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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Holmes-Leopold to serve as new director of the Career Center

<ember 3, 2018, RJ Holmes-Leopold was announced as the new Director of the Carleton Career Center. Holmes-Leopold previously served as senior director of Alumni Engagement and Leadership Annual Giving at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. His predecessor at Carleton, Kim Betz ‘91, left the Carleton Career Center over the summer to serve as Director of Career Services at Princeton University.

Holmes-Leopold’s familiarity with Carleton stemmed from Cornell College’s affiliation with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.
“Getting to know the students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni in the recent past has me even more excited to contribute to the evolution of the Career Center. The Career Center has a wonderful foundation in place and our team is committed to the success of each and every student,” said Holmes-Leopold.

As a liberal arts college graduate, Holmes-Leopold strongly believes the liberal arts is the best preparation for lifelong success. His vision goes hand in hand with Carleton’s firm emphasis on a liberal arts curriculum that enriches learning and equips students with valuable life skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and flexibility. This was a key factor in his decision to accept the new position.

“My role is to connect Carls with a wide variety of career education opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success,” explained Holmes-Leopold.

He elaborated, “My main priorities are to prepare all Carls with the foundational professional skills they need to adapt to a rapidly changing world, deepen our partnerships across the campus to connect the liberal arts to career preparation, and to expand the range of opportunities we offer.”

During his time at Cornell College, Holmes-Leopold worked with key partners on a new strategic plan for increasing alumni engagement. He intends to bring this focus on alumni to his position at Carleton, with “alumni as a key priority for ensuring the continued evolution of the Career Center.” In other words, alumni connections enhance the college’s networking system that enable students to explore various career paths and make the most of their opportunities.

Regarding tips or advice for young adults deciding on their career path and life after Carleton, Holmes-Leopold highlighted an important distinction. “Instead of thinking about ‘What do you want to be?,’ consider instead ‘Who do you want to be?’ and ‘How do you want to spend your time,’” he suggested.

Since these questions require time to answer, Holmes-Leopold said, “One of the best investments students can make early in their time at the college is to meet with one of our team members so we can help them get started or support their purposeful movement in the ongoing process of career discernment.”

Looking back now, Holmes-Leopold would have advised his 20- or 21-year-old self to step back and enjoy the learning process. It is all right if you do not have a clear goal or agenda, he said.

In fact, according to Holmes-Leopold, “Ambiguity and cognitive dissonance are important parts of the process of figuring out who you are becoming personally and professionally throughout your life. Your liberal arts education has prepared you to tackle the challenges ahead in ways you don’t understand yet, but will when the time comes.”

Holmes-Leopold looks forward to seeing new faces on campus and working alongside other Career Center staff in continuing to develop and strengthen the Career Center.

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