Jayhawk Career Network

The Water Cooler, December 2020
In this edition of the Water Cooler we celebrate mentors and National Mentoring Month!

This month’s Water Cooler includes numerous stories of Jayhawk generosity and achievement that fit the season of giving and celebration. We join a chorus of campus and community partners in praising and thanking Jayhawks for their magnanimity and work. If you know of a student or an alum who is making a difference in their community, big and small, let us know through our new Jayhawks Give Back initiative.


We are particularly thankful for our featured Jayhawk business, KJO Media, whose partnership, expertise and work helped Jayhawks Flock Together, the Alumni Association’s November fundraising event that you can read about in this issue, become a great success. Among other accomplishments, the event raised $20,000 for Campus Cupboard, which seeks to address issues of student food insecurity.  


As always, you will find articles and podcasts that can benefit your business operations and strategies including pieces on “slow work”, managing a remote workforce and addressing organizational inequities. We feature an open engineering associate position with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, information about upcoming professional development webinars, and bring you an update on the Jayhawk Business Directory. We are also pleased to share wonderful online degree opportunities in Education and Health Science.


As we look forward to the New Year and celebrating, amongst other things, mentors during National Mentoring Month in January, we end by sending you and yours best wishes for health and happiness this holiday season.


Rock Chalk.


Howard Graham, g’08, PhD’19


Director of the Jayhawk Career Network


Why this pandemic winter is the perfect time to try out ‘slow work’

The “slow work” movement prioritizes meaningful and measured productivity, alongside dedicated time for breaks. The work style places importance on concentrated work, especially on individual tasks.


Hopping from assignment to assignment is not part of the slow work philosophy. However, wiping the slate clean, so your schedule is less packed, is a key part of slow work.


Read more

How to spot the signs of team overwhelm (and what to do about it)

In your eyes, your team is a group of productivity superstars. They get top-notch projects across the finish line. They tackle their to-do lists with strategy and confidence. They put out fires without breaking a sweat.


At least, that’s what you like to think. Unfortunately, overwhelm on teams has become frighteningly common. In one survey, 52% of workers admit that they’re stressed out at work on a daily basis. And, research from Deloitte found that 64% of executives say overwhelmed employees are an urgent or important issue.


Read more

Drew Carter of Maritz Motivation on expectations and culture

“I’m a big believer in these three things, which I think help to not only avoid burnout amongst colleagues, but will also help to maintain engagement and authenticity:


 1. Clarity

 2. Compassion

 3. Control


Incentive Magazine named Carter, b’97, one of the most influential leaders in the incentive and recognition industry. He’s spent more than 20 years in senior advisory and executive roles, transforming some of the largest companies in the world.


Read more

Hawks to Watch: Don Davis, senior director of player affairs for the NFLPA

Don Davis’s love for the game of football runs deep. With two Super Bowl rings to his name and 11 years of professional playing experience under his belt, the Kansas native is continuing to leave his mark on the sport — this time, off the field.


Born and raised in Olathe, Don played as a three-year starter with the Kansas Football team, racking up 238 tackles and 9.5 sacks during his time at KU. A College graduate, he earned his B.G.S. in Human Development in 1997, a focus, he says, that sharpened his communication skills and shaped his outlook on the value of lifelong learning.


Read more

IN conversation with directors Kevin Smith & Sav Rodgers

Call it mutual admiration society or perhaps a bro-mance—or even the ultimate ongoing mentorship. Whatever you call it, one thing is certain—filmmakers Kevin Smith and Sav Rodgers, c’17, have an affinity and appreciation for each other.


The two directors met in the unlikeliest of ways. In 2019, Rodgers was featured in a TED Talk where he broke down how Smith’s film Chasing Amy (1997) had a profound impact on his life. The title of Rodgers’s talk? “The Rom-Com That Saved My life.”


Read more

Compassionate Conversations

Unwinding: Emily Vietti works to close leadership gender gaps

August 18, 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. 100 years later, women still lag behind men in holding elected office both nationally and regionally.


Institute for Leadership Studies Lecturer/Program Associate and Communication Studies Ph.D. Candidate Emily Vietti is working to close the gaps. Hear about her research on gender gaps in politics, her work with Appointments Project & Ready to Run Kansas Women’s Leadership Series, and how she is hoping to inspire more women to run for office on the latest Unwinding.


Read more

Race at Work: Lessons in diversity and culture from Mastercard

Race at Work is an HBR Presents podcast hosted by Porter Braswell about the role race plays in our careers and lives. In this episode, he speaks with Donna Johnson, former chief diversity officer at Mastercard, about leading the charge on changing company culture and how diversity can drive real business results.



Study shows microaggression trainings overlook deeper, harmful assumptions

Microaggressions, which are words or actions linked to stereotypes that can cause offense, have received increased attention in recent years. But a new study from KU finds that as the concept gains popularity, people tend to view microaggressions as something easily fixed by learning what not to say in the presence of certain others rather than critically examining the racist, sexist and otherwise harmful assumptions revealed by their communication.


Read more

Campus Connections

Jayhawks Flock Together brings in $100k for University programs

Thank you! Our first-ever virtual fundraising event, Jayhawks Flock Together, raised $100,000 on Nov. 19 in support of student and alumni programs and KU’s Campus Cupboard, a food pantry for students, faculty, staff and affiliates.


Nearly 750 Jayhawks worldwide participated in the event, which raised $80,000 from sponsorships and the silent auction to support the association’s Jayhawk Career Network and the Student Alumni Network, and $20,000 from the Fund-the-Future portion of the live program to benefit the Campus Cupboard, which the chancellor selected to highlight the seriousness of food insecurity and its effect on Jayhawks.


The event was presented in partnership with Dimensional Innovations, Helix Architecture + Design and McCownGordon Construction and supported by video production sponsor KJO Media.


Read more

Campus awards

We’re proud to showcase the numerous students and alumni have both earned and received nominations for prestigious scholarships, fellowships and awards for 2020 and 2021. 


Law School alumna creates scholarship for southwest Kansas students

Elizabeth Schartz has established the Elizabeth A. Schartz Law Scholarship with a $57,500 pledge to KU Endowment. The scholarship fund is intended to support students from less populated areas of the state, with a preference for students who live in or graduated high school in Finney, Ford, Gray or Hodgeman counties.


Read more

Anonymous donation funds doctoral fellowship in Pharmacy School

An anonymous donation of $300,000 to the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology was inspired by the donor’s niece and her experience as a doctoral student.


“I hope the gift will aid others who passionately devote their time and effort to vital scientific research,” the donor said. “Students often face financial hardship, which has been compounded by the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.”


Read more

Support Jayhawk businesses during the holidays

Help support Jayhawks this holiday season! Whether you’re searching for restaurants or retail shops, entertainment or consultants, you’re sure to find a holly jolly Jayhawk business in the New Jayhawk Business Directory.


Search the directory

New online health science degree prepares students to work in a growing field

The University of Kansas has launched an online Bachelor of Health Sciences program as community health and medical research take center stage in public life. Available through the new School of Professional Studies, this all-online degree completion program provides an opportunity for students interested in the health science professions to strengthen their knowledge in specialized areas such as nutrition, public and population health, and health management and policy.


Read more

Featured Job

Engineering Associate

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is seeking an engineer position involving specialized aspects of water resources engineering. The work includes independent review of engineering calculations and construction documents. The work includes field inspection of completed projects, resolution of conflicts, and communication with landowners, contractors and other engineers.



Featured Jayhawk Business

KJO Media

Jayhawk: T.J. Kilian, j’01

Location: Westwood, KS


KJO is a full service video production company based in Kansas City. Specializing in corporate video production, marketing video production, commercial advertising, social media and more.


Support KJO Media and more KU businesses on the Jayhawk Business Directory.


A Great Leader Is Not What You Think: Leadership Lessons from the Greatest Captains in Sports History

Sam Walker shares the seven traits of the greatest captains in sports history–from extreme doggedness to a knack for nonverbal communication to the courage to stand apart. Learn how to identify and cultivate these same types of people in your own organization and how to partner with them to be a more effective leader.


11 a.m. CT

Wednesday, Jan. 13

The Empathy Edge: Why Compassion Fuels Leadership Success and How to Build Your Empathy Muscle

Join brand strategist Maria Ross as she shares the value of compassion as an engine for success. You’ll learn five concrete ways to flex your empathy muscles for tremendous success and how you can amplify empathy through your work to create a better world.


11 a.m. CT
Thursday, Jan. 21

More Headlines

Driving with Jayhawks
Driving with Jayhawks: KU mascot coach Brian Carpenter

KU mascot coach Brian Carpenter, c’02 joins Driving with Jayhawks. Learn what it takes to fill the boots of Big and Baby Jay!

‘Hawks & Highways’ brings KU Alumni, KU Endowment across Kansas

The University of Kansas Alumni Association and KU Endowment are hosting “Hawks & Highways” gatherings in several Kansas communities this summer.

Copy the Leader: Stephanie Wittman

Stephanie Wittman, d’10 is a Health and Strength and Conditioning teacher at Tonganoxie High School. We sat down with Stephanie to learn what leadership means to her.

Copy the Leader: Jon Sabillón

Jon Sabillón, c’11, is an international DJ, entrepreneur, and music futurist. We sat down with Jon to learn what leadership means to him.

Jayhawks Give Back
Jayhawk helps communities grow through The Giving Grove

Tucked away in urban neighborhoods across the U.S. are little orchards making a big impact.

KU Alumni Association
KU Alumni receives Insight Into Diversity Magazine’s Inclusive Excellence Award

The KU Alumni Association will be featured, along with 31 other recipients, in the June 2024 issue of Insight Into Diversity magazine.

Driving with Jayhawks
Driving with Jayhawks: Flying Jayhawks

In the monthly Driving with Jayhawks series, we’re taking the best of KU on a ride through campus as we talk about their Jayhawk experience.

Tradition of Excellence Award honors student leaders

Eleven University of Kansas students were honored for their leadership on the Lawrence.

Copy the Leader: Kelsey Galle

Kelsey Galle, c’12, is assistant director of alumni engagement at the KU Alumni Association. We sat down with Kelsey to learn what leadership means to her.

Welcome to the University
of Kansas Alumni Association

Your membership in the KU Alumni Association is the single most powerful way to make all of KU stronger, including the value of your own degree. Through your membership, the Association: