Day number one of Professional Development was all things fun and formal! Our group was so fortunate to have four of the area's best as guest speakers, each sharing their areas of expertise. This was a fantastic opportunity for the queens (and me!) to gain some insight into many different fields of professionalism, applicable even far beyond the queen contest. To begin the morning, the girls divided themselves into groups in preparation to visit each speaker. This was when I decided to jump in with a group to serve as a “fly on the wall,” learning about what each speaker had to say to the girls. And, believe me, these sessions did not disappoint!
Professional Presence with Gretchen Pettet
“The way you present yourself should reflect how you intend to present yourself,” Gretchen told the girls, as they joined her for a presentation on professional presence. From hygiene, hair, and makeup to clothing fit, condition, and style… her advice was nothing but the best when it comes to representing yourself in a professional setting. Gretchen also stressed the importance of first impressions, body language, and attitude. Her best piece of advice, “You may have everything else right, but if your attitude is off it’s over. Your attitude is what determines your direction.” She then concluded her session by urging the girls to, no matter what, be real!
Interview Skills with Julie Hazel
Let's be honest... Nobody enjoys the frantic feeling that comes with being asked, "So, tell me a little bit about yourself?" You know, whenever you suddenly forget who you are, everything you’ve done, and any major accomplishments worth noting? Well, fortunately for our next session, we visited with Julie Hazel, who taught us how to answer these kinds of questions throughout the interviewing process and nail an elevator pitch! Julie took the girls through some interview preparation skills and the interview process itself, ultimately emphasizing that the secret to success is to simply practice! “The more times you put yourself in uncomfortable situations, the more comfortable you will get,” she ensured the queens. As a final touch, Julie shared her simple yet effective recipe for success when it comes to elevator pitches, aka answering the infamous "tell me about yourself" question.
Building a Professional Resume with Dr. Rachael Franssen
When it comes to drafting the perfect resume, it’s important to sell yourself for who you are and what you can do. And, in this special case, why each girl feels they are the perfect fit for the 2022 Wash Mo Fair Queen! Dr. Franssen, SDOW Assistant Superintendent, led our third workshop of the day, which was packed with resume tips and tactics that will be useful throughout the queens’ lives! She covered what all to include in a professional resume, such as contact information, education, professional experience, and so on. She also touched on soft vs. hard skills, resume length, and answered any of the girls’ burning questions. In closing, she reminded the girls to “always make sure that what you are putting forward is professional.” A great closing reminder, especially applicable to resume building, this session will most definitely be of use to the girls as they craft their resumes for the contest and in all other endeavors.
Art of a “Thank You” Note with Tina Eckelkamp
A simple "thank you" in the form of a handwritten note gives a sense of appreciation, enhances relationships, and can open innumerable doors. In our final session, Tina Eckelkamp taught us all about this, emphasizing the dos and don'ts of thank you notes. From events to interviews to weddings, a handwritten proper thank you card is always necessary! She also discussed the art of personalizing thank you notes, by including specific details while expressing gratitude. Tina's session ended with each queen receiving a tiny stationery set as a parting gift as well as a handout summarizing what was covered throughout the session. A kind gesture, I even received one myself, which will come in handy and be put to great use! :)
After each girl got the opportunity to listen in on all four amazing sessions there were sandwiches and treats to enjoy from Joe’s Bakery, a great, refreshing way to conclude the fun yet professional day. A huge thank you to all those who worked on this event and for our amazing speakers who shared their expertise! Stay tuned for the next queen adventure, where the girls will be channeling their inner Picasso by working together to create a masterpiece!
Until next time,
Washington Town & Country Fair
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PO Box 752 * Washington, MO 63090 * (636) 239-2715
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