I am one of the newest members of the uConnect team. I’m often asked why I decided to join the company. In order to answer that question it’s important to know three things about me…
- I love a good story.
- My parents are really important to me
- I’m a people person – it’s not just a cliché!
I Love A Good Story
When I first met with David Kozhuk, uConnect’s CEO, I asked him why he started uConnect. He shared his story with me. David was one of those very motivated students who took advantage of career services from almost the start of his college experience. His goal was to land his dream job in investment banking. And that’s what he did. When given the opportunity to help young careerists, he went back to his alma mater, working with the career services team at his school since he knew them well. Together they set up a recruiting event for an opportunity that most students would be thrilled to get a chance at. To say it wasn’t well attended, is an understatement. The director shared that it was difficult to market the great resources and events that were available. It was hard to break through the noise to get the attention of students who were being overloaded with communications, many not even relevant to them. These students were also communicating in different ways than previous generations and career services hadn’t been keeping up. And unlike David, most students were waiting far too late to engage with career services. David, being a pretty inventive guy, said, “I can fix that!” And from there the uConnect, career services marketing platform was built and the first official customer had signed on. David quickly realized that his dream job wasn’t investment banking, it was being an EdTech entrepreneur!
Part of why I joined uConnect was that I was drawn to a product that was born out of a specific need and has the very real potential to make an incredible impact not just for higher institutions but also for the students who are supported through uConnect. In fact, it’s already helping to reshape career services in a very big way.
My Parents Are Really Important to Me
The other reason I joined uConnect can be traced to two very significant people in my life - Mom & Dad! My mother was a dean (at Smith College and Princeton University before that.) and my father was an engineer. Both were important mentors to me as I was deciding on my career path. I took advice from the Educator and the Engineer so it’s no surprise that I decided to focus on EdTech (Educational Technology)! For almost twenty years I have been dedicated to helping bring innovative technologies to the higher ed. community. I love that a technology, developed properly, can actually have an impact on the human experience, and enrich the experience of the student, the educator, and the administrator. I have worked in a wide variety of EdTech companies and even ran my own EdTech company for a number of years. uConnect combines so many of the best qualities of the different companies I’ve been fortunate to be a part of. It is a trailblazer in many of the same ways as WebCT was – the company where I first gained experience with EdTech. Much like WebCT, this company has taken a great idea and evolved it into a great product and also similar to WebCT, the company has already experienced tremendous growth and success by truly partnering with their customers. Which brings me to…
I’m a people person – it’s not just a cliché!
One of the reasons I’ve been focused on post-secondary EdTech for so long is probably the sense of community that is developed in this space. I was lucky enough to get a strong understanding of how important the community is to a company and how important it is to be a part of the community when I was at WebCT. Working alongside our customers at our many User Group events, I recognized what is important to the customer community. I was able to hear first hand how our products influenced their work and how important it was to really get it right. I forged relationships that still remain even though it’s been a long time since we were just customer/company to each other.
I’ve only been at uConnect for a short time, but I see the same dynamic here. It’s a big part of why I joined the company. I’ve already been lucky enough to meet with a number of our customers. And you can feel the community and connection. I was impressed, when I first met with the uConnect team, I was drawn to how passionate and dedicated they were to the success of our customers. Their enthusiasm and commitment aren’t just an act. One of our customers recently shared with me that they feel “uConnect provides the best customer service I’ve experienced. Not just customer service related to my job, customer service with any company I’ve ever dealt with.” Another customer introduced one of my colleagues to her colleagues as, “think of him as part of our team, he’s in this with us.”
So ultimately, why did I join the company? Not only does uConnect bring together all of the elements that I am drawn to, but I believe it’s an exciting time for Higher Ed. Career Services leaders and it’s an exciting time for uConnect. And I wanted to be a part of it! I am thrilled to have joined this innovative, energetic team, dedicated to helping our customers make a difference and reshaping what career services will mean to higher ed.