I feel like you know I do this. Well, what did you go to school for? I went to school for this, but this is what I do. Well, how does that connect? And they put it together and you're like, oh, wait a minute, that does connect. That would totally make sense for you to go in this particular field of science. But then you end up doing something that's very like society related or like community related.

Speaker 1:

And you're like, wow, that just makes a lot of sense. There are so many different intersections. One of our former interns, her sister, was an artist and she wanted to be in the medical field. She's making prosthesis, wow. So, you can intersect different areas and be creative.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's great there's so many different job opportunities out there and if you've got you know, you know what your strengths are and you're able to then basically do some kind of research to see what you can do, to sort of pull it all together and do what lights you up.

Speaker 2:

That's great. I love this. I love this. I remember I worked for Wendy's for about three and a half years. I started when I was, I think, 15 or 16. And early on, my manager made me a trainer for new employees. I was probably 16 years old and I was training all the new employees how to make sandwiches and I took my job seriously and I knew that I had to do everything that I needed to do in order to do it well. But I also went in and viewed it as a customer as well.

Speaker 2:

Like I was so frustrated when I would order a sandwich based on the picture that was up on the on the board and not get the sandwich that I like. I bought this and it looks like that in the picture, but when I get it, it looks horrible. I was just like I want it to be that when someone opens up their wrapper that they're like wow, that looks just like the picture. So I tried to make every sandwich look like the picture and even electrical work.

Speaker 2:

I worked building custom homes for a while with high-end developers where you had to get every detail correct. Whether you're hanging a chandelier or recess lights or whatever, it's just like. The aesthetics are really, really important. So you have to pay attention to all those details. Well, I say all that to say I got asked back or I got hired, or when I had my own business as an electrician, I would be hired again and again and again because of the type of quality and the details that I paid attention to with all those things. Well, that's all customer service. My thought was let's get something like an internship or something for kids to be able to come in and be able to, you know, to learn from the best and understand the best, and I think that's one of the reasons why it resonates so much with what you do is because I was like you're doing that, like you're helping these kids to understand who they are and what's important.

Speaker 1:

Part of the coaching in Clifton StrengthsFinder is that it's broken down into three parts. You are there to help a student name their strengths. In other words, they've been assessed. Okay, these are my strengths. And then you're there to help them claim them. Oh, this is where I see the strength within myself. Okay, these are my strengths. And then you're there to help them, claim them oh this is where I see the strength within myself, and then you are to help them aim what they're going to do with those strengths in their lives.

Speaker 1:

So, you're there to help them name it, claim it and aim it.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. Well, I hope that you have great success. I know you already gave the website. We'll have that in the show notes. Is there anything else that you can encourage people to connect with you on, or any ways that they can connect with you if they're interested in this? Are you primarily connected through the school system, or is this not something that you're doing? You're doing it more independently now.

Speaker 1:

Things are sort of in flux In conversations with our board. We're really not sure what we're doing it more independently. Now Things are sort of in flux. I really am, you know, in conversations with our board we're really not sure what we're doing with the recent developments of us not being able to be welcome into Fremont School, so we're really not sure what we're doing. But the website is there and is available for people. But the website is there and is available for people.

Speaker 1:

There are also other websites that do similar work to us and that I recommend. There is the California Career Zone which is a state of.

Speaker 1:

California. It's very helpful. Also, there is Gladio, g-l-a-d-e-oorg, I believe, and then there's also Road Trip Nation does a lot with careers and helping kids with careers, but what they don't do on the assessment side, I feel that all of those websites are weak because I compare it to CliftonStrengthsFinder. With CliftonStrengthsFinder you're getting the whole package. Those other websites have career videos and are helpful. So there's a lot to pick and choose from out there.

Speaker 2:

That's great. Well, I am so glad that you shared with us what you're doing and what your experience has been within our education system, and I hope the best. I think that our society needs this, our community needs this, and so I really hope that whatever you're transitioning into at this point is something that's going to be even stronger and better for our community.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, I really appreciate the time and the opportunity. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

This episode was hosted and produced by Ricky B. I'm Gary Williams, Andrew Kvet is the editor. Scheduling and pre-interviews by Sarah S. Be sure to subscribe wherever it is that you listen so you don't miss an episode. You can find everything we make, the podcast and all of our social media links at thefremontpodcastcom. Join us next week on the Fremont Podcast.

Speaker 6:

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

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