Lois Snavely Profile
Name: Lois Snavely
Company you work for/current work position: Upwork / Sr. Program Manager, Design
Degree and Class year: Master of Divinity, Mcormick Theological Seminary, 2021 // Bachelor of Science in Dance Education, Bowling Green State University, 2011
Hometown: Dublin, Ohio
I asked Lois some questions and to share some advice that, we hope, will be useful for students:
What is your current job and what led you to it? What was the path like and what made you decide to stick with it?
Currently I am a Senior Program Manager, Design Subject Matter Expert for Upwork. I help consult our enterprise level clients on getting their large creative projects and programs done via our platform. I provide hands-on consultation, white glove service with our tech platform, and talent guidance so they find the best people to get their work done or to help them implement their creative and design programs. I’ve had a long and winding journey to this role, from nonprofits and the performing arts to retail and operations to recruiting and staffing and now ending up here. I knew a few years ago that I most likely wanted to pursue project management in some fashion and that many of my experiences aligned with doing that in a corporate space. I’ve found that no matter how many twists and turns your career path takes, there is usually at least one connecting thread where you thrive and find your “flow.” For me that was operations, organization, keeping projects and tasks on track, etc. All of those threads lend themselves very well to program and project management, plus I love being a consultant to clients and advising them on the ebay course of action to take.
- What is/what are the most important thing/s you learned while in college?
Definitely time management, learning (or trying to learn) my boundaries around saying yes to things and people, and becoming a lifelong learner. I always say now that “all knowledge is worth having” and that no experience, course, job or even relationship is ever a waste of time. Both in my undergrad and my graduate program I “learned how to learn” – meaning that even if I took a course I didn’t always love or even if it didn’t always contribute directly to my line of study, I learned how to absorb high level concepts, integrate them into my overall career or learning goals, practically apply them in my everyday life, and learn what worked for me and what didn’t when it came to absorbing and retaining information.
- What goals do you have for the future? What other career goals do you have?
I definitely want to bring spiritual development and a sense of belonging and community into the corporate workspace for generations that traditionally have been community-less (Millennials, Gen Z and beyond). Just because traditional religion and places of worship are declining or don’t always work for everyone anymore, doesn’t mean that the things they may have offered to our parents’ or grandparents’ generation shouldn’t also be available to us (a sense of calling or higher purpose, development and community, a listening ear to process large things with like grief, transition, change, etc.). My hope is to integrate my knowledge of the corporate workspace with my training in spiritual leadership and community development to help workers navigate the waters of the modern working world.
- What is one piece of advice you would give to someone that is about to graduate from college and is unsure about their professional career?
Trust the process and know that no one’s career path is linear. Your brain doesn’t even really stop forming until about 28 so to know who you are or what career goals you want to commit to in your life at 21 or 22 is unrealistic. Try things out as you are able, put yourself out there for stretch projects and opportunities, raise your hand for things, figure out where your stressors or pain points are, where you’re in the flow, what environments are healthy or unhealthy for you, etc. and build your journey from there. You may hold a million different job titles at vastly different companies, but a thread of your strengths, joys, weaknesses, and more WILL emerge and it will be recognizable. From there you can start to figure out where to really dig your roots in and grow and where you’ll eventually be a trusted advisor.
-What is one piece of advice you would give to a student when looking/applying for a job?
There is a fine line between being flexible and getting taken advantage of, and only you know what that line is for you. However, as much as you are able to when you’re new in your career, be flexible to try new things on, even if it seems like you might not enjoy it up front. You’d be surprised what works for you and what may not! You also can learn and grow a lot by being the dependable person on the job, willing to do whatever it takes, willing to do things outside your prescribed job, and willing to do the things everyone else may not always want to do. Employers look for the humility and eagerness of spirit.
-As a spiritual leader how do you incorporate diversity into your role?
As a white, cishet, able-bodied, neurologically typical person (albeit female) I do my best to remain aware, open and ready to take a backseat to center marginalized voices as a spiritual leader in communities that are often dominated by people who look like me. I always aspire to be an ally or an accomplice whether in private spaces where there are no diverse voices in the room (so being an agitator in that space and speaking up for those not represented) or out in the streets or the voting booth where my body adds to those showing up and speaking out for justice. In places where I am up front preaching or speaking I look to amplify marginalized voices, and in faith places where historically marginalized people are not welcome (or may not feel welcome) I use the pulpit to challenge with love.
If you feel inspired and would like to connect with Lois you are welcome to contact her through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or add her in LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/loissnavely.
Martin Lopez M.
World Languages, 2023