Developing Diverse Leadership Experiences: An Interview With Michelle Beese

By Nancy Miller and Michelle Beese


Michelle inspires new and experienced career professionals to continue learning and giving back to their profession. She manages travel and works with clients and businesses while taking on leadership roles with increasing responsibility.


How did you find your first leadership opportunity as a career professional?

Michelle: My first leadership opportunity presented itself when I was in my master’s degree program at Sacramento State University. My advisor, Nancy Carlton, had organized a BBQ for the alumni and current students. I ALWAYS knew how important networking was and attending that BBQ is what really got me started on my leadership path. Cindy Ralston was the co-chair for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) that was going to be held in Reno in November of 1998. She was looking for volunteers to help on the conference planning committee. I think I was the only one to sign up! I actually ended up working on the ICDC conference planning committee six times, including co-chairing the Sacramento conference with JoAnn Tennyson in 2007.


It was my association with ICDC where I met Sally Gelardin, and she recruited me to join the California Career Development Association (CCDA) board as the Northern California Public Awareness Representative. As luck would have it, I was then elected President Elect, and of course served as President and Past President. It was during my term as CCDA President that I attended my first National Career Development Association (NCDA) conference in Chicago, and I was HOOKED! I have not missed a conference since then! When I attended the NCDA conference in Denver, once again, they were looking for volunteers! I was recruited to chair the National Career Development (NCD) Month that included coordinating state National Poster & Poetry Contests. I did that for four years, and what a rewarding experience it was!


When I was asked to run for Western Region Trustee it was an amazing honor, and stiff competition too! I have been delighted to serve in this position and work with so many incredible Board members!


Did you have previous leadership experience?

Michelle: Well, I was President of my Brownie troop in the 4th grade. Does that count? I also attended Girl’s State and was class Treasurer my senior year in high school.


What motivated you to want to be a leader?

Michelle: I never really thought of myself as a leader. I was just someone who valued getting involved, so I ended up volunteering a lot. As I think about it now, I realize that I was motivated to contribute and give back to my profession. I also remember something my mother used to say when I was young: “What you give out you get back tenfold, and that goes for the good as well as the bad.” That has certainly been the case in my leadership roles. I have gotten back so much more than I have given, and that is in both my personal and professional life. Over the years I have had four jobs that I feel are directly related to my volunteering and ending up in leadership roles. In addition, the friends I made add incredible richness to my life.


What did you enjoy about being a leader?

Michelle: Sharing my passion and enthusiasm for the field of career development, and I hope, encouraging others to step up to the plate! I just see so much need for people to get involved and help out. There is so much good work to be done, and I know from my CCDA and NCDA experiences that there is a place for everyone. I don’t think you have to run for an office, and I know there is a lot of behind the scene work that needs to be done. I can guarantee you will get much more out of the experience than you put into it.


What skills did you develop as a volunteer leader?

Michelle: Time management, organization, flexibility, motivating and empowering people, decision-making, goal setting, and the opportunity to work on my technology skills! The list goes on and on!


How does the NCDA Leadership Academy prepare career professionals for leadership roles?
Michelle: The Leadership Academy was created in 2006 with the ultimate goal of identifying and nurturing future generations of NCDA leaders. Up to eight NCDA members will be selected to join this hands-on, highly experiential leadership development opportunity designed specifically for promising national and state career development association leaders. NCDA's Leadership Academy will refine and strengthen the leadership skills of those selected for this dynamic program.

Six classes of the Leadership Academy have convened. To find out more about this exciting opportunity, and learn about upcoming leaders in the field of career development, visit the NCDA Leadership Academy web page. See links to view Past, Present, Future Class information. Be sure to read about Class Projects and Class Presentations at the NCDA Conference. Any NCDA member interested in the program should complete an application and send it in by November 1. Complete details and benefits are listed in the application.


When asked to write an article on leadership for NCDA’s Career Convergence web magazine, of course Michelle said “yes.” She has been growing her career for the last thirteen years by saying “yes” to opportunities to share her expertise and give of her time to make a difference in the lives of others.



This article is second in a series of getting to know NCDA members. If you or someone you know has a story to share, contact one of the editors of Career Convergence.




Michelle BeeseMichelle Beese, M.S. is an academic counseling at Folsom Lake Community College. She is a consultant for the Career Development Alliance where she does career coaching/counseling for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). She can be contacted at mbeese@internet49.com .

Nancy MillerNancy Miller, M.S. is a field editor for Career Convergence, a Creativity Coach, and author. You can contact her at clwd@tealpublishing.com, visit her websitewww.tealpublishing.com, follow her on Twitter, Linkedin, and “like” her Facebook page www.facebook.com/tealpublishing.com.

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Akintunde Akinmolayan   on Thursday 10/04/2012 at 02:48 AM

Your interview is apt and inspiring. Thank you for sharing and encouraging...

Merril Simon   on Friday 10/05/2012 at 01:16 PM

Not only is Michelle a strong leader, but she is also a delightful person. I had the opportunity to work with her on ICDC and other CCDA activities over the years.

Thanks to you, Michelle, for stepping up to the leadership plate.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.