Finding your passion… personally and professionally… this holiday season

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute final way…”

Rev. Joe Lingan, S.J. shares Father Pedro Arrupe’s words to provide a framework for the most recent Georgetown alumnae Women and Wine program held on December 11th at the Reed Residence.

He continues…

“What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.  It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

Father Lingan’s warm smile, welcoming demeanor, and paused thoughts mingled among a group of 60 alumnae – from recent graduates, to women in the middle of their careers and those well into their second career.  The alumnae gathered to reflect on Ignatian spirituality, refocus for a few moments after a busy day and holiday season, and reconnect with old friends and meet some new ones.  This was the fourth program in the Women and Wine Networking series and title “Finding your Passion – Personally and Professionally.”   

As Advent grows closer to Christmas, it’s a perfect time to take a few minutes in between the late-night cookie baking, tree decorating, and present wrapping to stop and pause.   To take a few deep breaths and fill my heart and mind with all the many blessings in my life.  To feel deep joy and gratitude, and ask the questions Father Lingan most graciously gave us…

What am I most passionate about?  Does who I am identify and reveal my passion?  What seizes my imagination? What is it that I most desire?

Guest blogger: Anneliesa Clump Alprin (G’06) is a graduate of the McDonough School of Business, Executive Masters in Leadership program and can be contacted at


For more information about the Women and Wine series and alumni spirituality programming, go to:


Top 7 Tips for Getting Ahead During the Holidays

The holidays are a crazy time of year for everyone. There is lots to do but the overwhelming desire to check out at work until the new year can be overwhelming.  Here is some career advice for the holiday season – whether you are job searching or just looking to get ahead.

1.  End the year with a bang. When everyone else is just passing the time until the holiday, you can take the opportunity to make a big impact in the office.

2.  Holiday parties make for great networking.  Yes, the office holiday party can definitely help you make connections across the organization, but personal holiday parties can also be a great time to network and meet new people.

3.  Send holiday cards.  Holiday cards are a great way to reconnect with former colleagues, business contacts, and old friends.  Keep your network up by staying in touch.

4.  Don’t stall your search.  Most people assume that hiring stops during the holidays so they back off their search.  In some cases, things in your search may slow a bit but don’t let that stop you!  Make yourself stand out by continuing to pursue opportunities.

5. Make some new years career resolutions.  What are a few things you want to change or do differently at work next year?  Do you want to be more organized? Start a new initiative? Improve your customer service skills? Studies show writing down your resolutions make them more likely to happen.

6. Put on your 0ut-of-office.  People won’t expect an immediate response if you have your out-of-office notification on your phone and email.  You can also include any important year end information.

7. Rejuvenate. Take time to relax and enjoy your time with family and friends. Life is a marathon not a sprint -use the holiday to recharge so you can get back to work ready to take on 2014.

Happy holidays, Hoyas! We look forward to hearing from you in 2014! 

Photo source:

The Office Holiday Party

Office holiday parties… they are either much anticipated or much dreaded depending on your office and your personality. Here are a few tips for your upcoming festivities:

1. Don’t drink too much.   While you definitely want to have fun and relax at a holiday party, don’t be “that guy.”  Especially in a world of smart phones where your drunken antics can live on in perpetuity.

2. Be prepared to talk to the CEO.  Office parties can break down barriers to speaking to upper level management. If you chat with the CEO or VP what are some highlights of your work that you want them to know about but are still “light enough” for a holiday party?  In other words, toast to a success but don’t bring up a meaty issue.

3. Stay a while.  Networking is important even within the workplace.  And being social is part of that. If you can stay for a while and/or continue the celebration with colleagues, take advantage of the opportunity to get to know people – and having them get to know you – outside of the office. It can make work in the office that much easier.

4. Introvert? Find a buddy.  Office parties are a recipe for a migraine for some introverts.  Make the best of it by dividing the party into smaller one-on-one or small group conversations.  Bring advil.  Take a few restroom breaks. Find a fellow introvert and navigate the party together.

5. Know the culture.   Is your office party an ugly sweater or black tie affair?  Do you work at a young start up or traditional law firm?  The culture can dictate the culture of the party. If it’s your first holiday party at that company get the scoop on last year.

6. No heavy conversation. No one wants to make important decisions or discuss heavy topics after a few cocktails.  And chances are, even if they do they won’t remember the next day. Some work convos are fine but keep it on the lighter side.

7. Say thank you.  Holiday parties take time and money. Say thank you to whoever planned it and say thank you to whoever allows it to happen.

8. Choose your outfit wisely.  A little festive sparkle can’t hurt (perhaps some jingle bell earrings or musical tie) but see #5.  Ask around to see what’s appropriate.

photo credit:

Asking for Recommendations and References: How to Not Annoy People

Asking for recommendations, letters of reference, or listing someone on as a reference in your job search can be awkward. Whatever type, your first step is  not asking whether that person will write (or provide) you a strong recommendation, it is asking if they are comfortable writing/providing a STRONG recommendation.  A luke-warm recommendation is the last thing you want!

In terms of written letters of recommendation, graduate programs may ask if they are “sealed.” In other words, if you are aware of the letter’s contents.  If this is an option, take it.  The program/school will most likely weigh the letter more heavily if it’s confidential and most recommendation writers will provide you a copy anyway.  In most cases, you will not need “sealed” letters and you will receive the letter directly and see it’s contents allowing you to assess the strength of their case.

Here are some tips for navigating the world of recommendation request and reference lists:

1.  Communicate.  Give them all the details they need to make their life easier – and put it all in one place. You may even want to set up a 15 minute meeting or call to go over your request.

  • What type of recommendation or reference (grad school, promotion, award nomination, job search, etc.) are you asking for?
  • What are the parameters (how long, what format, how and when should it be submitted)?
  • If you are asking to list them as a reference for an employer tell them a bit about the employer and the position to which you are applying. Also ask the contact information that is best to list.

2.  Give enough notice.  There is nothing more annoying than a last minute request for a letter of reference. Provide at least 2-4 weeks lead time to the author to ensure they have enough time to write you a strong recommendation. [Note: professors who are asked to write multiple letters every year may need even more lead time.] If listing someone as a reference definitely give them a heads up BEFORE they get a call from a potential employer.

3.  Provide context. Give them the whole story so they can talk about you from multiple perspectives.

  • What type of organization/company/school are you applying to and why? For example, let them know what type of graduate program you are applying to and why that particular program so they can incorporate that into their letter.  If you are applying for a volunteer or board position or award, give them the background on your qualifications and the organization’s mission.
  • What aspects of your personal/professional background are you hoping they can focus on?
  • Provide any corresponding documents (personal statement, resume, cover letter, etc).

4.  Make them diverse.  Think about who will resonate most with that employer/organization. Do you know anyone who currently works there or who has worked there in the past?  Do you “know someone who knows someone” in a significant role at that organization?  Whether you are providing a list of references or packet of recommendations, be sure to include a variety of perspectives.  Employers will definitely want to speak with someone who has managed you directly. If that is your current manager that is great, but that isn’t always possible.  Graduate school programs will most likely want to hear from a former professor.  Professors, colleagues, managers, mentors, and advocates are all potential references.

5.  Say thank you.  The only thing more annoying than not enough notice is not being thanked for writing a letter.   A handwritten note is always a nice touch (or homemade cookies!).

6.  Keep in touch.   Let them know the outcome!  They are now invested in your search.

7.  Ask more people than you need.  You never know if something will come up and one of your references/recommendations will not come through by the deadline.  Having an extra also allows you the luxury of picking the best of the bunch.

We want to know: do you write recommendations and have tips to add to the list?