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Cassandra (Cassie) DuFresne

Major: Dietetics
Minor: French, Sports Medicine
Current Job Title: Wellness Coach and Fitness Specialist

Please give a brief description of your current position:
Vivecorp, is a contract company that coordinates and facilitates many different corporate fitness and wellness facilities at various corporations.  I work at Starbucks, Headquarters in Seattle, Washington.  In the Starbucks Corporate building, there are about 2000 employees for whom we provide fitness and wellness services.  There are 7 Vivecorp employees located in Starbucks' headquarters and together we run the on-site gym, called the Java Gym.  My primary role as a Wellness Coach is meeting one-on-one with Starbucks employees to work on various lifestyle changes - everything from lowering cholesterol and blood pressure to stress and time management.  I conduct all the health screenings for Starbucks' employees.  Another large component of my job is to create wellness programs that are fun, educational, and promote a culture of wellness throughout Starbucks headquarters and beyond.

What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
During my senior year in college, I decided I wanted to spend at least a year after college to save money for the Dietetics' internship.  I spent all of spring semester and the summer applying for jobs throughout the state of Minnesota - everything from Personal Training positions to Personal Care Assistant positions, but the job market was very tight.  I knew a friend who had accepted a job in Seattle and, being that I had some family out in Seattle, I decided to check out the jobs there, which is how I found my job.  The next thing I knew I was loading up the car and driving out to my new home, Seattle.

What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
If you love working one-on-one with individuals and thinking on your toes, you'll love being a Wellness Coach.  Working as a Wellness Coach provides a lot of variety and you take on many different roles, so always keep an open mind.

What skills are important in your field?
Important skills are: being able to relate with a wide variety of people; creativity in regards to promoting wellness throughout the company; flexibility in order to take on a variety of different roles depending upon the situation.

What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
One class that helped particularly with the position I'm in, was the "Nutrition Counseling and Interviewing" class taught by Jayne Byrne.  This class helped me practice and develop my interviewing skills and ability to relate to a variety of people.  Also, being a Personal Trainer for three years now has helped me significantly as a Wellness Coach.

What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
I love working one-on-one with clients, sharing in their ups and downs, coaching them through their obstacles, and helping them make permanent lifestyle changes.

You obtained a job in another part of the country.  Tell us more about your job search strategies in doing a long-distance job search.
If you haven't accepted a job prior to moving, make sure you have a back-up plan.  Because I have family in Seattle, I had visited quite a few times and knew that I would at least have some support system.  Another helpful job search strategy is to apply to multiple positions so that you have a variety of job opportunities.