Year of Graduation: 2003
Current Position: Leeza is the creator of the COURAGEOUS JOB SEEKER BOOT CAMPTM that gets job seekers employed in 8-12 weeks; which is less than half the national average of 39-54 weeks it takes to find a new job in today's tough job market. She is also known as the Queen of Rapid EmploymentTM.
She created the COURAGEOUS JOB SEEKER BOOT CAMPTM out of a passion to assist others in pursuing a career they love - that best matches their strengths and interest, so that they never have to suffer through another 'Life Sucking' day at a job they hate.
The system also works for recent/soon-to-be graduates who need to stand out from other job seekers, get more interviews and call backs-essentially find a job fast, so that they don't stay unemployed a minute longer than they have to be.
Leeza was recently the recipient of one of the most prestigious nominations in the Career Industry - a TORI (Toast of the Resume Writing Industry) award for the 'Best Technical Resumes.' Some of her best work has also been published in the latest edition of the Gallery of Best Resumes and Cover Letters. Check out her YouTube Channel for testimonials or connect with her on LinkedIn.
What was your first position after graduation?
Leeza is originally from Trinidad and Tobago and relocated to the Atlanta area after graduation. Leeza was hired as a Management Trainee for Starwood Hotels & Resorts (Westin Hotels are part of this company) in Atlanta, Georgia and was able to use this as her Optional Practical Training for international students. After living in Minnesota for college, she decided she wanted to live in a warmer climate and loved the opportunity to enjoy four seasons without the cold, snowy winters of Minnesota. She had visited Georgia on several occasions while in college and enjoyed southern hospitality. After six months, she was promoted to Sales Manager. After approximately one and one half years, she obtained a position in the career development area working for the Georgia Department of Labor. A few years ago, Leeza left to start her own company focusing on helping job seekers find employment through career counseling and career development seminars.
What advice would you give to international students seeking employment in the US after graduation?
•· Start your job search early (it takes time to research, make connections, etc.)
•· Apply for your OPT! Check with staff in the International Student Program office for details.
•· Reflect on your skill sets - what will you bring to an organization?
•· Think about what industry areas you're interested in going into and how you might get there. Some industry areas are more open to hiring international students (e.g. hospitality, those with specific technical skills in high demand) as well as cities on the coasts may provide more options (e.g. Miami, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, etc.). Leeza knew she eventually wanted to get into the career development field but realized that the hospitality industry would be the way to "get her foot in the door."
•· Visit the city you're interested in and make contacts with possible employers. Leeza visited the Atlanta area during the spring break of her senior year and participated in a job fair during this time. She was able to secure an interview and eventually got hired by this organization. The employer mentioned to Leeza that they were impressed that she had flown to Atlanta for the job fair! Get "face-time!"
What advice would you give to any students that are seeking employment out of state?
I would suggest they personally assess and prioritize the characteristics important to them and research the states/locales. The research should cover things such as cost of living-rent, utilities, food costs, and other basic expenses required for living to suit your lifestyle. Research career options and network, network, network! Try to arrange a visit to the city and make contact with possible employers.
How did your CSB/SJU education impact you?
Various enriching experiences at CSB/SJU helped me to develop my vocational calling - career development and facilitation. My student employment experience was with Events & Conferences and this provided excellent preparation for my OPT at the Westin. I also did a year-long internship with Stearns County Workforce Center during my senior year and this prepared me for my work that I am currently doing! I was also involved in VISTO and Fast Forward to name a few. In addition, being immersed in the Benedictine culture/values helped shaped who I am today. Leadership and service within my local community are important and I found my passion and place by helping those who are in need of assistance.