About Conversations on Careers and Professional Life

On each episode, I speak with guests about topics related to the job searches, professional development, public speaking, resilience and mindfulness. Guests include current MBA candidates and past students, faculty and staff, and outside experts.


Listen Now!

Find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify.

Recent Episodes

Adam Schmidt Talks About His Career Pivot

This episode features part two of my conversation with Adam Schmidt, Foster MBA class of 2020 and Liaison to Career Management for the MBAA. We recorded this episode in the early winter of 2020 before the Coronavirus Pandemic upended in-person education and career search activities. In this second part, Adam and I talk about how he executed his career pivot from one focused on primary education, first as a teacher and then staff member at Teach For America, then working to build a school management organization to an internship with HP and a full time role in strategy consulting after graduation.

Adam highlighted some of the considerations that students need to make when they are creating their career plan, especially if they intend to pivot careers.  From considering whether to pivot function or industry first, to the value of getting a name-brand on your resume.

Links/Resources from the episode:

Check out this episode!

Adam Schmidt on Credibility

On this episode Adam Schmidt (Foster MBA 2020) talks about the importance of credibility as an MBA candidate. He breaks it down with 5 stakeholder groups: fellow students, faculty & staff, alumni and employers. We recorded this episode in the early winter of 2020 before the Coronavirus Pandemic upended in-person education and career search activities, but I believe that his advice about credibility is even more important during this period of social distancing and remote meetings. In this first part, Adam shares the message of a presentation he made to the incoming MBA class of 2021 about the importance of building credibility. This is Part 1 of 2. In the second episode, Adam talks about his career pivot.

Check out this episode!

Author Nikki Pava On Her Book, Green Wisdom and Career in Sustainability

On this episode, I speak with author, speaker, consultant and friend, Nikki Pava. Nikki and I met through a mutual friend many years ago and worked together on EcoTuesday, which you will hear about in the interview. We talk about her career experiences, MBA and book, Green Wisdom: A Guide for Anyone to Start, Engage and Energize a Sustainability Team which profiles initiatives at a variety of companies. Nikki founded AlegriaPartners to help businesses engage employees around sustainability.

The central message I took away from my conversation with Nikki is that anyone who is motivated can help make a difference in their company. If you are passionate about conservation and the environment and that is not part of your job description, you can work together with others in your organization to start, run or expand sustainability activities.

Books and other references:

Prof. Ryan Fehr on Gratitude and Appreciation

Ryan Fehr‘s work focuses on building more positive organizations – organizations that leverage things like gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness to make work more fulfilling and enjoyable. In this conversation we talk about his research into gratitude, how and why you might want to work to increase your gratitude through interventions like journaling, the gratitude letter and acts of appreciation. We also talk about the relationship between gratitude and stress and gratitude and mindfulness.

Ryan also introduced me to the idea of designing a gratitude “boot camp” which comes from a leading researcher on the subject, Robert Emmons.  Both Ryan and I talked about keeping Thank You notes we’ve received as well as emails in place where they can be easily referenced when you need a little pick-me-up. The episode is full of great ideas for boosting your own gratitude and introducing more gratitude into your organization.

A great resource to learn more about gratitude is Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley. Their website provides detailed instructions for many of the practices Ryan and I discussed like the gratitude letter and gratitude journaling. You can learn more on their website or podcast, The Science of Happiness.


MBArk2Boulder and MBArk at Expo West

On this episode, I speak with Class of 2019 MBA candidates Austin Morton and Alli Green about their experiences at MBArk2Boulder (Jan 2019) and MBArk at Expo West in 2018.

MBA candidates can apply now for the MBArk core program at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim (March 5-7) at https://MBArk.com.  Also see details, attached.

Students can apply online anytime until January 26 (priority deadline) or February 5 (final deadline). 

Joel Graves and Dan Charbonneau (Evening MBA 2019) on How They Used MBA Career Management to Support Their Pivot

A short episode featuring a conversation with two Evening MBA 2019 Alumni about how they leveraged the resources of MBA Career Management at the Foster School of Business to make pivots in their careers.

Check out this episode!

Prof. Andy Hafenbrack on Mindfulness, Stress, Self-Compassion

On this episode I speak with Prof. Andy Hafenbrack about his research on mindfulness and his own experience with mindfulness practice. We also talk about stress, rumination, self-compassion and other related topics. Andy’s research has found that contrary to conventional wisdom, single instances of mindfulness practice do not necessarily increase motivation or improve performance. In his study, subjects actually experienced decrease motivation to perform certain mundane tasks. We unpack this a little bit. Andy’s research has found that mindfulness can improve pro-social behavior and have a positive impact on decision making by reducing the sunk cost bias.

Andy stressed during out conversation that no one should feel guilty for not meditating and that even a single 8 to 15 minute mindfulness session can have positive effects.

Resources (some mentioned on the show):

Podcasts: 10% Happier, Making Sense with Sam Harris 

Apps: Calm, Headspace, Ten Percent Happier, and Waking Up all end up requiring a subscription fee after a few free sessions. Insight Timer has thousands of free meditations. Oak and Healthy Minds appear to be completely free at this time.

The University Of Washington offers a variety of mental health services to current students. Learn more

Joel Graves and Dan Charbonneau Talk About the ACG Cup

A conversation with Foster School of Business, Evening MBA Class of 2019 graduates Joel Graves and Dan Charbonneau about their experience competing in — and winning — the 2019 ACG Cup Case Competition. Learn more about the ACG Cup at http://www.acgcupnw.org.

Check out this episode!

Elaine Newtson and I Discuss Behavioral Interviewing

Foster MBA Career Coach Elaine Newtson and I have a quick discussion about strategic approaches to crafting behavior interview answers.

Check out this episode!

Rob Cottingham on Communication Skills, Speeches and Speaking

A conversation with speechwriter, coach and communication expert, Rob Cottingham.

Gregory Heller

Gregory Heller

Meet The Host

I’m the Senior Associate Director of MBA Career Management at the Foster School of Business at the University Of Washington and a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. I work with MBA candidates to achieve their career objectives through one-on-one coaching, and trainings on presentation skills, public speaking, and executive presence. 

Get In Touch

Have a question or comment about the show? I’d love to hear from you. Use the form to send me a message!

New Episodes Periodically

I publish new episodes approximately
twice a month



Stay Connected to Get The Latest Podcast Alerts