Chief Transition Strategist
It is with honor and enthusiasm that I share with you the work of Joyce Auskelis, Chief Transition Strategist. Simply put, Joyce helps teens and young adults to "find their best fit." Joyce has an impressive "corporate world" background and her credentials include consulting with Deloitte, sales with IBM, training with Computer Associates and product development with Jostens Learning Corporation. Using these experiences and following her passion, she founded DefiningNEXT where she helps teens and young adults in various stages of their lives: high-schoolers exploring college options, college students who may not be fulfilled with the track they are on, as well as those who may be struggling in a career that does match their skills and talent. Joyce invited me to participate in the process she designed for working with clients, from taking the Highlands Ability Battery to sitting down in person for a discussion and analysis of my results. The experience was eye-opening and Joyce was beyond thorough and helpful. Joyce strives to help her clients discover their core strengths and abilities so they can make informed and thoughtful decisions about their future. Parents, I know you will enjoy the information and advice in this interview! Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!
"My emphasis is on empowering the individual to make an affirmative choice instead of a reactive response. It’s all about intentionality and purpose, creating your path instead of following the herd or meeting the expectations of others."
How do you serve the youth in our community?
I help teens and young adults define and create the next chapter of their lives. My emphasis is on empowering the individual to make an affirmative choice instead of a reactive response. It’s all about intentionality and purpose, creating your path instead of following the herd or meeting the expectations of others. When you have a clear answer to what, where and why, you feel prepared to tackle the how with enthusiasm. And, you don’t have to figure out your whole life plan. Early academic and career choices don’t dictate your future. They provide a foundation to build upon. Sheryl Sandburg, COO of Facebook, is a great example of this premise. Facebook did not exist when she graduated from college!
Why did you choose to focus on young people?
Mostly because that’s where my heart is. Through my personal and professional life experiences, I’ve known countless adults who are utterly miserable in their jobs. The cumulative effect of years of working in a career that doesn’t align with who you are is staggering. The most obvious consequence is poor job performance, but other damages include low self-esteem, mental and physical health issues and shattered relationships.
Our paths are often determined by decisions we make as a teenager or young adult without much forethought. We now know the prefrontal cortex that governs decision making is not fully developed until age 25. It just makes sense that young people need professional support in making pivotal decisions such as college choice, college major, and career direction. The services provided through our education system are not enough for everyone. A typical counselor supports 500 students. In large public school systems, I’ve seen ratios of 1 to 1,000. Even counselors with super powers can’t provide adequate individualized attention to guide that many students effectively.
Describe your process and talk about the tools you use.
There are three key elements in the process:
What advice to you have for parents of teenagers?
Buckle up and enjoy the ride! The teen years are a turbulent period of growth and change. Kids need their parents to provide a ballast or rudder through the rough waters. It’s the hardest thing in the world to watch your child struggle and potentially “fail” at an endeavor. But it’s also an essential ingredient to learning and building self-reliance. When your son or daughter leaves for college, you want him or her to have prior experience recovering from failures and setbacks. The resiliency muscle needs regular exercise to develop strength. In our evolving “free agent” economy, our young people will have to take risks, learn from their mistakes and keep moving forward with a positive outlook.
Secondly, I suggest allowing your child to dream and to share those dreams with you. Sometimes, a dream will be pass in the blink of an eye. If you react negatively to the idea of your child skipping college, enlisting in the military or becoming an electrician, you may lose the privilege of hearing what he is thinking. By maintaining an open dialog, you can help your child explore and validate (or invalidate) their dreams before making a major decision.
How can readers reach you?
E-mail is the best way to connect initially (Click here to email Joyce Auskelis). I’m happy to talk with people to determine whether I’m the best resource for them. If not, I will suggest other professionals in my trusted resource network. I’m also available for speaking engagements for schools, parent groups or professional organizations.
Stay tuned for developing content on my website . In the meantime, readers can view my profile on LinkedIn or the Highlands Company website or listen to my recent guest appearance (episode 005) on the Wantrepreneur Radio show.
Kathryn Boortz has a passion for working with youth and their families. She is the founder of Boortz Law, a law firm that focuses on juvenile defense.