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Santa Maria Rotarians Share Career Paths with Pioneer Valley High School Students

Members of the Rotary Club of Santa Maria Noontime recently participated in the Segue Program at Pioneer Valley High School.

The Segue Program’s mission is to empower, inspire and motivate students to explore, choose and act on their life’s path. As speakers with different backgrounds and different career paths tell their story, the students may see the possibilities for themselves and be motivated them to begin their own path to a career as well.

The Rotarians who participated have varied careers and backgrounds.

Elena Romero is the major gifts officer for the Marian Foundation at Dignity Health. She told the students about choosing community college for general education courses before transferring to a university for her undergraduate coursework.

“It’s so important to be a positive role model for kids," Romero said. "If taking a little time out to share my experience might impact one youth then it is a good thing!”

She shared about the importance of being attentive to detail, a positive attitude and earning respect from others.

Andrew Millar spoke to the students about being flexible in their career choices and developing skill sets in several areas in order to have choices. He has a Ph.D. in psychology and practiced for 20 years before changing to financial services with Edward Jones. His training as a psychologist included abilities in research, math, writing and understanding interpersonal interactions, which all have translated well to his financial services career.

Lisa Long is the utilities business manager for the City of Santa Maria. She shared her unconventional career path and encouraged the students not to do what she did. After getting pregnant just before her senior year in high school she didn’t go to college until many years later.

Her message to the students included three important things to remember: 1. Don’t give up no matter what. 2. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. 3. No matter what job you have your job description is always the same.

"Make them think they can’t live without you!" Long said. “I felt it was important to let the students know that even if things don’t go the way you think they will, you can always land on your feet if you are persistent and have a goal. Nothing is impossible; some things just take a bit more time and effort.”

Other Noontime Rotarians participating were Riley Parker (Parker & Associates, private investigation), Jane Parker (Parker & Associates, pre-employment profiles), Rick Haydon (city manager) and Jim Talbott (SMOOTH Transportation).

Vocational Services is one of the areas of focus for Rotary, whose motto is “Service Above Self.” The Rotary Club of Santa Maria was founded in 1922, and meets each Tuesday at noon at the Santa Maria Inn. Click here for more information.

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