Victor Valley Career Services Advisor is woman about town
She’s here, she’s there, she’s everywhere. Kalisha Gessesse does not stay in one spot for very long. As a Career Services Advisor for the Hesperia campus, she is constantly on the move.
“It is something new every day,” says Kalisha, who likes the flexibility of her job best. “I wouldn’t want a position where it is the same every day,” she says. No worries.
On any given day, you might find Kalisha out in the community talking with employers about staffing needs, helping out with a SJVC orientation, attending Advisory Board meetings, speaking to high school juniors and seniors about the kind of job search support they would get at SJVC, or attending job fairs, always on the look-out for potential students, extern sites or employers for future staffing.
“I make new relationships every day!” says Kalisha.
“Kalisha has gone beyond her call of duty by assisting the Admissions department with their High School recruiting functions,” says Adamina McKenzie, Career Services Manager.
Kalisha works hard to recruit new employers who might provide both extern sites and future job openings for the students and graduates of the medical programs she represents. She also works with students to prepare them for the job search phase of their education. She enjoys both aspects of her role.
“Once you have a good relationship with an employer, word gets around and that can lead to referrals,” says Kalisha. “It’s a good feeling when a new employer calls you, because they heard about a student you placed somewhere else.”
Her professional style has been described as “BFF.” “When I call employers, I try to act like I’ve known them forever; I’m not super rigid and too professional sounding in my tone,” she says. “I try to be more personable. Sometimes I just call to say ‘hello’ so that when they do need a position, they call me.”
Kalisha’s natural ability to communicate and connect with others is reflected in a long line of successful placements.
She laughs when she remembers seeing a new Facebook site for Health First clinic – one of her employers in Hesperia. “They created a Facebook page with a picture of their staff, and most of the staff members (7) were SJVC CAMA and MA grads!” After a little prodding, she admits that she had placed them all. “It was a good feeling to see that picture.”
She takes that same kind of pride in the role she plays in the lives of those about to graduate; especially those who have struggled to get to that point.
“I had this one student who was really going through a lot,” says Kalisha. “She was a young woman with children, who was in an abusive relationship. And, because she was able to get an education and find work, she could get out of that situation. It was so rewarding to be able to assist her with that.”
Kalisha also takes an active part in preparing her students mentally for what lies ahead of them after graduation. Much of what she passes on to her students comes from wisdom she has gained over the years from her own mom, Diana.
“Growing up she would always tell us, ‘Don’t be afraid of anything – especially when it comes to work,’” says Kalisha. “That always stuck with me,” she says.
Kalisha admits that a lot of her students are afraid when they are about to enter their externship or their first professional position after graduation. “It scares them like nobody’s business,” she says. “But, I tell them that they’re only afraid because they just don’t know what to expect. I tell them ‘You have to do it; you have to take that chance.’”
“Kalisha is dedicated and committed to assisting her students with job placement within their field of study,” says Adamina McKenzie. “Our students can definitely count on her to be there for them when it is a time of need.”
“This is something I really feel good about doing,” says Kalisha about her position with the college. “I still have goals to meet, but they are tied to someone else’s success.”
Fears and struggle are part of any success. “No one’s childhood was perfect – mine wasn’t,” says Kalisha. “But, you have to get past it and stay positive; otherwise you will just stay in the same spot.”
Not Kalisha. She is on the move…and bringing a lot of others along with her.