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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 always love announcing new VocationVacations mentors.  So it comes with great pleasure to introduce our new TV Script Writer mentor, Mark Kunerth!

You’ve enjoyed Mark’s writing skills if you have ever watched “Friends”, “Roseanne”, “Veronica’s Closet” or Showtime’s hit new show, “The Big C” starring Laura Linney.  In addition to being a successful TV script writer, Mark is simply a super nice guy and is wildly passionate about what he does for a living.  He can’t wait to share with you how he made a career transition from writing press releases for Dairy Queen to moving to Hollywood and becoming a writer.  For real!

Give us a call at 503.720.4282 or sign-up online if you’d like to compare calendars and arrange your career mentorship with Mark.

Cheers!
Brian

Hi Friends!

Disclaimer right up front: I’m a complete CHOCOHOLIC, DOG LOVER and CRAFT BREWING FAN. That being said, let me share a few exciting career transition stories that include three of my favorite things:  chocolate, dogs and beer (not always in that order).

First, I want to share the very recent launch of a new chocolate-making business, The Art of Chocolate. Vocationer alums, Chris and Darcie Farrow, of Monument (between Denver and Colorado Springs), Colorado just opened their doors!  Chris had his VocationVacation career mentorship with our phenomenal mentor, Will Gustwiller, at Eclipse Chocolat in San Diego in May, 2010 and Darcie had her VocationVacation career mentorship with the venerable Jack & Iva Elmer at Jaciva’s in Portland, Oregon in July, 2010.  Well, Chris and Darcie haven’t wasted ANY time in making their dreams a reality and opened The Art of Chocolate just this month.  Congratulations to the Farrows!

Second, I want to share a couple of wonderful articles that recently appeared on AOL.com about two past clients of ours.

Toni Cory went from being a laid-off Motorola employee to a successful businesswoman.  She launched her business, Almost Home Dog Daycare, after her VocationVacation career mentorship under the tutelage of Dawn Walton at Dog Zone Dog Daycare in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Read more about Toni’s complete career change.

And…

Mark Peffers is a grocery store department manager who is in process of becoming a full-time brew master after having his career mentorship with our fantastic mentor, Darren Currier, at The Gilded Otter back in 2008.  Mark is now working part-time as a brew master and is off to the University of California-Davis this upcoming January to study the art and craft of brewing from one of the finest institutions in the United States (the other beer making institution we often recommend to people is the Siebel Institute in Chicago).  Read more about Mark’s career transition.

If Darcie, Chris, Toni and Mark can do it, so can you!

How do YOU plan to take your first step in trying out a new career?

I am a bit of a news wonk.  I love my morning newspaper (I’m old school)….have CNN and ABC News alerts on my iPhone….and check the news throughout the day online or on my phone.

But not this week.  I’m tired of the negative news.  I need a break from it (other than the fact that I just watched Germany blow-out Argentina 4-0 this morning).  It’s not that I am not concerned about what’s happening in the gulf with the oil spill or that I am not sad to hear of more military and civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I am disappointed to hear that the June labor stats were horrible.  So, what am I doing about it?  Realizing that I, Brian Kurth, can’t impact the macro level events in this world.

But what I can do, however, is take some time to appreciate the small things in life.  Yep, I’m literally taking some time this week to turn off the news and stop and smell the roses….and other wild flowers.  Literally.

My brother, sister-in-law and I have a place in the Canadian Rockies that we were lucky enough to buy 10 years ago.  Each summer we block out time for ourselves — to come up and rejuvenate.  I have all of my normal calls with my career transition clients.  I’m also writing a treatment of a possible new TV show.  So I’m busy up here.  This morning I walked down the mountain to the town of Canmore, Alberta as I often do.  I usually try to go as fast as I can to get as much exercise — especially coming up the mountainside.  It’s a GREAT workout.  But this morning I “dilly-dallied” as my Mom used to say.  I stopped to take pictures of the many different types of mountain flowers….to appreciate life….and to be focused.  Here are just a few of the many Canadian Rockies mountain flowers I saw this morning coming back up the mountain with my coffee in hand after watching the World Cup at the Rocky Mountain Bagel shop…

Buried in fear of the economy?  Worried about the oil spill, Afghanistan and Iraq?  How are you going to pay for your kids’ college education if this economy continues?  I hear ya’.  All legit concerns and fears.  And I share some of them with you….but stop and smell the roses with me.  What are YOU doing or going to do to stop and smell the roses?

Hi friends,

I want to send out a quick note to let you know that Aaron Pottichen of the Austin, TX Merrill Lynch office is sponsoring a FREE teleclass this Thursday, June 24.  I will outline the 8 Steps To A Successful Career Change and take questions.

Please join….and feel free to tell your friends.  Here is the call-in information:

Thursday, June 24 — 5PM Eastern / 4PM Central / 3PM Mountain / 2PM Pacific.  It will be 1-hour in length, including Q&A
Conference Call #: 1-866-637-2663
Passcode: 3971883

“See” and hear you this Thursday…

Cheers!
Brian

Brian Kurth
“America’s Dream Job Matchmaker” – CNN
Speaker, Author, TV Contributor and Founder of VocationVacations
Brian Kurth + Company:  www.briankurth.com
VocationVacations:  www.vocationvacations.com

I enjoy inviting people to guest blog from time to time.  It adds an extra bit of content “flavor” to things, I think.  I love to get their thoughts…their take on things related to career transition and reinvention….and I love to be challenged myself a bit.  And that’s just what Martha Wagner did:  She challenged me as you’ll read below.  She adds some real flavor to the blog — both in a literary sense and….a culinary sense!

Introducing Martha Wagner.

Cheers!
Brian

It’s hard for me to imagine Brian Kurth sitting in an office cubicle or even behind a big desk in his former corporate life in Chicago. In a recent chat at one of his favorite Portland coffee shops, he looked relaxed, like an entrepreneur affected by, but not crushed by, the current economic times.

I’d recently read Brian’s book, Test-Drive Your Dream Job: A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love, and found it to be an innovative “how-to” guide to creating your own career mentorship.  But when I went to the VocationVacations website, I thought there were some possible gaps in the list of career test-drive experiences, so I called him and we set up a time to meet. He was happy to listen, but before long he was twisting my arm into writing a guest blog about the gaps I detected in his list of career paths. He said that his blog readers might provide valuable feedback about whether I was onto something.

What expertise do I have? Well, I’ve been following local and national stories about food and farming for 30 years. I am resuming an earlier freelance writing career, now focusing on food and local farming. I devour foodie blogs and newsletters from local and national groups such as Slow Food, Friends of Family Farmers and the Organic Consumers Association. I go to meetings of my county’s Food Policy Council. I’ve been shopping at Portland’s many local farmers markets for years, and more recently have witnessed the sprouting of new home gardens and the arrival of backyard chickens all over the city.

Even though Brian has a number of food-related careers on his VocationVacations list—including baker, brew master, chef, chocolatier, cheese maker, farmer, ice cream maker, restaurateur, winemaker and wine retailer (he’s got a passion for that business)—there are other career paths in food and farming that I think people are eager to explore. Just one example: Camas Davis, a 30-something Portland-based food writer and chef I recently interviewed for a story, wanted to learn about what she calls “the dying art of the butcher shop” and through a friend of a cooking teacher she knows managed to set up a summer internship with a family of farmers and butchers in southwest France. The experience gave her the confidence to start the Portland Meat Collective, a venture in which she and other chefs are teaching a range of butchering skills to restaurant and home cooks.

When the First Family put in an organic kitchen garden at the White House it was one very visible indication of growing interest in farming and in organics. In the Northwest, the number of organic farms growing vegetables, specialty grains and beans, and garden starts is increasing. Farmers markets and natural food stores are selling meat from small farms that are practicing sustainable animal husbandry. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms are providing a way for eaters to connect with farmers and farmers to sell direct to the public. Farmers markets, grocery stores, even food banks and in Portland, the city Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, are sponsoring food-related classes these days focused on topics as diverse as eating economically, canning and preserving, raising backyard chickens and almost-vegetarian cooking.

So where am I heading with all of this and how does it relate to VocationVacations?  As I watch new food and farm related businesses open, I see a need for more VocationVacation mentorship choices across the country—for careers such as butcher, organic and/or CSA farmer, cooking instructor, personal chef and garden designer (vegetable gardens and mixed gardens). In the world of baking, organic, vegan and gluten-free baking are up-and-coming specialties. Food cart businesses—from waffles to tamales to barbecue—are one of the hottest new restaurant trends. I just met a first-time food cart owner in Portland, newly transplanted from Chicago and loving his new livelihood. VocationVacations, I suggest, should make it easier for people like him to test the waters of new careers related to food and farming.

So now I leave it to you, dear readers. Let Brian know if you think he should expand the VocationVacations list. Do you have some ideas of your own for him?

Best!

Martha Wagner

Martha Wagner arrived in Portland in the late 80s, following a circuitous path from the Midwest to Connecticut, England, New Zealand, Northern California and Eugene, Oregon. She has written about food and health, from tofu to walking shoes, for numerous magazines and newspapers. In her “day job” (www.marthawagner.com) she edits and proofreads countless words for colleges, nonprofits and businesses. She lives at a 3.7 acre urban co-housing community where her neighbors include 37 chickens.

Do you love the outdoors?  Flora and fauna sound better than spreadsheets and cubicles?  Then, you may want to consider becoming a Park Ranger like our VocationVacations mentor, Kent Taylor.

In the spirit of Earth Day and “being green” on the job, this TakePart article about Kent and four other government employees who are helping America stay green will be inspirational for you:

http://www.takepart.com/news/2010/04/20/five-government-employees-keeping-america-green

Happy Earth Day!

Brian

Brian Kurth
“America’s Dream Job Matchmaker” – CNN
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brian-Kurth/202325023648?ref=ts
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/briankurth
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/BrianKurth
Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love: www.amazon.com

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