We All Start Somewhere…

Posted: August 10th, 2016

None of us start from exactly the same place. In the realm of equity, no matter which race or socio-economic class one may be a product of, we all took different paths to reach THIS point in our lives. This hashtag on Twitter, #firstsevenjobs  is a reminder to us all that all paths are unique – and that we all started somewhere (which may not necessarily have anything to do with where we are today). With the concept of “traditional” workers evolving, we must be vocal about the realities of career success. It’s important and fun to reflect on our paths, how they evolved with each job, and how each job brought us closer to another opportunity. The more we shed light on our first seven jobs, the more we realize that these early jobs shaped who we are today. Those first jobs taught us lessons and imparted skills on us that helped guide us to our next position. So let us take a moment and be grateful for our start. We took a walk down memory lane with our first seven jobs, and share those with you below:

Tina McCoy Hearn | Current Job Title: Program Director, ACT Center for Equity in Learning

Tina McCoy Hearn

  1. Dishwasher (Bill Zuber’s Restaurant – he was a small town Iowa boy who made it big as a Yankees’ pitcher)
  2. Maid (Iowa City/Coralville area hotels)
  3. Store clerk (retail)
  4. VA medical records office support
  5. Legal secretary
  6. Convenience store worker
  7. Law school journal admin assistant

Christina Gordon | Current Job Title: Senior Director, Strategy and Programs, ACT FoundationChristina Gordon

  1. Babysitter
  2. Sales associate (retail)
  3. Phone bank
  4. Warehouse packer
  5. Historical tour guide (in character!)
  6. Office assistant
  7. Seventh grade teacher

Lew Montgomery | Current Job Title: Director or Community Engagement, ACT Center for Equity in Learning Lew Montgomery

  1. Paper Carrier  – Waterloo Courier
  2. Cook/Associate/Delivery –  Pizza Hut
  3. Detassled Corn – Eastern Iowa Seed Company
  4. Summer Camp Sports Counselor – U of Iowa
  5. Advertising Creative Associate – Intern – 3 Arts Advertising
  6. NFL Player – Detroit Lions
  7. Community Outreach Diversity Coordinator – U of Iowa

Melissa Corrigan | Current Job Title: Vice President, Social Impact Strategy and Programs, ACT Center for Equity in Learning

  1. Babysitter
  2. Sales associate (retail)
  3. Nursing home cafeteria aide
  4. Seasonal retail during college breaks – gift wrapping; and Terry the Talking Christmas Tree and Easter Bunny
  5. Office assistant and receptionist
  6. Walgreens pharmacist
  7. Association leader

Justine Zimmer | Current Job Title: Manager, Strategy and Programs, ACT FoundationJustine Zimmer

  1. Book Back – Used Book Shelver – $1 per hour in the 8th grade (retail) – mom made me do it to keep me out of trouble J
  2. Popeye’s Fried Chicken – fast food server (retail)
  3. Summer Camp Staff – taught white water canoeing
  4. JC’s Café – waitress and cook (retail)
  5. Art Gallery – sales (retail)
  6. Graduate student teacher – metalsmithing
  7. Small Business owner – Art Gallery/ studio/ tradeshows   (retail)

Jim Larimore | Current Job Title: Chief Officer, ACT Center for Equity in Learning

  1. House painter
  2. Dishwasher
  3. Delivery driver (4 a.m. start time – age 16)
  4. Gas station attendant & basic car repair/mechanic
  5. Factory worker: packaging
  6. Dorm Resident Assistant
  7. Federal Emergency Management Agency-disaster assistance

Lori Swartzendruber | Current Job Title: Operations Administrator II, ACT Foundation Lori SwartzendruberSmaller

  1. Babysitter
  2. Department Store Cashier
  3. Group Leader (supervised cashiers)
  4. Hospital Dietary Clerk
  5. Hospital Cafeteria worker
  6. Telephone operator – incoming calls for MCAT test (at ACT!)
  7. Office Assistant

Katie Gragnaniello | Current Job Title: Program Coordinator, ACT FoundationKatie Gragnaniello

  1. Babysitter
  2. Gymnastics Teacher
  3. Waitress (my favorite one)
  4. Esthetician/Sales at a spa (this was a fun stint)
  5. High School English/Spanish Teacher
  6. K12 Academic Advisor
  7. K12 Testing Manger

Parminder K. Jassal | Current Job Title: Executive Director, ACT Foundation Parminder High Resolution Headshot

  1. Movie theatre concession attendant
  2. University cafeteria worker
  3. At car dealership – finance, insurance and computer systems manager
  4. Regional systems manager at Ford Motor Company
  5. Global procurement platform team member at Atlantic Richfield Oil Company
  6. Started-up and sold three companies with my husband: IT Solutions and Consulting, Bombay House restaurant & East Indian Trading Company.
  7. Start-Up team at International Network Services  (Network Systems Engineering)

Amber N. O’Connor | Current Job Title: Program Coordinator, ACT Center for Equity in Learning Amber O'Connor

  1. Clothing Store Assistant
  2. Babysitter and Summertime Nanny
  3. Grocery store associate
  4. Waitress
  5. Retail sales associate
  6. Mount Mercy University Alumni and Development Office work-study
  7. Mexican restaurant hostess

Jeff L. McCullough | Current Job Title: Senior Program Director, ACT Center for Equity in Learning

  1. Lawn Mowing
  2. Dishwasher
  3. Grocery Shelf Stocker
  4. City Street Department
  5. Pipeline Construction
  6. Athletic Grounds Keeper
  7. Home Construction

Christina Rupp | Current Job Title: Program Manager, ACT Foundation Christina Rupp

  1. Babysitter & Dog Walker
  2. Lifeguard
  3. Barista
  4. Soccer Coach & Swim Coach
  5. College Soccer Division I Athlete (it’s a JOB! Scholarship)
  6. Art Gallery Assistant & Graphic Designer
  7. Graphic Designer

Keira Evans | Current Job Title: Staff Assistant, ACT & ACT FoundationKeira Evans

  1. Hostess
  2. 2nd Grade Teacher’s Assistant (Child Dev. Program in HS)
  3. Assistant Manager at Edible Arrangements
  4. Camp Counselor
  5. Receptionist for Service Dept. at a Car Dealership
  6. Staff Assistant at ACT

Cedric Mobley | Current Job Title: Senior Manager, ACT Foundation

  1. Music sorter
  2. Bag boy
  3. Record store clerk (my favorite!)
  4. Structure associate
  5. Wal-Mart intern
  6. Student government official
  7. Hewlett-Packard intern

Hayley Phillips | Current Job Title: Executive Assistant and Project ManagerHayley 3rd place

  1. Babysitter, age 13 to 15
  2. Cashier at Kroger’s groceries, age 16
  3. Shop Assistant at local consignment store, age 17
  4. Waitress at various restaurants, age 18 to 22 (along with cashier, and weight room attendant, when 1 job wasn’t enough)
  5. Staffer at a locally owned Temporary agency
  6. Negotiations Specialist at Genex Services
  7. Reconciliation Specialist for a doctor’s office