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

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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 

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

Picture 1 of 2


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! 




What Chinook Capital Advisors wants you to know before the Seattle Trek

Winter break is quickly approaching, which means the Seattle and Portland Treks are, too! Host companies all around are getting excited to meet our career-exploring Zags. 

Treks are career development and networking programs that create opportunities for you to connect with employers and Gonzaga alumni in the key metropolitan areas.

So, who are faces at these events, and how can they help GU students of all academic levels in their career development?

As students prepare their business attire, resumes and elevator pitches for the Treks, CPD is working to offer students personal accounts from the recruiters of our host companies.

Michael McIntyre, a Senior Analyst at Chinook Capital Advisors, was more than willing to share with students what to know about CCA before the Treks, and he is looking forward to meeting the students attending very soon!


Q&A with Michael McIntyre:

Who from Chinook Capital Advisors is coming to the Seattle Trek? 

Myself, John O’Dore (GU alum ’90) and Ed Kirk (GU alum ’90). John and Ed co-founded Chinook in 2017.


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

Chinook Capital Advisors is a leading M&A advisory firm serving the needs of Pacific Northwest business owners. Our clients depend on us to lead them through successful business transitions, primarily full company sale and recapitalization events.  We also provide other trusted advisor roles, including advisory board leadership, valuation services, and transaction planning and preparation services for business owners – often years in advance of a transition. We serve many of the key industries that drive the PNW economy, including consumer products, business services, aerospace, and more. More information can be found at our website:


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

If you are looking for an internship or career path that is ambiguous, meaning that no two days are the same, you should learn more about investment banking and visit Chinook. The investment banking career path attracts people who are high achievers, attentive to detail, and have a critical finance, reading and writing background. Students who are looking for opportunities in finance and investment banking should visit Chinook!


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

a. We bring on multiple interns during the summer who are rising seniors (meaning they are between junior and senior years). As an intern with Chinook, you will work closely with the team on every stage of the M&A process. The internship is fast-paced, and the learning curve is steep; it is expected that the ideal candidate is hungry to gain valuable experience and exposure to many aspects of the investment banking industry. Depending on your performance, the team may choose to extend a full time offer after graduation.

b. We only consider candidates who can demonstrate adherence to our five core values:

      1. Passionate, about serving our clients; helping them to achieve their personal and financial goals by closing transactions.
      2. Team Dedication, commitment to the success of the team; caring; helpful; respectful; humble; approachable; transparent; good communicator.
      3. Integrity, do what you say you will do; accountable; trustworthy.
      4. Detail Oriented, professional and accurate in all things; producing our best work always.
      5. Hungry, continuous learning and improvement; reaching our best potential professionally and personally; never settling for the status quo.

c. Each year, we open up our application on Handshake. Application for summer 2021 will begin late August/early September. 


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

a. I started my career at Chinook in June 2018, about a month after I graduated from GU. I have loved every minute of my time here. Each day is different – you can walk in the door one day and have to “fight fires”, meet with business owners or professionals in the Seattle area, or something completely different to what you were thinking about as you were driving into work in the morning!

b. My internships in college were at larger companies in the Spokane area with over 200+ employees. After a week of being on Chinook’s team (only two W-2 employees), I quickly realized that I loved working on a small team. We work in close proximity so we are constantly asking questions, providing instant feedback, and having fun! In addition, every employee and intern gets a seat at the table. We have a team meeting every Monday where everyone gets to contribute to the discussion and ask questions to the co-founders. I cannot think of a better way to start a career! 


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

Professionalism Matters! Remember that you are making a first impression on employers. Prepare for at least two hours in advance of meeting each employer. Visit their website, check out their LinkedIn profiles, read any news/press releases on their firms, and also read any articles on their website.


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

a. Over 90% of applicants for our internships do not prepare enough to meet us for the first time. Most do not even visit our website or our LinkedIn profiles! If you put in the preparation, you are already in the top 10% of candidates. Think about that!

b. Network with Gonzaga Alumni – use LinkedIn! There are over 30,000 GU alumni on LinkedIn – almost 8,000 in the Seattle area. There are alumni, like myself, who have helped GU students look for internships and jobs. Take advantage of this!


Interested in meeting Capital Chinook Advisors and other highly respected organizations?

Click here to register for the Portland or Seattle Treks! 



Trek and Career advice from Company Host, T-Mobile

Above: The T-Mobile Magenta Cobra’s kickball team 

At Career and Professional Development, our staff and Pro Reps are excited for what is in store for those students choosing to attend the Seattle and Portland Treks!

Treks are career development and networking programs that create opportunities for you to connect with employers and Gonzaga alumni in the key metropolitan areas. But who are the faces at these events, and how can they help GU students in career exploration? 

As the Treks approach, CPD plans to give students deeper, more personal information on the host organizations and their representatives, 

Glynn Baxter, Associate Marketing Manager at T-Mobile, was beyond willing to email responses in a Q&A format. Glynn is excited to inform students about what T-Mobile, one of the host organizations, has to offer students, as well as overall trek and career advice. 


Q&A with Glynn Baxter:

Who from T-Mobile is coming to the Trek?

We will have quite a few Zag alumni from across headquarters coming to the Trek, I would guess around 15 people across 14 different teams.

What should students know about T-Mobile as they prepare to meet employers?

T-Mobile is famous for being the “Un-Carrier”, and changing the industry for the better. I recommend students research what that means as far as brand messaging, what products/services we launch, and how we position ourselves in the market.

Can you give a brief behind-the-scenes pitch for T-Mobile? Why should students be excited to meet your company on the Trek?

T-Mobile is a highly respected and recognizable brand across the world. We are consistently rated one of the best places to work and well as a company that finds new and innovative ways to give back to causes we care about. Our company is spearheaded by bold and audacious leaders who challenge the status quo at work and in life. We don’t just go to work. We’re a powerful team transforming an entire industry, and we won’t stop.

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

T-Mobile has one of the best internship programs in the tech industry. Our interns take on meaningful work through which we realize true customer benefits. Interns have many special events and activities throughout the summer: everything from going to T-Mobile Park for a day with the Mariners to meeting everyone on our Senior Leadership Team (i.e. meet and greet with CEO John Legere). There are typically a couple hundred internship positions opened across headquarters for either rising seniors, recent grads, or MBA students. These are highly sought after positions and quite competitive to land one of these roles. Our goal is to always hire our interns at the end of their internship if they have proven to execute on goals with timeliness, quality, and personality.

Why is T-Mobile a good place to consider starting a career?

T-Mobile has given me opportunity to learn from the brightest minds in the industry. We play to win and have a ton of fun doing it. We have a culture of shared success because we focus on our people. All we ask is that you are willing to learn, question, and be yourself.

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

Network, network, network. You never know where your connections can land you a gig. Be patient with the process of landing your first real job, sometimes it takes longer than expected and that’s okay! Don’t feel pressured by your friends’ timelines.

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

Shoot for what you really want: set short and long term goals, and create contingency plans for yourself. Nothing is scripted for you, go ahead and write down what you want for yourself and work hard to make it happen. I am happy to chat and offer advice based off my experiences in searching for a job, resumes/cover letters, interviewing, and how to make an impact once you’re hired.


What else goes on inside the T-Mobile company?


On-campus work out classes                     T-Mobile Teams bond in escape rooms!      



Interested in meeting T-Mobile and other highly respected organizations?

Click here to register for the Portland or Seattle Treks!

7 Links to Get You on Your Feet

Looking to do research on major or career paths? AT CPD it is our mission to provide guidance and support for our students in the hunt for opportunistic internships and jobs. We offer many resources to all students, from one-on-ones with career counselors to info sessions with companies that visit campus. 

We understand how busy zags are, so whether you’re passionate to enter a specific field of work or you’re a student whose options are endless, you can take CPD home and explore career paths in the comfort of your bed with our handy search engines!  

If you want to investigate where you can take a major or practice professional skills, see the following sites:

What Can I Do With This Major…?                                   

Curious where to take a major? Check out this page! This online database is great for freshman or sophomores trying to nail down a major. If a major sounds interesting, look it up here and see where professionals have taken that area of study!


This online database screams “Zags Help Zags.” It serves as a great platform for mentoring and networking. Check out Zag alumni who have graduated with similar degrees or experiences, and learn about the career paths they’ve taken! On ZagsConnect students are welcome to message professional Zags and build professional connections within the Gonzaga community.


Looking for solid interview skills? Try out Interview Stream to practice your interview skills by video recording yourself answering a variety of questions. InterviewStream also allows you to watch interviews and score yourself using a provided rubric. Interviews are all about numbers, so get them in here!


If you’re looking to apply for work, check these out:



Handshake is a great place to start because each student has an account under Gonzaga. This means all information is pertinent to only GU students.  On Handshake you can find out which employers are coming to Spokane, learn about events hosted by Career and Professional Development, set up one-on-one meetings with Career Counselors, reach out to other students, and see job postings that Handshake collects from multiple databases.


CareerShift is the #1 site for job searches. At CareerShift, you will find the companies, jobs and contacts to assist you in pursuiting career opportunities. Not only that, but CareerShift offers online tools and tips to help you stand out in the professional work place.


If you’re a free spirit, and can or want to go anywhere for work after graduation, then GoinGlobal is a great database for you! GoinGlobal provides employment and internship information for positions for 30 countries.


Gonzaga students are especially lucky to have free access to the entire GlassDoor site. With your GU I.D. and password, students can enter the career community that offers the world an inside look at jobs and companies. What sets GlassDoor apart is the “employee generated content” – anonymous salaries, company reviews from inside partners, interview questions, and more.


Visit our home CPD’s home website for other online resources such as Resume and Cover Letter tutorial videos.

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