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MHSCN + Creatis job transition panel and networking event

03/22/2018 11:32 AM | Deleted user
Kathy Hollenhorst moderates discussion with panel of experts.

Stand out in the job search, even when you're not looking

MHSCN teamed up with Creatis to host a great networking and educational event at the beautiful Creatis headquarters on March 20th.

An expert panel provided great insights and answered questions related to career transitions and building your professional network. The panel also addressed key concepts related to job seeking, interviewing skills, how to stand out in the crowd, and much more.  

McKaela Baldus answers question while other panelists listen.Our panelists included:

  • Michele Vig, Founder and Chief Organizer of Neat Little Nest (previously President of Caribou Coffee)
  • Maureen O’Malley Rehfuss, President and Owner of Career Partners International Twin Cities
  • McKaela Baldus, Managing Director of Staffing, Creatis, Inc.
  • Dan Ness, Founder & Owner of Ness Communications (previously Marketing Director at UCare)

The session was moderated by Kathy Hollenhorst, President and CEO of Creatis.

Panel discussion synopsis

Below is a synopsis of the panel discussion.

What are the key concepts that have contributed to your success?

Maureen Rehfuss: Working hard, and stepping up to take on new challenges that allowed me to grow, hone my skills, and build confidence. It’s also about being visible and recognized as a leader within and outside of your organization.

Michele Vig: My three keys are being focused on the work that I’m doing, bringing passion to my job, and perseverance in getting tasks accomplished – no matter how difficult.

Dan Ness: I’ve found curiosity to be a key element of my success. Also being able to listen and taking the time to understand processes I’m involved with.

McKaela Baldus: It’s important to be authentic and relatable. People run into challenges when they try to be something they’re not. 

What sets some candidates apart from others?

McKaela Baldus: Candidates that can clearly identify why they are interested in the position and are passionate about the opportunity stand out. Given two candidates of equal ability, I’ll always go with the candidate that demonstrates their interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity.

Maureen Rehfuss: Make yourself relevant. Demonstrate how you can make a difference and what you can do for the organization to help them achieve their goals. Focus on the organization’s needs and not your own. Focus on personal branding and identify your top three accomplishments and what they meant to the organization you were working for. Bring that difference to life by showing past results and metrics.

Dan Ness: Emotional intelligence and situational abilities. In interviews, I ask candidates to identify what others would say about them to get a feel for how they have related to others in past employment situations.

Michele Vig: When in transition, remember what makes you great, why you believe in yourself, and what makes you amazing. Demonstrate that in the interview.   

What is the biggest mistake you have seen people make in managing their careers?

Michele Vig: Don’t get locked into one career or industry. Broaden your experience, especially at a young age. It gets more difficult to change industries the deeper you get into your career or when trying to attain a higher level position.  

Dan Ness: Don’t be afraid to fail. Follow your passions and do what you want to do. 

Maureen Rehfuss: Be real about who you are and what you want. Some jobs are not a good fit and typically end poorly. Be authentic and create a vision of what you want for yourself in a job and career.

McKaela Baldus: The biggest failing I see is not leaving a job with grace. Don’t burn bridges. Leave an organization in the appropriate manner. The Twin Cities is a pretty small marketing community, and a poor exit can follow you for a long time and impact your future opportunities.

What are your top interview tips?

McKaela Baldus: Do your research to understand who will be interviewing you and their background. Find areas and past experiences where you can relate to your interviewer in a meaningful way. Have relevant questions ready that will help you determine if you would accept an offer if one was made.

Maureen Rehfuss: Dress appropriately, and turn off your cell phone for in-person interviews. Practice answers to anticipated interview questions in front of a mirror so you can visually see how you are responding. Work on your presence and confidence as you practice your responses. 

If you are participating in a phone interview, walk around as you are on the call to be more energetic. Smile on phone interviews. It will come through in your voice and inflection and energy. Conduct phone interviews in quiet spaces where you won’t be interrupted, especially by barking dogs. 

Michele Vig: Be sure to communicate the unique reason they should hire you. Communicate the three top accomplishments in your career and be sure to communicate the results!

Closing thoughts?

McKaela Baldus: Don’t be afraid to express your true interest in a job.  Eagerness will go a long way.

Maureen Rehfuss: Stay relevant and understand what new technology is emerging and what it can offer in the marketplace.

Michele Vig: Be kind to yourself in transition.  It’s hard, and sometimes you need to treat yourself with a little tenderness.

Dan Ness: Network, and be direct about why you want to connect with someone. People like to respond and help if they can. Actively look for new people to network with outside of your typical circle.

Book recommendations

Panelists recommended these books:

Thank you

A special thank you goes to Anna and Gardens of Salonica in NE Minneapolis for the delicious food!

We also thank Creatis for hosting this event with us.

creatis logo


  • 03/23/2018 3:33 PM | Deleted user
    Thanks, Paul, for a comprehensive summary of this wonderful event! It was great to see so many people take advantage of this opportunity to learn and network. And special thanks to board members Martha Parsons, Ryan Davenport and Erika Peterson for their efforts to pull this together!
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