Career & Professional Development

Helping Gonzaga University Students and Alumni Clarify and Achieve Their Academic and Professional Goals

Career Development and Virtual Services – an Interview with Ray Angle

This week, as we enter Fall both on campus and virtually, Career and Professional Development aims to help our Zags prepare for a successful semester considering the new virtual environment. To help provide some guidance in tackling this, we talked with O. Ray Angle, Assistant Vice President for Career & Professional Development, who gave us some advice and suggestions for utilizing the CPD this semester. 

Portrait Photo of Ray Angle

Hi Ray! To start off, what is some background on your experience and what led you down this career path? 

I’ve been working in college career services for about 30 years now, and what really led me down the path was when I was in college, I changed majors quite a bit, and went to two different schools. It took me 5 years to get through college, and in my third year of college, my advisor suggested I go see if I could get a job in the Career Center. For three years I worked in the Career Center and realized that it was the kind of work that I wanted to do. I’ve done college career services across the nation in the Midwest, the East and the West, California, North Carolina, all over, and have worked for Gonzaga for five years.  

How would you describe your position within CPD? 

My role is to make sure that we are living out the mission of our office, which is to help students clarify and attain their educational and career goals. I make sure that everybody on the team that I work with has the resources, the information, and the support that they need to do that.  

No day-to-day is ever the same, [and] I’m oftentimes in meetings talking about programmatic and logistical issues, budget one moment, a student who’s dealing with a challenging issue related to their current development, a weekly one on one meeting with a staff member, or interacting with professionals from across the nation who do this work in our professional associations and different collaborative efforts. 

What are some of the ways in which you have seen your position shift in response to COVID-19? 

It’s similar to what the entire University has experienced. What’s unique about us is that since we’re supporting students in their career development, pretty much everything we can do online. Our major things are on campus recruiting, job postings, and Treks. We made the transition fairly seamlessly and are also in the process of moving our career services management platform from Handshake to ZagsIgnite. We also launched a new platform that allows us to do all our career fairs online.  

For returning students, what are the ways in which the CPD has changed in the services they provide this semester in comparison to previous semesters? 

One of the big concerns we’ve had is for the graduating class of 2020. With the previous class [2019] we witnessed one of the best employment markets ever, and so now we’re trying to do extra things to help the class of 2020. Continuing to serve them and alums for as long as they want to use our services and making sure that all the other services that we moved online are working well with the technology. 

We did volunteer this year to teach a couple of classes: One on the job search, and one on getting into Graduate School, and that’s new for us. We may end up teaching it again next semester, and each is a one credit course. I’m teaching one of them, University 420, Section 1, and it is basically a next step in the job search process if you’re getting ready to graduate.  

The number one service that I think we provide is the one on one career coaching experience because that helps students individually figure out what their next steps are, and I have really enjoyed being able to deliver that service online because I can show technology platforms more easily.  

How would a student go about setting up a one-on-one career coaching experience? 

All they really need to do is to go into ZagsIgnite, and there is a place where you can make an appointment with a career coach based upon the topic that you’re interested in. 

Log in to ZagsIgnite for appointments, career fairs, workshops and more!
Go to

New students on campus this year are already experiencing many firsts simultaneously with the new policies the rest of us are undergoing. What is your biggest piece of career and networking advice for these individuals? 

Don’t be afraid to think about and start taking steps toward what your career path is. I always tell people; you start looking for a job the day you start college. I would say meet people who do the work you’d like to do, talk to them about that work, make sure you’re getting experience in that field, and that you’re that you have a plan for moving forward with that. We’re here to help with that. 

For students who didn’t return to campus this semester, how can they still take advantage of CPD’s resources? 

Pretty much every resource we have is available online.  Make a conscious effort to connect with all the friends that you would have connected with while you were here via zoom, or whatever platform works best for you. 

From our perspective, you can have access to everything that you need. Maybe not the building that we work in, but we’re not even in it. Try to stay connected in other ways and certainly stay connected with us. We’re happy to chat with people anytime they want to talk by making an appointment with us. 

We do have a platform called ZagsConnect, which is kind of our own LinkedIn platform. Log into ZagsConnect, make a profile and start looking at some of the alums and friends of the University who are on there and start reaching out. Maybe they even live in an area close to you and you could meet for coffee, and you can always reach out to Erin Shields in our office as well and see if she can locate an alum in the area where you’re living that you could develop a Mentor- mentee relationship with. 

Is there anything else you’d like students to know about CPD? 

Make sure that you’re following us on social media, looking in ZagsIgnite for the things that are coming up, and just because you’re remote doesn’t mean you can’t participate in them. You can come to our career fairs, attend our tracks, and meet with a staff member. We’re just really a warm group of caring individuals who want to make sure that you are successful. 

If you are interested more in Ray, ZagsIgnite, ZagsConnect, or any other resources provided by the CPD, feel free to check out any of the following links. Thanks so much to Ray for giving an insight as to how this semester is working at the CPD! 


Networking with Erin Shields

This week, Career & Professional Development is looking at online networking. We are all familiar with social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but when we think of professional networking, we don’t always think of it in terms of online components. To tackle how to network well – in person and online – we chatted with Erin Shields, Director of Alumni Engagement in Alumni Relations and CPD. 

Portrait of Erin ShieldsHi Erin! Let’s start with a brief summary of what you do in Career & Professional Development. 

Erin: As Director of Alumni and Employer Engagement, I have the opportunity to serve as a bridge between Career & Professional Development and Alumni Relations, University Advancement. I work with all of our alumni and friends who want to be involved in the career development process for our students and other alumni as they are some of the best endorsers of our students and partners in this process. Their involvement can be through mentoring, through our online platform, ZagsConnect, hosting us at regional Treks, or recruiting Zags for internships and full time opportunities at their organizations.   

This week we are focusing specifically on networking, and since a big part of your role is facilitating connections between students and alumni, it is great you had time to chat with us about it. The word “networking” has some specific connotations for students, but what do you think of when you consider “networking”? 

Erin: Networking is accessing the community around you to assist and support you in your goals. We all have networks around us, even if we don’t recognize them as networks. It is about building and cultivating relationships with people who can make recommendations, speak to your skills and your talents, and introduce you to opportunities. 

Who should be networking and why? 

Erin: Students should start as early as possible because not only does it means you are building relationships in a natural, authentic way, but it also gives you more time to practice the skill. This way, by the time you are seriously seeking a job or internship, you have an existing network and the skills to continue to build on it effectively.  

If you delay until your junior or senior year, you will have the pressure to accomplish your end goal rather than the space to build more authentic connections. 

That’s a really good point, but let’s say that you meet with a junior or senior who, for whatever reason, did not start networking early. What can they do to mitigate that pressure and still network effectively now that they have a compressed timeline? 

Erin: I will say that it’s never too late! In an ideal world, you want to start early, but don’t get discouraged and think you’ve missed the opportunity. We have an incredible Gonzaga community of mentors who have volunteered to help you with this exact thing. They are going to be an extra supportive group– they were in your shoes and understand where you are at.  

In fact, over the several weeks, we have had great outreach from alumni asking “how can we support the class of 2020?” and “how can we support students and other alumni with their careers in this challenging time?” So they are out there and they want to assist you. 

How can students tap into these alumni? 

Erin: We have 2,800 alumni mentors who are part of the Gonzaga Alumni Mentor Program. They are all over the country in a wide variety of career fields and some are working abroad. Of these mentors, we have about 600 who are available on our online platform, ZagsConnect. It’s like LinkedIn, but exclusively for the Gonzaga community, so the first step is to join ZagsConnect. Take a little time to build your profile, and then you can explore the mentors in that system. You can search by keyword, major, location, etc. You can message anyone in the system you are interested in you and even schedule a meeting. In addition to ZagsConnect, I can assist students with additional mentors who are not yet on the new platform.  

We also have Alumni Chapters in areas all over the country and internationally These are alumni and friends who gather in their location for service projects, spirituality programming, game watches and networking events. They are a fantastic resource if you are interested in opportunities in a specific city, or if you are home during the summer. 

A lot of the networking right now is going to be focused online because of COVID-19. What are some of the differences and similarities between online vs. In person networking? 

Erin: Without the opportunity to have the face-to-face interactions at socials or networking events, you want to make sure that your online profiles are up to date. I recommend students have a LinkedIn profile and a ZagsConnect profile. You want to make sure your most recent coursework, internship, job or volunteer and leadership experience is on that profile. Think about things you did in your classes, clubs, organizations and keep that updated just like you would with a resume because people will likely be looking at that first before interacting with you. You will also use bullets and the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Results) to detail your accomplishments in each experience just like you would with a resume. You can have anyone from Career & Professional Development review your online profiles before you start making online connections. 

You also want to make sure you are familiar with the digital resources you will be using to meet with people. Practice using Zoom, Skype, whatever platform you will be using prior to your meeting. Make sure you can share screens, and use the technology effectively and comfortably. 

If you are having an interface with an employer or alumni, be thoughtful about your environment as well—whether it’s over a video call or regular phone call. You want to be somewhere quiet with a non-distracting background in a well-lit area. Make sure you have a good internet connection. 

What other tips do you have for students who have never networked before and are not sure where to start? 

Erin: Think about your elevator pitch. They call it an elevator pitch based on the idea that if you found yourself in an elevator with the CEO of your dream company, and you have 30 seconds, what would you say to them? How would you present yourself? It’s going to include your educational background, your experience, your key strengths, and where you are at and what you are looking for. So, a little about you, what you bring to the table, and your goals.  

It’s a good idea to write the elevator pitch down and practice it in front of the mirror and with people. You want to get very comfortable with it, so it is not robotic but conversational. Once you are comfortable with this, it is something you will use to initiate conversations, but also in interviews, introductory emails, and cover letters.  

I will also emphasize how important it is to listen and be fully engaged, rather than waiting for your turn to speak. Eye contact, smiling and nodding are important. It’s okay to take pauses before answering a question. You should be prepared to answer why you are interested in your major, a specific job, specific company, etc. Take time to reflect on those questions and your answers so you have ideas ready when these questions come up. 

What else should students know about CPD and/or Alumni Relations? 

Erin: I think the most important thing they should know, and I’ve been asked this a lot in the last few weeks, is that everything we offer—including our alumni network, CPD services, etc.– are still available after you graduate. This is one of the many great things that sets Gonzaga apart. When we say Zags for Life, we mean it. You are a part of this community forever—a community in which generosity and the spirit of giving back is ingrained. If you are struggling, if you feel stuck, frustrated, alone—you’re not. We’re here to help. We are available to serve you in any way we can now, just as if we were all on campus together. If you are a student, an alum, we are here—please engage with us. 

Thanks to Erin for sharing her knowledge and helping us untangle the how-to of networking. If you want to learn more about Erin, Alumni Relations, or any of the resources mentioned in our interview, check out the links below!

Ready to try your hand at online networking? Sign up for the 2020 Los Angeles Treks- taking place on May 19 via Zoom. Pre-registration is open at

Los Angeles Trek promo image. States date of May 19, 2020 from 9am-4pm via Zoom.

Working from Home – Shelby

This week we wrap up our series on working from home with an interview from Gonzaga University alum and former Career & Professional Development team member, Shelby Wells. Shelby is a Peer to Peer Fundraising Manager for Children’s Miracle Network in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. Children’s Miracle Network is a North American non-profit organization that raises funds for children’s hospitals, medical research, and community awareness of children’s health issues. 

Portrait of Shelby Wells, smiling for the camera.How long have you been working from home?    

Shelby: 1 year as of March 1 

What are the biggest benefits to working from home?    

Shelby: There are many. I find that I am more productive. I don’t have to dress up, there is less commute and less environmental impact. It taught me a new way to work in that I learned how to communicate well, be more comfortable with new ways of communication (zoom, phone, etc.), and learn how to connect with people in a different way when you don’t see them in person every day. Working from home makes me appreciate time at home, and helps you stay on task because you want to get it done and have free time in the evenings. Plus, I get to be with my dog. 

What are the most challenging aspects of working from home?    

Shelby: No water cooler banter – you have to work harder to form relationships with colleagues and work harder to maintain because you aren’t in same place. Easy to take work home because it is always there. Her job allows her to travel with helps her to occasionally see her colleagues in person. Sometimes you have to justify what you are doing from home – ex. Weekly report to keep track of what you are working on and hold self more accountable so don’t get questioned about what you are doing. Learning all the technology very well and checking all of them (slack, zoom, email, etc) 

What three tips do you have for individuals who are new to working from home?

Shelby: I actually have five. First, take a break in the middle of the day (figure out when your most successful hours are and plan breaks around that). Second, Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone (or zoom) to feel connected to your team that you might not have otherwise. Third, separate your work (have a place where you do your work and don’t leak it into the rest of the house). Fourth, have a transparent conversation with your boss about what working from home looks like. Set clear expectations.  Fifth, set a reminder at the end of the day to wrap up work so that you are ready to be done working 

What technology platform(s) do you find especially helpful to as you work from home?    

Shelby: Zoom and Slack. Also use dropbox to manage all shared documents internally and with external audiences.  

How do you create community with your work colleagues without actually being in the same location?    

Portrait of Wally, a french bulldog with brown fur and black ears and nose. He wears a red bow tie with white polka dots.

Wally is an excellent co-worker.

Shelby: Pick up phone and call. Video is a huge asset because you can see people, and I prefer that because it helps to remember their faces. So much happens in the office when you spontaneously connect, but when you work from home you have to be intentional about creating those moments. Check in on people who you might not always connect with (not just your best friends). Slack channels help because you can create channels for fun stuff (dogs, etc.).  

Do you find it helpful to create a dedicated office space to use as you work from home or do you change your work locations throughout the house through the day?

Shelby: I find it beneficial to stay in the same spot, but some days I need to move around depending on the type of work I’m doing. Some people find that really important, but you may not always have the space to do so. If you do go to a coffee shop or something, be cognizant of sound.  

Do you usually dress for work or comfort?  

Shelby: Comfort – sometimes I will dress nicer if there is a meeting with high levels, but otherwise I dress for comfort. 


We really enjoyed catching up with Shelby, and hearing all about her experiences as a remote worker. This wraps up our series on Zags Working Remotely, but rest assured that Fired Up Fridays will continue for the rest of the semester. Check out our previous Fired Up Friday features by visiting our webpage (, and stay tuned next week when we focus on digital networking.

Zags Working from Home – David

Keeping up with our series on Zags working remotely, we pick up with David Machado ‘10.  David and his wife, Christine (you probably remember her from our first week of Fired Up Friday) are fellow Spokane dwellers, where they’ve lived for about seven years. David works at Automattic as a Business Analytics Engineer, helping transform data into information that can be used as input in decision-making scenarios. Automattic is the parent company of familiar brands like, WooCommerce, and Tumblr, and has embraced distributed work since its founding, 15 years ago. David studied Accounting and Finance at Gonzaga and earned a master’s degree in Data Science through Lewis University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant. 

How long have you been working from home?    

David: I’ve been working from home since I started my current job with Automattic in May 2018. I also completed my master’s degree via an online program. So, all-told I’ve studied or been working from home for about 4 years. 

What are the biggest benefits to working from home?    

David: Broadly speaking, I’d say that the greatest benefit to distributed (remote/work-from-home) work is that it expands the realm of possible job opportunities that are available—it democratizes opportunity.  Narrowing the focus to the day-to-day realities of working from home, I find great benefit in the ability to focus more deeply than I could in an office. Other things like no longer having to commute, not having to worry about planning for lunch, and having my own coffee readily available are certainly positives in their own right, as well. 

What are the most challenging aspects of working from home?    

David: The most challenging part of working from home is probably the added layer of friction to communication. Without the ability to just swing by someone’s desk (or room, in the case of residence halls), bump into colleagues in the hallway, or hop into a conference room to brainstorm on a whiteboard together, some of those serendipitous solutions to problems are a bit harder to find.  

What three tips do you have for individuals who are new to working from home?  

David:  First, make sure to take breaks, as needed; but also protect blocks of focused time. Because you’re at home, there are generally fewer natural breaks and, where there are natural breaks, they’re shorter than normal. As some examples, your kitchen is closer than the dining hall and your bathroom is probably closer than the one in your residence hall or academic building. It’s easy to not take enough time for your brain to recharge. The flip side of taking breaks as needed is to avoid distractions when you are focusing on work/class. Because there’s less socially-enforced etiquette at home, it’s easy to have your phone out and distract yourself. Sometimes I’ll leave my phone in another room to avoid distraction and help direct my focus on the task at hand. 

Second, find a routine that works for you, and use that routine to your advantage. I’ve found there are certain parts of the day where I’m more or less productive. For example, mornings are my most productive time for work that requires a lot of heavy thinking, so I try to tackle my really complex tasks before lunch. Mid-afternoon is my least productive time, so I use that time to catch up on communication/messages from around the company. Depending on the day, the end of my day either comes with a second-wind of focus or continues that mid-afternoon slump, so I’ll react accordingly.  

 Third: Communicate, communicate, communicate— even to the point of over-communicating. Communication is challenging in a distributed work or learning environment. All the extra cues we get from being face-to-face—things like body language and tone—are absent in text, and only partially apparent on video.  Thinking about a classroom environment, in normal circumstances, your professor can “read the room” and see cues that students might be experiencing confusion. In a distributed classroom experience, that extra data for the instructor disappears. Definitely ask questions or provide feedback more frequently than you otherwise would normally.

What technology platform(s) do you find especially helpful to as you work from home?    

David: I’m a big fan of both Slack and Zoom. We use these pretty heavily throughout the week, particularly Slack. Slack is great for quick text-based communication or 1:1 calls. Zoom is great for video chat, particularly for groups of three or more. I haven’t used it, but I believe Microsoft Teams offers similar functionality to Slack.  

How do you create community with your work colleagues without actually being in the same location? 

David: My company recognizes the importance of bonding with colleagues, so over the course of a given year, we meet up with our teams in person two to three times per year (obviously, we’re not doing this at the current moment). Because of those times we’ve spent together in person, I’m able to regularly joke around with my colleagues in Slack and Zoom. GIFs and emojis do wonders for making text chat fun and creating inside jokes and deepening the feeling of community. At its core, the maintenance of community ties back to that mantra of “communicate, communicate, communicate.”   

David's workspace shows a small table with a monitor, laptop on a stand, several novelty mugs and other small trinkets.Do you find it helpful to create a dedicated office space to use as you work from home or do you change your work locations throughout the house through the day?    

David: I do find having a dedicated work space in my house (just a table in a corner of a room, not anything super fancy) helpful. It is beneficial to be able to treat a particular space as “the place where I do my work.” That way, I can feel like I’m away from work when I’m not in that space, as opposed to feeling like there’s no separation between work and everything else at home. With that said, sometimes I feel the need for a change of pace, so I’ll periodically work from my kitchen dining-counter or, when the sun’s out, my back patio.  

Do you usually dress for work or comfort?  

David: I’m going to cop-out and say both. I dress in clothes that are comfortable, but not what I’d necessarily call “traditional” work clothes. Usually something like jeans and a flannel or shorts and a polo. Sometimes a bit more casual. With that said, I do always get dressed for the day (no rolling from bed to work in pajamas). That’s part of my routine that helps me prepare for a productive day.  

Do you have any funny stories related to your work from home experience?    

David:  I don’t think I necessarily have anything laugh-out-loud funny. But I have experienced a lot of joy with my colleagues as a result of the way that working distributed gives you a window into each other’s lives beyond work. My coworker on my immediate team works from his backyard shed (and accidentally ruined his WiFi connectivity once when he tried to insulate the shed). Another coworker lives and works from a 400 square foot apartment with her partner, who is a professional alpine climber—there are Patagonia coats everywhere in that apartment. You see colleagues’ office setups change as they move house or give up their old office to be a nursery for a new baby. 

I wish all the current GU students the best. The current situation is certainly not ideal, but I hope that it can still be a time of productive learning and living in community. 

We, hope so, too, David! Stay tuned next week when we talk with Gonzaga and Career & Professional Development alum, Shelby Wells.

Zags Working from Home – Antonella

In continuation of our series on Zags Working from Home, we chat with Antonella Mediati, a ’96 Business Administration graduate and executive leadership coach based in Paris. Antonella works with tech companies as well as individual executives in France, throughout Europe, and in the USA designing and facilitating coaching programs tailored for high potential individuals and teams with a focus on performance and lasting, positive change. She has worked with some of the most influential companies over the past 24 years including Amazon, Microsoft, and Macy’s, as well as a tech startups IoT/Blockchain. (Some answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Antontella points to the camera while standing in front of a painted wall that says "When You Want, You Can"

Antonella has coached executives all over Europe and the U.S.

How long have you been working from home?     

Antonella: I have had the opportunity to work partially at home for over 14 years when I started my career with Microsoft back in 2006.  Now in my own coaching business, I use my home office in Paris as my home base, yet I often travel to meet with clients and businesses.    

What are the biggest benefits of working from home?     

Antonella: Having flexibility and autonomy. There is no need to commute and deal with traffic or public transportation. No interruptions. I can fit in a yoga class in the morning and be the boss of my own schedule.  

What are the most challenging aspects of working from home?     

Antonella: Creating structure and discipline in the day as well as the lack of human contact.  

What three tips do you have for individuals who are new to working from home?       

Antonella: Create your own structure and positive habits!  

  1. Have a dedicated workspace. Based on studies from neuroscience, it is important to keep your space clean, uncluttered, and have a “something special” that is dedicated only for work, such as a special pen or notebook. If you have a dedicated desk or table that is a plus, but it’s not 100% necessary if you do not have this luxury.  
  2. Schedule individual 25-90 minute focus times directly on your agenda every day and be reasonable with your “to-do” list. It is amazing how humans will prioritize scheduling meetings with others but rarely schedule dedicated “focus time” on their calendars. After 90 minutes of focused work, your brain needs to take a mental break. A great method that I follow and encourage clients to follow is the Pomodoro method, which you can find more about online.  
  3. Use the Chunking Method. Reflect on your theme of what you need to accomplish ahead of time (no more than 2 at a time) and deconstruct them into “chunks” or categories that are much more manageable. Then further break this down into specific actions. By breaking down problems, your brain can deal with chunks one at a time and get you almost effortlessly to your end objective! 


  1. At the beginning of the month: What 1-2 themes do you absolutely need to progress on by the end of the month? How will you feel when you accomplish this theme? Break these themes into categories.  
  2. Sunday evening (for the week ahead):  What can you realistically accomplish for the week? Break down your categories into subcategories and plan your workweek by day (at the beginning of every day). When things get tough, focus on the reward (how you will feel after accomplishing X).  
  3. Every morning: Further break down your categories into daily tasks. Accomplish these tasks in 25-minute Pomodoro segments. Be realistic and give yourself a reasonable number of tasks to accomplish in the day.  

What technology platform(s) do you find especially helpful to as you work from home?     


  • Zoom for video conferencing  
  • GSuite for all the collaborative tools (from the Cloud to Email to Calendar and more)  
  • Calendly to share my availability effortlessly with customers so we can focus on high-value discussions rather than schedules  
  • Doodle for group scheduling  
  • Canva – great for creating your own marketing flyers or online content  

How do you create a community with your work colleagues without being in the same location?     

Antonella: Being part of coaching and like-minded communities around the globe (NeuroLeadership, International Coaching Federation (ICF), WIAL, etc.) and having coaching colleagues and mentors in New York, Seattle, London, Germany, and Paris has been essential to exchanging perspectives and providing a community.   

Antonella’s workspace is both beautiful and functional.

Do you find it helpful to create a dedicated office space to use as you work from home or do you change your work locations throughout the house throughout the day?     

Antonella: Yes! I have my dedicated desk, notebook, and pen (as I mention above). However, in the summer months, I love to work outside on my terrace. Listening to the birds zooming by is the guilty pleasure I have during my breaks (that and I love coffee). Although recently, I had my window open and bird flew in while I was conducting a coaching session. I could not keep my cool. 

Do you usually dress for work or comfort?   

Antonella: I always start my day with a little yoga routine, then shower, eat breakfast and dress up in something that makes me happy. I always dress in something clean, sometimes colorful, yet always joyful to me. (I don’t like to wear shoes, however).  

Are there any other insights you would like to add about working from home? 

Antonella: During this COVID-19 time especially, check in with your emotions. Our brains and our subconscious are working on overdrive due to world events and it can hinder our concentration. It is important to be gentle with yourself and do a quick “labeling of your emotions” should you start to feel a bit stressed or anxious. As soon as you label the emotion, imagine releasing the emotion. It is a little Neuroscience trick than help you refocus. 


Visit us again next week to hear from alum David Machado! 

Zags Working from Home – Christine

Many people around the world are self-quarantined in their homes, which means jobs are being compelled to move from the office to off-site. While this is a new experience for many professionals (and students!), it isn’t entirely new to the world of work overall. The option to work remotely has become one of the more popular benefits requested by employees. According to a report by Owl Labs, many would even take a pay cut as high as 10% to have the option to work from home1. In addition to the desire to have this benefit, increasing numbers of the workforce are already enjoying a flexible location. Employees who worked remotely (at least part of the time) grew from 36% to 43% between 2012 and 2016, with most sources agreeing that number is likely to climb.  

To better understand what this looks like for Zags, we reached out to Gonzaga alumni who have been operating off-site from several months to several years to tell us about their experience. We’ll be featuring one of these interviews every week through April. 

Christine Machado Profile Photo

Christine Machado

First, we spoke with Christine (Kelly) Machado. Christine is a Senior Finance Business Partner at GitLab, Inc, where she serves as the financial representative for the G&A division. GitLab is the world’s largest all remote company, with over 1,200 team members located in more than 65 countries. GitLab, Inc provides a complete open-source DevOps platform, delivered as a single application. Christine graduated from Gonzaga in 2010 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Business Administration (Economics). She also is a Certified Public Accountant and earned a Master of Business Administration from Washington State University. (Some answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.)  

How long have you been working from home?  

Christine: I have been working from home for 11 months. 

What are the biggest benefits to working from home?     

Christine: The biggest benefit has been the ability to live anywhere while working for a fast-growing tech start-up. Without remote work I would need to move to the Bay Area to work for a company similar to GitLab. Instead, I can live anywhere in the world. 

Similarly, I have colleagues located all over the world. I work closely with colleagues in Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Russia, just to name a few. Being surrounded by a diverse group has helped broaden my perspective.   

Also, you can’t beat no commute on a Monday morning. 

What are the most challenging aspects of working from home?     

Christine: Disconnecting and stopping work for the day. Since my company is all over the world, there are team members online at any given point. My company encourages us to disconnect, but I’ve still had to make a conscious effort. It’s easy to lose track of time in the evening so I’ve had to set boundaries for myself to log off even if I haven’t finished everything.   

What three tips do you have for individuals who are new to working from home?      

Christine: First, have a separate workspace. Part of the way I am able to disconnect from work at the end of the day is that I leave my workspace. Having a separate workspace also makes it so I fully focus on work during the day.   

Second, be aware of your personality so you know what you need to thrive. Based on my personality, I know I don’t stay cooped up well and I need in-person interactions. Before COVID-19, I went to a co-working space twice a week and on the other days I made sure to leave the house in the evening.  Now with what is currently going on I go on a walk every day. Sometimes I do it in the middle of my workday if I can tell I need to get out of the house.   

Third, socialize with your colleagues even if you are all remote. I would have laughed at this being a possibility before I started this job, but I am closer to my colleagues at my current job than I have been at any other company. We socialize on Zoom and through Slack. 

What technology platform(s) do you find especially helpful to you as you work from home?     

Christine: Zoom, Slack  

How do you create community with your work colleagues without being in the same location?     

Christine: We get together once a year for a week (though unfortunately we were supposed to be doing that this week and it was canceled due to COVID-19), which sets the foundation of our community. When I have Zoom meetings with one other person, I tend to dedicate the first few minutes to catching up with that person. I also Slack message colleagues casual/personal conversations that in a traditional office you would have.  

Do you usually dress for work or comfort?   

Christine: I dress for work. I am typically in Zoom Meetings for at least half the day and often with E-Level team members, so I need to dress professionally even at home. I also find it helps me switch into work mode when I go through the process of getting ready in the morning as if I’m going into an office.

Want to hear more? Stay tuned next week, when we continue this series with an interview from Paris-based alumna, Antonella Mediati. 



1Owl Labs. (2019). State of Remote Work 2019. Retrieved from 

2Gallup, Inc. (2017). State of the American Workplace. Retrieved from 

Careers with the U.S. Armed Services


Armed Services Panel on Feb 10 from 12-1pm in the Crosby Seminar Room

Have you considered working for the U.S. Armed Services after graduation, but felt your chosen major stopped you? Patty Hetu-Tkacik, the recruiter in residence at Career and Professional Development, is informing all students that it is not too late to pursue their interest in working in the armed forces, whether that be in the U.S. Navy, Marines, the Army, Coastguard, or the Air Force. Regardless of what your major is or what academic year you are, there are plenty of opportunities for all students to get involved with the Armed Services.

On February 10, Patty is hosting a U.S. Armed Services panel, where five armed services recruiters will come to campus from around the country to inform students on careers in the armed services and answer any questions students may have.

“We’ll have it here at Crosby and the 5 representatives (recruiters) will sit on a panel, address the audience, tell them who they are and what they represent, and we’ll run that through so the students can see the similarities as well as the differences that each military arm has to offer. That way students can find out what they might be interested in. And then we will leave it open for questions and answers,” explained Patty.

The panel will take place on main floor Crosby from 12-1 and lunch will be provided for all students in attendance.

The invitation for the panel is open to students of all majors.

“Everyone [can benefit], because the military reaches and has job opportunities for almost every major there is,” said Patty.

Patty is excited to finally get students the information that has been missing on Gonzaga’s campus about careers in government.

“Here in CPD we try to come up with specific programs that will help the students look at other career paths or pursue other options. And since I’ve come to Gonzaga for the last two years, I’ve centered around government jobs, whether it be the federal government, the local government or state government,” said Patty.

Whether students have considered a career path in government services or not, Patty insists that the panel is a good way to simply learn about what jobs are out there.

“I believe it’s another opportunity, another venue, another pursuit, or career path,” said Patty. 

“I’m not sure a lot of other colleges offer that, it’s usually about businesses and about the particular paths that you can go with these companies,” said Patty. “I’m not sure that students are given the same information when it comes to government or being part of the military. So, I want to bring that to light, because that is a true path for many.”

Patty herself served in government work as an operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency for 30 years, and after retiring came to Gonzaga to help guide interested students in a similar line of work. Even though Patty was with the CIA, she had much experience working and familiarizing herself with the arms of the military forces.

“During part of my career I did spend some time overseas in the war zones in Iraq, as well as a lot of the operations for the last 20 years of my career I worked with the armed services either overseas or in the United States. That could’ve been the marines, the navy seals, the army. And so, what we do together is complement each other in operations. We both collect intelligence and a lot of times we get it from different sources, and a lot of times we collaborate and share. So, working with a lot of the military and figuring out what they’re allowed to do and what we’re allowed to do is how we work together very closely. In addition to that, I also had a lot of military people who wanted to retire from the military, but they still wanted to continue service so they wanted to come work for the agency, so I would help them make that gap and make that transition. So, that is why I say I know a little bit about the military and what they used to do and how they used to help us, but then again how they wanted to work in the civilian sector.”

One thing Patty hopes to accomplish at the panel is to crack any myths that students may have about working with the armed services: “I think a lot of students believe that if they are contacted by a recruiter, that recruiter normally hounds them until the day they sign up. Which is not true.”

There are also ways for students to get involved with the U.S. Armed Services during their undergrad that may be helpful to hear about.

“They have training opportunities throughout the year that they can offer students, usually during summer, and a lot of students have partaken in that,” Patty clarified. “Even to the point where they graduate after going two, three summers training with the academy, and decide that that’s to the avenue they want to take. That’s okay, you can walk away from that. It’s not like you have signed up yet.”

The Armed Services panel held on Feb. 10 is the first time CPD has brought careers in military services to campus, and Patty is excited to give students first-hand resources to learn about career paths with U.S. government and forces.

“This has never been tried before, I don’t think we’ve ever had a military panel like this on campus before,” said Patty. “And again, we are just trying to open up other opportunities for students to let them know of another avenue.”

For more information, or to RSVP for the panel, visit the event page on Handshake.

SAP Concur and the Seattle Trek

As we’ve mentioned before, the Seattle and Portland Treks are fueled by the Gonzaga Community from all over the workplace. Fellow zags Erica Overfield and Julia Donovan from SAP Concur are looking forward to the Seattle Trek to meet our career-searching Zags! Julia and Erica are not the only two Zags from SAP coming to the trek – they will be accompanied by 8 other Zags who work at SAP Concur! To read their trek and career advice, see below!


Fellow Zags Erica Overfield and Julia Donovan

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Q&A with Erica and Julia:

What are your job titles at SAP Concur?

Julia: I am the Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity and Inclusion Specialist on the People Connection Team at SAP Concur – it’s a mouthful!

Erica: I am a Senior HR Business Partner

Who from your company is coming to the Trek?

We have 10 Zags total coming to the Trek day from SAP Concur. They are Stephanie Forsyth (’18), David deRecat (’11), Emily Nichols (’16), Colleen Fogerty (’14), Erica Overfield (’09), Julia Donovan (’18), Kennedy McGahan (’17), Megan Lombard (’10), Phil Gray (’14), and Evan Anderson (’11).

What should students know about SAP as they prepare to meet employers?

SAP is a tech company that drives innovation to help companies run at their best through a variety of software applications. SAP Concur is an entity of SAP focused on travel and expense software. Our original tagline was “The expense report that writes itself.”

Can you give a brief behind-the-scenes pitch for your company? Why should students be excited to speak with SAP at the Trek?

The best run businesses make the world run better, which is why SAP is rooted in helping customers and future clients succeed through our products. At SAP, there’s something here for everyone including a huge focus on giving back to our local communities, which we know is important to Gonzaga students. One of Julia’s favorite products is TripIt – an app that makes traveling simple and less stressful by giving you real time information and updates. Erica loves Concur locate – a software that helps keep Concur employees safe, whether in the office or while they are traveling.

What career and internship opportunities does SAP have for college students? What positions are you seeking to fill?

Every summer SAP hosts interns through the Internship Experience Program (iXp). There are tech and non-tech positions, and we do most of our hiring from January to March. Check out any postings  here! 

Why is SAP a good place to consider starting a career? 

SAP is a great place to start a career because there is a huge focus on career development for early talent. There are numerous resources available to employees from finding a mentor, to online learning sessions, and free professional coaching. Since SAP is a large global tech company, your networking opportunities are endless, and you can grow your career in many directions.


What advice do you have for students going on the Treks? 

Julia: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and stretch yourself to learn something new about a company or industry that might be outside of your scope of what you are studying at GU. Also, Zags help Zags! Lean on the network that you build here at the trek –Zag alums love to connect and can help you in your future career journeys.”  

Erica: “Bring your authentic self, because you don’t want to work somewhere that doesn’t align with your personal values. Take in every moment of the trek, even if that means putting away your phone and being present. You’ll get out what you put in.


Please add anything else that you have in mind that would be valuable to hear for GU students 🙂 

#GOZAGS and good luck with finals coming up!


Interested in meeting SAP Concur and other highly respected organizations? Click here to reserve your spot on the Seattle or Portland Trek?

Cambia Health Systems


As the Portland Trek approaches, the host companies are preparing to meet our students. Michelle Schwartz, the Manager of Diversity and University Programs, is excited to introduce Cambia Health Systems to our trekkers. So that students are able to come to the Trek fully equipped, Michelle sent in her set of networking tips and career advice for the Portland Trek. 


Q&A with Michelle Schwartz:

Who from your company is coming to the Trek?

 Former interns now working full-time and managers/leaders from different teams including Artificial Intelligence/Data Technology Solutions, Marketing, Accounting/Internal Audit, Strategic Communications and other areas of the business.


What should students know about Cambia as they prepare to meet employers? 

We are a not-for-profit organization seeking to transform healthcare. Our team members and leaders care deeply about the work we do and are excited to share how we are shaping the health care experience of the future. Cambia is a great place to learn and grow. We take pride in cultivating a culture of belonging.

Here is a blog of a summer intern’s experience you can review!


Interns of Summer 2019 at an annual Intern Innovation Challenge event


Can you give a brief behind-the-scenes pitch for your company? Why should students be excited to speak with Cambia at the Trek? 

Cambia Health Solutions, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is dedicated to transforming health care. We are a family of over 20 companies that work together to make the health care system more economically sustainable and efficient for people and their families. Our solutions empower nearly 70 million Americans nationwide, including more than 2.6 million people in the Pacific Northwest who are enrolled in our regional health plans.


What career and internship opportunities does Cambia have for college students? What positions are you seeking to fill? 

We are seeking to identify candidates who are a match for both internship and full-time positions post graduation. We hire approximately 65 interns annually. On average, fifty of these internships tend to be full-time summer internships in our Seattle or Portland office.

With an internship at Cambia, you’ll have the opportunity to cultivate real-world experience in the workplace using everything you’ve got—from academic experience to life skills. You’ll collaborate with directors and participate in projects delegated by senior management, plus network with other interns on exciting assignments.

Engaging in challenging assignments is a given for interns at Cambia. You might formulate health care premiums, refine the claims process, develop training programs and software, engage in risk-assessment or develop customer-driven marketing solutions. One thing is certain: Your work will be crucial to the transformation of health care.

In addition to providing all interns competitive pay, we offer these extras:

  • Activities and networking events exclusive to interns
  • Personal interactions with senior leaders
  • Weekly Brown Bags headed by corporate management
  • On-site fitness center membership (Portland and Seattle only)
  • Career development through training opportunities


Why is Cambia a good place to consider starting a career? 

We’re not just working. We’re changing lives. Join our Cause to transform health care, creating a person-focused and economically sustainable health care system. At Cambia, we believe that diverse voices and perspectives drive innovation and the achievement of our Cause.

Why join the Cambia team?

  • Work with and learn from diverse teams building innovative solutions that are changing the way people experience health care
  • Earn a competitive salary and enjoy a generous benefits package
  • Take advantage of Career Development Opportunities
  • Give back by participating in community outreach programs supported by the company
  • Participate in our Award-Winning Wellness Programs
  • Connect with colleagues who share like-minded interests and backgrounds through our Employee Resource Groups


What advice do you have for students going on the Treks? 

Be prepared. Learn a little about the organization and ask questions. This is your opportunity to stand out to a potential employer as well as make sure an organization is the right fit for you. Make sure your resume reflects your personality as well as clearly outlines your experience and interests. It is your opportunity to brand yourself. Invest the time in making sure it is a good reflection of you.


Please add anything else that you have in mind that would be valuable to hear for GU students 🙂 

At Cambia, we value the communities we serve, our members and our employees. We are committed to attracting top talent to serve our consumers, bringing together individuals with diverse talents, skills, backgrounds and abilities. We recognize that our team members not only contribute to the success of our organization but also assist in our goal of transforming health care from the inside out.

One of the ways we are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion is through our community investments. We strive to break cycles of poverty through the support of programs like Bridge Meadows in Oregon, mobile dentals vans in Washington, or Community Action Partnership in Idaho. We partner with organizations to empower girls through the work of the YWCA of Utah, Mary’s Place in Washington, and Girls, Inc. and the Center for Women’s Leadership at Portland State University in Oregon. We also support organizations that highlight challenges facing specific minority groups like the LGBTQ, Hispanic and immigrant communities.


Interested in meeting Cambia Health Systems and other highly respected organizations? Click here to register for the Portland or Seattle Treks!

Hear What PACCAR Has to Say about Networking, Treks, and the Career Center!



Here at Career and Professional Development, we understand that networking with Gonzaga alumni is a huge resource in career advancement that can take students and grads anywhere! That being said, we focus on bringing Zag alumni to the Treks we host so that students may practice networking skills, and get familiar with the Gonzaga community in the work place. Of course, it is never too early to begin making connections, so we encourage all students to come to the Seattle and Portland Treks over winter break to start building their network!

PACCAR, a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of the trucking industry, is another Trek Host company that is full of Zags to connect with. Kelsey Olmstead, a senior recruiter at PACCAR, wrote in a Q&A that one of the best things about Gonzaga is the post-grad community that continues the Zags Help Zags mentality and work culture.  


Fellow Zags Erica Overfield and Julia Donovan

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Q&A with Kelsey:

What should students know about PACCAR as they prepare to meet employers?

 PACCAR is really passionate about our company history. Do your homework and come prepared with questions about our business! As a Sr. Recruiter, I love it when students ask me specific questions that I don’t know the answer to. There is so much to learn about the company, and I love when GU students ask educated questions!


Can you give a brief behind-the-scenes pitch for your company? Why should students be excited to speak with PACCAR at the Trek? 

PACCAR is a 114-year-old company with deep roots in the Pacific Northwest. There is more to PACCAR than trucks. PACCAR is a global technology company, a finance and leasing company, a parts distributor, and so much more! Whether you want to build the trucks, sell them, purchase parts, design the technology that goes into the trucks, support teams in an HR or customer service role, and beyond, the sky is the limit when it comes to career growth at PACCAR!


What career and internship opportunities does PACCAR have for college students? What positions are you seeking to fill?

 PACCAR offers Internships in all areas of our business, and throughout the US. If you are open to being mobile after completing your Internship, that is a huge plus! Our largest groups that we hire Interns are in our Purchasing and Accounting departments.  Other areas that we hire Interns are in Marketing, HR, Credit, Engineering, Sales, Truck Assembly, Legal, IT, Contract Administration, Supplier Quality, Facilities and the Environmental department.


Why is PACCAR a good place to consider starting a career?

 PACCAR promotes from within. I have never worked for a company that truly lives this like PACCAR does. Our division leaders design succession plans for top performing employees to develop them. Whether you want to stay in the same department, transfer divisions, take on an international assignment, or move throughout the US, our leaders listen and help employees grow and succeed. In my time with PACCAR, I have been promoted 3 times in less than 3 years, and have had the opportunity to travel to our plants and truck shops in Texas and Illinois! PACCAR is also supporting me as I begin studying for my Master’s in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga.


What advice do you have for students going on the Treks?

 Be open to where the Trek may lead you! I first participated in the Trek as a Sophomore at Gonzaga. Through the excursion to Nordstrom, I was introduced by a Zag in HR to the Store Manager, who knew another Store Manager, who hired me as a salesperson at that store. I was then promoted to a Retail Management Intern, the Buying Office and Corporate Recruiting. Every job I have had since graduating in 2012 has been through networking with Gonzaga alumni.  Networking with a Zag led me to a job opportunity in San Francisco,  and back home to Washington through a Zag who worked at PACCAR, and here I am today! It’s normal to be nervous, but don’t be! It’s amazing how many seasoned career professionals and alumni (like myself!) want to mentor and hire Zags!


Please add anything else that you have in mind that would be valuable to hear for GU students 🙂 

Utilize the Career Center! They are super friendly and genuinely want to help you navigate your career and find your passion. It’s normal to try an internship and maybe not like it. No big deal – try something else! You will find your calling. Don’t be afraid to reach out to Gonzaga alumni. I truly want to give back to students the way alumni have given to me.


Interested in meeting PACCAR and other highly respected organizations?

Click here to register for the Portland or Seattle Treks! 




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