Career Conversations

Partnering with Employers to Help Students Discover Future Careers

When we help students visualize the future, we open them up to a world of possibilities. More than ever, students need opportunities to interact with our rich and diverse business community and connect their passions, skills, and studies to real career pathways.

Career Conversations, presented by TowneBank, connects employers and students digitally through a new and growing online library of video interviews with professionals from a variety of jobs and industries.

STUDENTS: What Do You Want to See Featured in Career Conversations? Let us know.

Agriculture

John Jeffreys

Pinehurst No. 2. | Golf Course Superintendent

It takes a team to maintain 196 acres of turf, trees, fairways, and more at Pinehurst No. 2, the site of more single golf championships than any course in America. After graduating from East Wake High School in Wendell, NC, and studying agronomy at NC State, John Jeffreys turned his love of golf and the outdoors into a fulfilling career in golf course management. In his Career Conversations video, John encourages students to hone their communication and problem-solving skills and explore all that golf has to offer in our state.

Agriculture

Judith King

BASF | Insect Production Technician

Judith King grew up watching Animal Planet, where she fell in love with animals and wildlife conservation. Inspired and encouraged by a group of exceptional educators, she explored her passion for biology at NC State and has since participated in important conservation research to save primates as well as native bee species. In her Career Conversations video, Judith shares her most recent research role – growing insects like stinkbugs, beetles, and moths from eggs to healthy adults in BASF’s insectary – and the important tools needed to set insects up for success.

Agriculture

Brittany Lloyd

BASF | Sub-Group Leader Plant Management

An unparalleled passion for plant biology led Brittany Lloyd on a journey from FFA, an NC State MBA, to now leading a talented team for one of the largest chemical companies in the world – BASF. In her Career Conversations video, Brittany shows off one of BASF’s 60,000 sq ft greenhouses and describes the important work that she and her team does daily to grow, maintain, and improve key crops in North Carolina and beyond.

Business & Sales

Norman Barclift

BASF | National Account Manager

An unexpected educational pathway led Norman Barclift from computer science to agriculture business and sales at BASF, where he now leads a team working strategically to sell pest control and lawn care products to some of BASF’s largest distribution partners. In his Career Conversations video, Norman shares the memorable experiences he had along the way, leading important organizations like Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS), working all over the world, and incorporating so many of his interests into one fulfilling career.

Business & Sales

Brian Galicia

Microsoft | Senior Director, Strategic Global Alliance

Brian Galicia shares his career journey to Microsoft. An introvert at heart, Brian explored coding and computer science before discovering his talent and passion for sales.

What is a growth mindset? Why should high school students log in to LinkedIn? Learn more about critical communication skills in our Career Conversation with Brian.

Civil Engineering

Moha Bhatta

Field Missions at United Nations | Civil Engineer

After earning certificates and his first engineering experience in his home country Nepal, Moha studied in the Philippines, the United Kingdom and Japan to earn higher degrees. He worked in remote, rural areas in Nepal to provide drinking water and better sanitation for the people. There’s so much more to this interesting story; learn more about pursuit of higher engineering opportunities in this Career Conversations interview!

Civil Engineering

CLH Design Team

Chris Hilt, Steve Miller, Y’Hoshua Aal-Anubia, and Daniela Lovera

At CLH Design, civil engineers and landscape architects have been using the 4Cs to make a positive impact on our community. In this extended Career Conversations video, this CLH Design team demonstrates how math is used to measure and mitigate the environmental impact of school construction in a rapidly growing county. Watch to design a stormwater wetland for South Lakes Elementary School alongside this team of talented professionals.

Civil Engineering

Highfill Infrastructure Engineering Team

Julie Villadiego and Laura Styles

What sets civil engineers apart? At Highfill Infrastructure Engineering, exceptional communication skills and a passion for service are key to providing critical resources to our community. In this extended Career Conversations video, engineers Julie Villadiego and Laura Styles share their unique journeys to the United States, civil engineering, and wastewater management.

Education

Phil Echols

Wake County Public School System | Senior Administrator of Professional Learning

Starting off as a school counselor led Phil Echols to see the value in making sure teachers were positioned as effectively as possible to aid in student growth. In this Career Conversations interview, Phil describes himself as a teacher for teachers. As Senior Administrator of Professional Learning for the Wake County Public School System, he supports 11,000 teachers across North Carolina’s largest school district, providing resources and skills coaching to better impact students in the classroom.

Fundraising

Mary Moss

Moss & Ross | Partner, Strategic Consulting

There’s just something about your best friend and making an impact that matters in a place you love. Mary Moss adopted this mantra as she partnered up with her childhood best friend to start Moss & Ross, a consulting firm to support nonprofits right in their backyard. Located in Durham, NC, Moss & Ross strategically consults local nonprofits and organizes fundraising efforts for the most effective results to make a difference in the community.

Home Design

David Bennett

Triangle Residential Designs | President & Owner

What does it take to design beautiful homes in a rapidly changing housing market? David Bennett, President and Owner of Triangle Residential Designs, shares what he has learned designing homes in the Triangle for more than 40 years. In addition to technical skills, critical thinking, mechanical reasoning, and the ability to draft without computers are the keys to success in the field of architecture and design.

Journalism

Mikaya Thurmond

WRAL | News Anchor & Reporter

What does broadcast journalism look like in quarantine? In her Career Conversations interview, WRAL morning news anchor Mikaya Thurmond brings you into the life of a reporter and shares the joy she finds in telling great stories.

What time do morning anchors start the day? How can you find your voice? Confidence and authenticity are your keys to success.

Marketing

Sam Allen

Holderness Family Productions | Digital Marketer & Production Assistant

Who hasn’t heard of the Holderness Family? For Digital Marketer Sam Allen, no day at Holderness Family Productions is the same…and she loves it!

In her Career Conversations interview, Sam describes the winding road that brought her to marketing (including a semester of anthropology!) and her best advice for honing skills outside the classroom.

Marketing

Chuck Schroeder

Tar Heel Sports Properties | Vice President and General Manager

Chuck Schroeder, Vice President and General Manager of Tar Heel Sports Properties, turned his lifelong passion for sports into an exciting career in sports marketing and business. From courtside signs to radio commercials and Twitter ads, Chuck and his team use the 4Cs to engage the business community in supporting UNC Athletics. His advice for students? Whatever you choose to do, give it 110 percent, because you’re never done learning.

Marketing

Alan Johnson

BASF | Marketing & Sales PDP

Did you know that nearly 25% of the U.S. population is employed by the agriculture industry? From animal and plant science to agriculture mechanics and engineering, innovations are being made every day to help this rapidly growing industry keep up with the increasing needs of our growing population. After exploring all that agriculture has to offer through programs like FFA and 4H, and at the University of Mount Olive, Alan Johnson is now responsible for creating engaging digital content for farmers across the country through BASF’s marketing and sales professional development program.

Media

Alec Campbell

99.9 The Fan | Radio Producer and Host

What does it take to work in sports broadcasting? For many, it is a calling. In his Career Conversations video, Alec Campbell describes his journey to becoming a sports radio producer and host on 99.9 The Fan and WRALSportsFan and shares insight for students who want to enter the fun and challenging field of sports media.

Media

Joe Ovies and Lauren Brownlow

99.9 The Fan | Radio Hosts

For sports radio hosts Joe Ovies and Lauren Brownlow, no day is ever the same. In recent years, their roles at 99.9 The Fan and WRALSportsFan have expanded to include video, podcasting, TikTok and more in an effort to engage younger audiences. In their Career Conversations video, Joe and Lauren share what they’ve learned along the way. Hint: The 4C’s are critical to success in sports media!

Mechanical Engineering

Michael Gibson

Morris & Associates | General Manager

Many roads lead to engineering. For Michael Gibson, community college and an unexpected career change brought him to Morris & Associates, where he currently serves as General Manager. Michael brings you inside of the global mechanical engineering company based in Garner, North Carolina, and shares two real-world examples of how engineers use math daily and combat human error that could significantly impact the design and efficiency of their equipment.

Nursing

Dylan Skicsm

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville | Nursing Student

Dylan thought computer science was his “thing,” but after a helpful conversation with a neighbor and working as a lifeguard, he discovered his passion for healthcare. In this Career Conversations interview, Dylan explains his experience as a nursing student, Volunteer Firefighter and EMT, and the things that drew him to this hands-on field full of diverse opportunities. 

Nursing

Jaclyn Qualter

LoginClincs | Nurse Practitioner

Jaclyn knew she wanted to work in healthcare, and when she discovered that nurses have versatile roles and can work with a variety of specialists, all while caring for people during hard times, she knew this was the role for her. In this Career Conversations interview, Jacyln discusses the different settings nurses can work in as well as her various experiences as a nurse, including starting her own business!

Performance

Mike Young

Athletic Lab | Director of Performance and Research

What does it mean to be a human performance specialist? For Mike Young, the Director of Performance and Research at Athletic Lab, it means combining passions for sports and science to help athletes achieve their dreams. From coaching and educating athletes, to testing new exciting technology, and traveling the world to share his experiences with others, Mike gives students an inside look at the career opportunities available in the world of sports performance.

Psychology

Christine Habeeb

East Carolina University | Assistant Professor

Psychology plays an important role in an athlete’s success on and off the field. In addition to teaching, Assistant Professor Christine Habeeb is exploring what we don’t know about this exciting field, leading sports psychology research at East Carolina University. In her Career Conversations video, Christine shares what it’s like to study abroad and how research is an exciting way to turn your interests into a profession. 

Psychology

Sarah Harris

SG Therapeutic Services | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Play Therapist

When Sarah came to the United States from Trinidad, she had her sights set on becoming a doctor but when she was exposed to the world of psychology, there was no going back! Sarah advises students to look for opportunities to get experience in your field of interest as soon as possible. She explains her experience in the world of therapy, and how she’s been able to jump into different mentorship roles in her industry.

Public Affairs

Juan Carlos Erickson

GoTriangle | Community Engagement Manager

Your pursuit of happiness should not start at 5 o’clock. As Community Engagement Manager for GoTriangle, Juan Carlos Erickson plays a critical role in improving the quality of life for underserved communities.

In his Career Conversations interview, Juan answers questions that he wished he had asked as a student and shares his roadmap for turning passions into a profession.

Quality Engineering

Toni Arnold-McFarland

John Deere | Master Process Professional

“Don’t be afraid to explore the unknown.” Quality engineering begins with the unknown. In this Career Conversations video, Toni Arnold-McFarland, Master Process Professional for John Deere, demonstrates how math tools are used to make critical decisions across all industries and shares how quality engineers are using the 4Cs to change the future of farming.

Structural Engineering

SteelFab Inc. Team

Joe Mayer (Project Executive) | Eloy Rodriguez (Project Engineer)

From sales and marketing to estimating and design, it takes a talented team with a diverse skill set to fabricate steel. In this extended Career Conversations video, Joe Mayer and Eloy Rodriguez describe the variety of career opportunities offered by SteelFab of Virginia Inc., and demonstrate how math is used by structural engineers to design the steel frames that make up our city skylines.

Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Laura Nelson

NC State University – College of Veterinary Medicine | Veterinarian

Before she became a veterinarian and college professor at NC State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Laura Nelson dreamed of being a zookeeper!

Becoming a vet takes more than just a passion for animals. In her Career Conversations interview, Dr. Nelson shares her advice for navigating vet school applications and honing soft skills that are critical in a vet clinic.

We’re Updating our Video Library Regularly.

Check back for more Career Conversations!

Is there a job or company you want to see featured in Career Conversations?

Get Involved

Professionals from all industries are invited to participate in Career Conversations. If you would like to share your knowledge with students and inspire the next generation of the workforce, email marketing@wakeed.org.

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Raleigh, NC 27609 | (919) 821-7609