Friday, January 18, 2013

The story of an Oregon-to-Arizona Transplant

By Brandon Porter '09 

Upon my graduation from Pacific in December of 2009, I embarked on a life-changing journey down to the Desert Southwest, more specifically, Flagstaff, Arizona.  Having never been to this outdoorsy mountain town, I didn’t know what to expect.  I was greeted by a monsoon my first day in town, followed by a winter that included snow measured in feet per week.  Putting it lightly, this was a novel experience for this Oregonian.

However, I have adjusted well and am glad that my journey at Pacific led me to where I am today.  I received me Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pacific, and I am the perfect example of how the well-rounded education I received as an undergrad has allowed me to thrive in a very different field than the one I studied for.  

I am currently the Assistant Coach for the Northern Arizona University Women’s Soccer team (Division I Big Sky), as well the Public Relations and Marketing Manager for a local non-profit organization.  Degree and profession sound somewhat unrelated?  You would be correct.  But the variety of knowledge that I gained at Pacific allowed me to be a quick learner, organized, and accountable.  Which I believe are traits more valuable than being trained for a specific career path, and things for which I am grateful that Pacific developed in me.

I am glad that I was offered the opportunity to submit something for the blog.  It is nice to feel connected to my college years.  I plan on visiting very soon, and hope to drop in on The PAC (now the Stoller Center), swing by and see Vicki McGee and Andrea Stewart, my former coach, Jim Brazeau, and meet any new staff in the the athletic department.  I hope Heide Island is slowly taking over the world in the Psychology Department, one cleverly delivered (albeit sometimes inappropriate) joke at a time.  And I want to make sure that Pacific knows how much its alumni care about its future.

I now reside in Flagstaff as an Arizona resident with my dog, FIFA, and have gotten used to the lack of water, the high elevation (7,000 feet above sea level, wheez...), and pumping my own gas (sigh).

I know there have been lots of changes to Pacific University, but this Oregon-to-Arizona transplant is proud of where I came from, and I am hopeful for the future of my alma mater.  GO BOXERS!

Porter '09 was a psychology major at Pacific University as an undergraduate and also a member of the men's soccer team for four years. He works for the Northland Hospice and Palliative Care along with being a soccer coach. 

Friday, January 04, 2013

Asking the Right Questions

By Jocelyn Rattray Godfrey '95 

During one of my last lectures at Pacific, my professor said something that still resonates 17 years later:

"We have not given you the answers; we have taught you how to ask the questions. Now go out there and ask them…”

Fast forward to my current role as owner of a branding firm. I attend conferences across the country with resoundingly similar themes focused on change… in administration, healthcare, and the economy. 

Seventeen years is too long for things to stay the same, and they haven’t. Since leaving the land of Marsh Hall, change has become the norm. Besides traveling abroad, taking up soccer and scuba diving, and meeting my two daughters—I’ve acquired more “jobs” than I can count. I use “jobs” loosely because I’ve owned my own company since 1997. 

Two years post graduation, while working for an ad agency, my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arrived—I was asked to lead the advertising for a national fitness magazine. To do so, I had to start own company. At age 23, in an era before cell phones were as naturalized as fingernails, I equipped my home office and became my own boss.

As expected, company ownership has been utterly scary and utterly exhilarating. I’ve since worked with more national magazines, an international billionaire philanthropist, a Duke doctor, multiple publishers, even more speakers/authors/consultants, and many organizations. In one role, I interviewed Dr. Maya Angelou, Coach Tony Dungy, NBC’s “Apprentice” winner Bill Rancic, Olympic gold medalist Kristen Armstrong, and founder of Dilbert Scott Adams. Once or twice, I was a tad star struck (hearing Maya Angelou say, “Good morning, Jocelyn,” in her beautifully velvet voice just about knocked me out!).

Along the way, I’ve had to adapt to new marketing trends, technology, and life events. I’ve learned to value the following three survival skills through it all: 

1)Be resilient. What you do today won’t likely mimic what you’ll do in five years. Stare fear in the face, celebrate change, and use it to innovate—mindfully creating the life you want while embracing the adventure. I asked Maya Angelou how to overcome fear, and she said, “Look what you’ve overcome already. And some of the things no one ever knows but you.”

2)Be realistic. You won’t likely become accidentally famous, wealthy, or able to sing. Your business won’t likely take off while you sleep. But that’s okay. If you plan ahead, hustle, and take cover from time to time, you will survive and likely thrive.

3)Be relationship-minded. I still correspond with friends from kindergarten. If greatness surrounds me, it is in the people who support me. I try to enter new relationships less concerned about what I will gain than what I can give; everything usually works itself out in phenomenal ways when I invest in relationships first.

On that note, last year I partnered in business with my husband, Scott Carbonara, speaker, consultant, and author of the new book, A Manager’s Guide to Employee Engagement. He brings 25 years of executive leadership experience, and together we love the role of helping organizations—ranging from one-man shops to global companies. 

Pacific didn’t deliver me the answers. More importantly, it implanted the curiosity, drive, and confidence to ask the right questions. (Thank you!)

Godfrey ’95 is the owner of Spiritus Communications, Inc., see, a branding firm offering speaking, training, and organizational consulting in areas of employee engagement, culture, change management, performance, leadership, and more. She also manages a marketing and publishing division of her company—advising authors, speakers, and thought leaders, and editing their books.