It’s time to PowerUP your career!

Do you want to improve your networking skills or enhance your personal brand? Would you like to know how your colleagues navigate their careers? This summer, nearly 900 Southern California Capital Group associates got a chance to explore such topics during the PowerUP Your Career! expo in our Irvine office. The one-of-a-kind week focused on career development, offering workshops, panel discussions, and networking events.

“The engagement and enthusiasm from the audience was infectious,” remarks Chris Guarino, Irvine General Manager. “I’m highly encouraged by the questions participants asked after my keynote—it was inspiring to hear the level of commitment each associate has to better themselves, take action and drive their career forward.”

The genesis for PowerUP came from Capital Experience Survey results. Associates identified both “learning and development” and “opportunities for career growth” as areas for improvement. Michelle Thompson, a Senior Manager in Talent Development, responds, “We heard you! Our goal was to redefine career development at Capital. We wanted to not only start conversations about careers at Capital, but also provide associates and managers with tools that will help them.”

Challenge yourself to think differently

Throughout the expo week, associates had the opportunity to attend more than 17 different sessions. Molly Johnson, a Senior Communication and Engagement Specialist, explains: “We intentionally created a large variety of sessions to give associates specific tools and resources.” For example, the “Enhance Your Personal Brand” session taught associates how to boost the way they’re perceived at work. Carey Burfeind, a Senior Business Analyst, weighs in: “I really enjoyed this presentation. It inspired me to not only recognize how small adjustments in my behavior can have big impacts on my career, but to also consciously continue certain behaviors to strengthen my presence at Capital. I’ll definitely put these ideas into practice!”

Empower your career

Several associate panels on the docket gave attendees a chance to learn from speakers’ mistakes and successes, and be inspired to apply those learnings to their own career journeys. Renee Farnik, a Senior Business Systems Analyst, praised the honesty of these sessions. “No one sugar-coated their stories. They gave good-quality examples that were very relatable and very honest. I found it incredibly refreshing and now I’m fired up to take action, with my manager, in my own development.”

“If you have the opportunity to talk about your career, do it,” suggests Shayla Height, a Relationship Specialist Manager and “Career Stories” panel member. “Sometimes during my day-to-day, I forget about my career journey’s bigger picture, how hard it was at times and how much work it was in the beginning. It’s key to not assume that others’ journeys are without mistakes. You don’t always have to be perfect and it’s definitely not easy. Just have fun and keep moving forward!”

The week also featured an event that was all about connecting with career development resources. Associates visited booths that provided tips on how to use Learning Central, our online tool that provides learning and development resources and how to enhance their LinkedIn profile. Representatives from many Capital business groups educated associates on their functions and the specific roles and experiences they offer.

There was even a booth sponsored by our Benefits department that promoted several ways to reduce stress, including complimentary massages and the chance to snuggle with kittens and puppies from the local Irvine Animal Care Center. It was the perfect way for attendees to unwind, focus on their personal wellbeing, network, and think about applying what they learned in the sessions.

Inspiration to be your best and take action

“The PowerUP week was an incredible opportunity for associates to hear directly from our leaders and peers about how they invest in their own careers,” reflects Sourcing Analyst Robert Balzarini. “Exposure to real-life examples of successes, or even failures, has really encouraged me to take action in my own journey.” 

Other PowerUP sessions included:

  • Grow your career with mentors
  • Become a great internal candidate
  • Navigate your career in any direction
  • Chart your career path
  • Take the sting out of networking