Champlain Sophomores Get a Head Start on Career Planning Strategies at Annual Symposium

Champlain Sophomores hold up their copies of Becoming the Boss, a gift from Lindsey Pollak to them.

Lindsey Pollak, a leading expert on training, managing and marketing to the Millennial generation, gave the keynote address at Champlain College's annual Sophomore Symposium on Sept. 21.

Champlain College sophomores beamed as they held up copies of Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders, Pollak's new book about leadership strategies for Millennials. She pulled many themes from the book and incorporated them into her speech about "How to Stand Out From the Crowd," and distributed 300 copies to students.

Following her interactive, action-oriented program, 491 students broke off into over 20 workshops lead by Champlain faculty and staff, community members and business leaders designed to help students explore how others in their field have turned their passion into a career.

Workshop presenters included Michael Jager, founder & chief creative officer at Solidarity of Unbridled Labour (formerly known as JDK Design); Lisa DeNatale, president & CEO of Special Olympics Vermont; Lindsey Lathrop, accountability and career coach; Mieko Ozeki, Sustainability Projects coordinator at the University of Vermont; Maria Thach, Alysia Monaghan, and Joe Rheaume, case managers at the Chittenden County Court Diversion; and speaker and comedian Colin Ryan.

Presentations included career preparation topics such as how to find work-life balance, how to prepare for job interviews, how to survive as a freelancer and how to quit gracefully.

They also included topics that could be applied during college such as why to study abroad, how to harvest your creativity, how to engage in difficult conversations, and even speaking from experience of how to get into various fields.

Lindsey Pollak speaking at the 2014 Champlain College Sophomore SymposiumPollak also continued her conversation in a Q&A with students. During the keynote, she shared secrets she's learned from recruiters, successful professionals and other experts to provide students with cutting-edge advice needed to secure jobs and build careers in the 21st century workplace.

Pollak, a LinkedIn Ambassador, walked students through a LinkedIn profile makeover, talked about following industry professionals on Twitter and tuning in to their conversations, and the importance of research and connecting with the right people in order to expand your network.

"The purpose of my campus speaking programs is to supplement the College's career service offerings," said Pollak. "Students will leave the session, which combines tips for successful networking, leveraging social media and utilizing LinkedIn to build your personal online brand, with increased confidence and steps to keep them on track from college to career."

Sophomore Symposium is designed to kick off the College's Life Experience & Action Dimension (LEAD) program's Lifelong Career Management Program. "The symposium helps guide students' career paths by recognizing their passions, connecting them with expert advice, and encouraging them to think about their career aspirations," said Abigail Mendenhall, assistant director of LEAD.

Pollak confessed that she did not take advantage of her university's career services or attend speaking seminars until just before graduation. "After college I got a job at, which it was my dream to help women plan their careers, but unfortunately, it went bankrupt 18 months later," Pollak said. She went on to describe how her boss encouraged her to start her own business, and her niche for helping young adults find their career path lead her to become an expert on the subject. "It's so important for Millennials in this digital age to market themselves effectively for recruiters to find them, long before a resume is even in their hands."

Champlain College President Donald Laackman emphasized the importance of a career-oriented symposium this early in one's life. "During graduate school, which I attended later in life, I set out to take advantage of other people's success and set up informational interviews," said Laackman. These informational interviews helped him learn from professionals about how they got to where they are today, what they think makes them successful, about their daily agendas, and about company culture. "I met with 80 professionals, not because I was there to try to get a job, but to learn about their job and what they do." Having the opportunity to network and learn about others' careers as sophomores in college is incredible, he noted.

Learn more about Champlain College's InSight program and its career-focused professional education

Learn more about keynote speaker Lindsey Pollak

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit