Samantha’s college graduation was rapidly approaching, and she was striking out on finding a job. She had been searching for something, ANYTHING, to do with her major without any luck. Who knew that returning home for the weekend to visit her mom and having a casual conversation with a salesperson in an unrelated field would be the turning point in her career search? As simple as it sounds, that is often how the power of connectivity works.

Samantha Brickley, CRS Work Opportunities Unlimited

Upon returning home that weekend, Samantha stopped into a sportswear and ski shop where her mom worked to pay her a visit. John, a sales representative for a ski tuning equipment manufacturer, happened to be at the shop and struck up a conversation with Samantha. John learned that Samantha would be graduating from college soon with a degree in psychology and was struggling to find a position in her field. Although they went their separate ways shortly after the conversation, John returned later that day to offer Samantha the chance to speak to his wife Deb, who worked at a company that he felt might interest Samantha. That company happened to be Work Opportunities Unlimited.

Deborah Brown Protopapas, CRS Work Opportunities Unlimited

Samantha says, “I jumped at the opportunity to meet with Deb. I needed any help I could get, especially just coming out of college.” Samantha and Deb met and discussed WOU’s mission, the population it serves, and Deb’s role within the company. Samantha was instantly intrigued.

Deb comments, “I was impressed by Samantha after meeting with her—she was a very sharp young lady who was driven and mature for her age.” Deb requested another meeting before she would allow her name to be used as a reference and conducted a short series of tests to make sure Samantha was as good as she seemed. “Samantha passed my tests with flying colors. She showed up on time, had her resume with her, and emailed me when she said she would.”

Deb encouraged Samantha to apply to WOU and offered herself as a reference. Once Samantha applied for a career resource specialist position, Deb gave her some guidance to help get her through the interview process, even conducting a mock interview with her. Samantha was hired in June 2018 in WOU’s Lowell market, and says, “I’m learning a lot, gaining some great experience, and really enjoying the position I’m in.”

Even now, Deb continues to stay in touch with Samantha, checking in periodically to see how she’s doing and answer any questions she may have. “My dad owns five insurance agencies and one of the things he taught us growing up was to network and talk to everybody, because you just never know,” says Deb. “We always try to help people because people have helped us along the way.”

Making connections comes naturally to Deb and her husband. To others, they have to see connectivity in action before they believe in its power. Samantha is a now a believer. Are you?