Valerie Agosta


It is with great pleasure that I announce the winner of the 2010 Val Agosta VocationVacation Scholarship — Robi Malone of Simpsonville, South Carolina!

Everyone at VocationVacations has a special place in our hearts for our private investigator mentor, Val Agosta, of Boise, Idaho.  She lost her battle to breast cancer in March of 2009.  However, her spirit for living, her sense of humor and her laugh live on in our minds.  And, most especially today since December 15 is her birthday.

Choosing the scholarship winner was once again not an easy decision for Val’s family this year as we had so many entrants whose short essays exemplified Val’s essence and zest for life.  But, after much discussion and deliberation, Robi Malone was their choice.  Robi’s essay detailed how she put her life and goals on hold for many years in order to raise a family, including a son with a disability.  Once the diapers were changed, the soccer games attended and the kids were all in school, she went back to school herself and received her GED.  But Robi didn’t stop there.  She received her bachelors degree from Wright State in Dayton, Ohio.

Along the way Robi also pursued her love of photography.  But Robi feels it’s time to take things to the next level: she wants to start her own photography business — and she wants a portion of her work to be charitable, pro bono photography for families who are going to lose a loved one due to a terminal illness.  More on Robi’s plans and which Photographer VocationVacation she will take in 2011 in the January VocationVacations newsletter (if you’re not signed up, please do so on our homepage).

Please join me in congratulating Robi!

And thanks to the hundreds of folks who submitted their applications.  Don’t give up — please apply again in 2012.

Happy Holidays To All,
Brian

I have been asked by more and more people which books and resources I recommend to my clients to compliment their career consultations and/or their one-one-one career mentorship VocationVacation experience(s).

Here is my down-and-dirty list before heading out for the weekend with the Wadester.  We are driving to a favorite place of ours — the eastern Columbia River Gorge for the opening season weekend at Maryhill Museum (check out the passion turned vocation by its founder, Sam Hill!).  But, as usual, my A.D.D. and I digress about the weekend….so here’s my list:

Hot Off The Press Suggestions:

My pal Randi Bussin just wrote a couple of great pieces that you may find on Job-Hunt.org:

5 Steps To Starting Your Career Reinvention

and

5 Steps  to Implementing Your Successful Career Reinvention

Here are two books that haven’t been released yet but I think you should add to your must-read list:

1.  What’s Next? by U.S. News & World Report contributing editor, Kerry Hannon.  This is a wonderful resource book full of advice and honest encouragement from people who have garnered up the courage to make career changes and reinvent themselves.  Kerry’s book comes out in June.  Mark your calendars!

2.  SpyMom by Valerie Agosta.  This is a true story about how Val’s passion, curiosity and need to “give back” led her from being a regular ol’ soccer mom of three kids to becoming a private investigator with a focus on clients who were women and children in need.  Val also writes about her ten-year battle with cancer along her journey of becoming a P.I.  This book is heart-warming and full of inspiration.  If you are questioning if you can really make a career transition, read this book.  Val tragically lost her battle with cancer in March, 2009 but she more than won the battle of making a career transition.  We miss her dearly as a VocationVacations mentor.  We look forward to granting the second annual Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarhip this December.  Submissions will be accepted in early April on the VocationVacations website so please stay tuned for that and pick up a copy of SpyMom as of April 1.

I’ve also been asked what my favorite resume-writing book is.  That’s tough.  To be honest, I HATE writing resumes.  I really do.  So I don’t do them.  I like to focus on my strengths and writing resumes is not one of them.  Don’t get me wrong, resumes (as well as LinkedIn profiles and summaries) are important for clients.  So instead, I partner with two amazing resume writers, Miriam Salpeter, of Keppie Careers and Julie Ghatan.  I asked Miriam what her favorite “how-to” resume-writing book is.  She immediately responded with the recommendation of Resume Magic by Susan Britton Whitcomb.

My Tried and True Suggested Career Transition Books Are:

Do YOU have a favorite career transition book or resource?  Please share!

Cheers,
Brian

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I spend a lot of time touting the importance of loving what you do for a living and creating a mutually satisfying work/life balance.  I encourage people to live for the moment and the future.  When I give speeches across the country, I often find myself referencing the cliché, “Life is no dress rehearsal”.  And it isn’t.

Our Boise VocationVacations Private Investigator mentor, Valerie Agosta, (Hanady Investigations and the Spy Moms) exemplified living life to its fullest — with zest, a sense of humor and always a big smile.  After a ten-year battle with breast cancer, Valerie died last March.  In her honor we have created the Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship.  (See details below)

If you or someone you know would like to explore taking the first step toward a career and life transition by taking a VocationVacation, please submit the application below.  The scholarship winner will receive their VocationVacation of choice and airfare to the location of the VocationVacation. The last day to submit an application is Friday, December 4. We will be announcing the scholarship winner on what would have been Valerie’s 57th birthday, December 15.

When Val came on board as a VocationVacations mentor in 2005, she shared with us she was in remission.  There was no doubt in our minds Val would be able to beat it.  Then a few years later we received the call – it was back.  Valerie did not let this deter her from her commitment to be a mentor. She continued to welcome vocationers, eager to share her experience and expertise.  She told us she would let us know if she ever thought she was not up to giving her usual 100%.  Again, we never really thought that day would come.  Val would beat the C-word.  We knew it.

But then I got the call in early-January of this year.  Val had a vocationer scheduled for late January.  She felt she was becoming too weak to effectively mentor and provide the quality experience she had always given her vocationers.  Even as she was preparing to head to Seattle for more aggressive treatment, Val took the time to find a solution.  She suggested her VocationVacation mentorship duties be transferred to her private investigating colleagues at Access Investigations, also in Boise.  Even as she was in her last weeks of life, Val remained on top of everything and had it all worked out.

Val died on March 14, 2009.  VocationVacations’ Melissa Townsend and I traveled to Boise for her memorial.  It was not a surprise the church was standing room only, and  there was as much laughter as there were tears.

Val, we miss you tremendously.  But wherever you are, your spirit of life, passion and reinvention goes on with the Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship.   Thank you for being you and for sharing several years of your life with the VocationVacations team and our vocationers.

The Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship

The Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacation Scholarship offers the opportunity to choose from more than 175 different VocationVacations career mentorships and the chance to spend a couple of days experiencing the real-life responsibilities, challenges and rewards of that profession. The chosen individual will also have the opportunity for both a pre- and post-coaching session with an accredited, affiliated VocationVacation career coach.

In addition, airfare, up to $500, will be arranged for the scholarship winner.

Submit Your Application For The Valerie Agosta “Live Your Best Life” VocationVacations Scholarship Here