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Choosing to Travel During a Global Pandemic

A local traveler provides insight into her decision to go on a vacation to Aruba in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DALLAS – A week before her vacation to Aruba in the middle of a global pandemic, Lisa began her research into Aruba’s travel guidelines and requirements. She discovered she’d need to submit a negative COVID test within 72 hours of her departure date of Oct. 24 and immediately scheduled an appointment at a local testing center for Oct. 20.

After months of seldom leaving her house despite grocery shopping and dining outdoors, Lisa was ready to “get back out there and live.” She’d wear a mask and practice social distancing, so she felt she was being as responsible as she could be.

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort | Photo by Lisa Levitt

“With the ‘new normal’ of heightened travel safety and cleanliness protocols, it is very important that our visitors and the Aruban people work together to make sure we ‘do it right,’” Lisa read from the Aruba Travel website.

To ensure she didn’t miss any important requirements, Lisa Levitt, 50, consulted her travel agent, Carolyn Harvey, who just so happened to be her lifelong friend and invited her to travel to Aruba with her. “It gave me more peace of mind working with a travel agent when planning my vacation during the pandemic,” Lisa said. “There’s so much you just don’t think of on your own.”

The travel industry has been majorly impacted since the start of the pandemic, so travelers and travel agents are working closely now more than ever before to ensure safe travel and the industry’s recovery.

Continue reading “Choosing to Travel During a Global Pandemic”
Featured

Dallas Love Field Airport Wins Multiple Honors

Dallas Love Field Airport flew to the top of major airport rankings, receiving two new honors this September.

Dallas Love Field is one of two area airports many SMU students use to fly home or on vacation. J.D. Power named Love Field North America’s best large airport and it was inducted into the Airports Council International World (ACI) Roll of Excellence for its multiple honors through the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards program.

Airports that earn five ASQ awards over a 10-year period are inducted into the ACI World Roll of Excellence, and Dallas Love Field is now one of the 55 airports worldwide to have received the honor since its inception in 2011.
Airports that earn five ASQ awards over a 10-year period are inducted into the ACI World Roll of Excellence, and Dallas Love Field is now one of the 55 airports worldwide to have received the honor since its inception in 2011. | Photo by the City of Dallas.

The airport’s central location within Dallas and about four miles from SMU makes it a popular place for the SMU community to travel.

Airport satisfaction has risen sharply since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Love Field ranking highest among large airports with a score of 844 (on a 1,000-point scale), according to J.D. Power’s 2020 North America Airport Satisfaction Study released in September.

“In its category (airports that serve 15-25 million passengers yearly), DAL did very well in airport access, check in, facilities, food, beverage and retail, and bag claim,” said Michael Taylor, J.D. Power spokesperson. “Hopefully, considering our data, the SMU community will recognize what other passengers and airport reports have recognized; Love Field is one of the best airports in North America and a pleasant place to fly in and out of.”

J.D. Power has been delivering incisive industry intelligence on customer interactions with brands and products for more than 50 years. The world’s leading businesses across major industries rely on J.D. Power to guide their customer-facing strategies. | Photo from LinkedIn.

Now in its 15th year, the study serves as a benchmark and measures overall traveler satisfaction within 30 days of passengers’ travel.

The other organization that honored Love Field, ACI, inducted the airport into its ASQ program, a subscription model that surveys passengers while at the airport about airport services, perceptions and priorities compared to other airports around the world.

Its role is to be a comprehensive business tool for airports, offering detailed analysis into various aspects of the passenger experience.

Airports Council International (ACI), established in 1991, is the only global trade representative of the world’s airports. | Photo from ACI.

Since the ACI World’s 2020 Customer Experience Global Summit was canceled due to the pandemic, ASQ winners will be recognized virtually for both its ASQ Award and Roll of Excellence honor during ASQ Customer Experience Week beginning Oct. 26, according to an airport press release.

“Our program evaluates every part of the passenger journey,” said David Whitely, ACI vice president for marketing and communications. “We not only celebrate airports and offer them a competitive edge in an increasingly sophisticated industry, but demonstrate to passengers how airports adapt to the times, address passengers’ concerns and offer experiences to its customers.”

Employee satisfaction is another key objective in both reports.

“Southwest [Airlines] is known for its hub at Love Field and reflects its can-do attitude, convenience and attention to every traveler onto the airport,” said Southwest customer service representative, Sean Dennis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the global airport industry to a standstill with an estimated reduction in passenger traffic of 5.6 billion, according to an ACI media release.

Dallas Love Field, according to its website, is leading the evolution of the airport experience. | Photo from LinkedIn.

Despite this 76 percent nationwide reduction in passenger traffic since March 1, which financially devastated many airports, customer satisfaction has improved, as those still flying enjoy less crowded terminals and see airports taking special interest in passenger perceptions and prioritization of hygiene, according to a J.D. Power media release.

This is especially true for Dallas Love Field. The airport has demonstrated significant efforts in gathering passenger feedback to help better understand customers during the pandemic, said Chris Perry, Love Field communications and marketing manager.

"We aim to be the best medium-hub airport in the United States while leading the evolution of the airport experience," said Dallas Love Field Airport spokesperson, Chris Perry. "All of the decisions we’ve made in relation to capital improvements are related to that and improving our customer experience."
“We aim to be the best medium-hub airport in the United States while leading the evolution of the airport experience,” said Dallas Love Field Airport spokesperson, Chris Perry. “All of the decisions we’ve made in relation to capital improvements are related to that and improving our customer experience.” | Photo by Shutterstock.

“Our customers have shown time and time again that they appreciate our proactive responses,” Perry said. “That shows in our receiving of these honors and our ASQ overall satisfaction score of 4.48 out of 5 at the end of this year’s first quarter.”

The airport served nearly 17 million passengers in 2019, the most in its history, and already more than 5 million passengers this year, despite the pandemic, according to a Love Field total passengers report for August.

“We hope the SMU community continues making Dallas Love Field its airport of choice,” Perry said. “With our location, ease of use and seamless travel experience – one ticketing wing, one security checkpoint, one baggage claim – we have everything that busy SMU students and faculty could hope for in an airport.”

Featured

New American Airlines Procedures to Impact DFW Economy and SMU Students

American Airlines presented at Cowen’s Global Transportation and Sustainable Mobility Conference last week.

American Airlines aircrafts
American Airlines aircrafts | Photo by
Patrick T. Fallon of Bloomberg News

DALLAS – SMU students may struggle choosing which airline to fly over the quickly approaching holiday season, and DFW’s economy will, more than likely, experience a major blow.

Continue reading “New American Airlines Procedures to Impact DFW Economy and SMU Students”

How Instagram Reels Drive Success

Instagram Reels might take some getting used to, but they are worth it, allowing users to grow their brand and market themselves globally in a new and entertaining way. Facebook introduced Reels to Instagram last August, however the tool still feels like uncharted territory to many.

What are Instagram Reels?

In simple terms, Reels is Instagram’s tool for creating, sharing and discovering short, entertaining videos. These 15-second videos are designed to be easily shareable. Users can add music clips, audio files and other effects, similar to those we’re used to in Instagram Stories and other social platforms.

They can be shared with followers in feed and, with a public account, can become available to the wider Instagram community through the new space in Explore.

Instagram is constantly finding ways to compete and add new components to its platform. Reels allow the standard Instagram influencer to become a more developed, well-known content creator. Or, in the world of public relations, Reels allow brands to showcase their personalities and identities in fun and intriguing ways.

Once a Reel is shared on the Explore page, it is capable of becoming a global sensation. Other users can search for Reels based on hashtags, songs or audio used. Once a Reel gains a “Featured” label, it becomes more visible in Explore. Featured Reels are a selection of public reels chosen by Instagram for users to discover original content relevant to their interests.

Using Instagram Reels to grow your brand

Social media has become a great playmaker in how brands share their products, services and identity with the world. Just by scrolling through the Explore page, consumers may find their new favorite brand they’ll purchase a product or find inspiration from. Reels can be seen by anybody, whether or not the user has already expressed interest in the product you’re selling, the services you’re offering or the story you’re telling.

Reels should be treated as a tool for sharing entertaining snippets of brand culture. They have the ability to show a more human side of your brand, allowing you to form more genuine relationships with consumers. These short videos with filters, stickers, effects, music and audio that communicate what is often hidden on your Instagram profile page.

Instagram Reels vs. Stories

Reels are more long-lasting, finding their home on your profile and the Explore page, while stories go away after 24 hours but can be saved to Highlights on your profile for later viewing by visitors to your profile page.

Stories focus on the social aspect of Instagram we’ve come to know and love, while Reels focus on entertainment. Instagram is constantly elevating its platform to be a space for users to be social, share their lives, discover new content and, with Reels, be a source for entertainment.

Stories also focus on current followers, but Reels focus on discovering new followers. With that in mind, brands can share relevant information regarding their products, services and identity by sharing Reels that are engaging and entertaining. Give a glimpse into your brand that can instantly captivate viewers and encourage them to follow and interact with your profile.

Reels are created with entertaining a global audience in mind. To grow your brand’s audience, share Reels that are interactive and invite users to engage with the content being shared. Stories are great for big announcements for those already familiar with your brand, but Reels allow users to discover new brands they were missing.

Reels with good content can potentially assist in taking your brand from a local favorite to a global sensation is good content shared through Reels. Remember, consistency is key.

For brands already posting on Instagram and sharing Stories, consistency becomes very important, helping your audience keep a firm grasp on your brand’s identity and purpose. While Stories and Reels should be used in different circumstances, all content should maintain a high level of consistency.

PITCH: Dermatology Experts

Subject Line: Your New Favorite Skincare Product Recommendation

Hi XX,

Neora, a leader in science-based skincare and wellness products, has been empowering its customers for the past 10 years.

As a skincare and dermatology expert, we’d love to send you some products to review and provide your feedback on. If you’re interested in testing out our skincare products detailed below, please reply with your mailing address.

Acne Pads & Cleanser Combo
With Neora’s Acne Pads and Cleanser Combo, you get the perfect skincare pair. For your acne treatment to be effective, you need to start with a clean, fresh face. Our Age IQ® Double-Cleansing Face Wash combines the distinct properties of oil with the fresh feeling of a light foam. The Face Wash removes oil-based impurities and makeup, and then, with the addition of water, transforms into a soft, milky lather for deep-down cleansing. Followed with our powerful, daily-use, multifunctional Acne Treatment Pads –with salicylic acid and the patent-pending breakthrough molecule SIG-1459™ – you can clear up acne blemishes, blackheads and whiteheads, while simultaneously soothing your skin and evening your skin tone.

In addition, I’ve included the list of ingredients below my signature. Please let me know if you’d like to sample any of the products!

Best,
XX

Ingredients
Complexion Clearing Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Pads
Inactive Ingredient List: Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) fruit extract, caprylyl glycol, citric acid, disodium EDTA, disodium tetramethylhexadecenylcysteine formylprolinate*, lauryl glucoside, lemon (Citrus limon) fruit extract, niacinamide, orange (Citrus aurantium dulcis) fruit extract, phenoxyethanol, PPG-5 ceteth-20, sodium hydroxide, sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate, sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) extract, sugar maple (Acer saccharum) extract, water, witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) bark/leaf/twig extract.

Age IQ® Double-Cleansing Face Wash
Water (Aqua), Glycerin, PEG-75, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Sodium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Isostearate, Acrylates Copolymer, Sea Whip Extract, Raffinose, Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, Niacinamide, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Hexylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol.

How considering emotional intelligence will land you better employees

In the era of COVID-19, many professionals are scouring for a new job to replace the one they lost to the pandemic. With an influx of job candidates, human resources must turn to the increasingly popular scientific process of hiring candidates based on emotional intelligence (EI).

Strong EI is vital to forming teams that work together cohesively as they have a certain kind of professional chemistry that discerns them from the rest of the bunch.

It’s easy for a job candidate to rattle off their software proficiencies and case studies of happy bosses, clients or customers, and, unfortunately, it can sometimes be easy to overload a resume with a long list of skills and capabilities. However, a critical point of advancing one candidate in the interview process is to find out more about their personality and what attributes bring their resume to life.

What will help HR managers finetune their search for their company’s next rockstar employee is investigating candidates’ ability to identify, assess and manage the emotions of oneself, and to positively impact those of others and of groups.

Elements of emotional intelligence

EI accounts for 85-90 percent of the difference between outstanding leaders and their more average peers, and there are four dimensions to emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Embracing these nuances of human emotion in the workplace can have pragmatic benefits, such as better collaboration among employees and a happier workplace.

Self-Awareness

Understanding yourself involves knowing your weaknesses, strengths, motivators, values and impact on others. Self-aware employees are self-confident but still show a thirst for constructive criticism. They plan their time properly and manage deadlines proactively.

Self-Management

The ability to control and redirect disruptive impulses, moods and thoughts keep good employees on track. These employees can handle the complexities of life all at once by compartmentalizing when is right and when is wrong to address certain issues, thus keeping their focus on work while at work. They can adapt to changing situations, no matter how difficult, and constantly push to better themselves.

Social Awareness

Employees with high social awareness show empathy, organizational awareness and value service at the workplace. This is important when tasked with making critical decisions and working while being sensitive to cross-cultural differences. For example, this type of employee would understand what tasks his or her boss perceives as more important than others.

Relationship Management

The foundation of relationship management consists of cooperation and teamwork. Employees with strong relationship management skills can handle emotions in relationships well and accurately read social situations, interacting smoothly. These skills can be used to persuade, lead, negotiate and settle disputes. Basically, strong relationship management means a good team player that works well with others.

What emotional intelligence means for hiring managers

The competitive job market allows employers to more carefully analyze job candidates for certain intrinsic qualities that will enhance the company’s profitability. Technical skills and responsibility are necessary for any employee to possess, but when it boils down to which job candidate is more likely to deserve a promotion in the future, interpersonal skills are the most distinguishable traits.

In fact, 71 percent of employers say they value emotional intelligence over IQ, according to a CareerBuilder survey, for the following reasons:

  • Employees [with high EI] are more likely to stay calm under pressure
  • Employees know how to resolve conflict effectively
  • Employees are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly
  • Employees lead by example
  • Employees tend to make more thoughtful business decisions

What makes a leader better than the average employee

Two job candidates may seem identical on paper, but work does not simply get done just through email. Successful work involves building and nurturing relationships, strong listening skills and interacting with others. This is why it’s important to consider job candidates’ emotional intelligence during the interview process. Leaders may not sound better on paper. The average, however, do.

Emotional intelligence differentiates the most successful employees and leaders from the average. When every employee is just about as smart as one another, those with these abilities win the competitive edge. If you want to hire an employee that will be worthy of a promotion and develop into a leader, you must start considering interviewing for emotional intelligence.

PITCH: Community Partner Outreach Template

Subject Line: Exclusive Hard Hat Tour: Dallas’ Newest Co-Warehousing Space for Entrepreneurs

Hi X,

Saltbox, a new co-warehousing space for physical goods startups and entrepreneurs, will celebrate its Dallas location’s grand opening on March 1, and we’d love to invite you and your team to view the space first!

Dallas’ 66,000 square-foot facility includes 100 private co-warehousing suites and 15 office spaces, in addition to an array of modern workplace amenities and conveniences.

Saltbox offers flexible, purpose-built spaces for entrepreneurs with physical goods. From logistics enablement and secure inventory storage, to photography studios and conference rooms – Saltbox offers the perfect blend of infrastructure and creative space all under one roof. It’s the new go-to home for your startup or small business.

On behalf of Saltbox, we would like to extend an invitation to you and your team for a sneak peek facility tour the week of February 22.

If you’re interested, please let me know what day and time works best for a 30-minute tour. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

[SIGNATURE]

4 ways to cultivate creativity

Creativity involves more than encouraging employees to become thought leaders. Cultivating creativity is a process and should be a priority inside and out of the office.

These skills enhance problem-solving, team collaboration, innovation, communication and growth. Creativity is not reserved for writers or artists, it’s beneficial to all employees as it can help them grow and push personal and professional boundaries. So how can cultivating creativity become a goal-oriented task on every company’s to-do list?

In order to foster creativity, consider these tips: collaboration, do your homework, and embrace change and bravery.

1. Collaboration

First things first: every employee must be willing to work with others to expand upon and develop ideas that will bring in revenue, stronger relationships with clients and long-term success. More intuitive minds working together will increase the likelihood of creative and successful results, and provide more diverse perspectives, ideas and resources.

Diversity is an important aspect to consider regarding collaboration and creativity. It is all too easy to get stuck in a rut with the same old ideas and reworking past innovations. Bringing in different backgrounds allows ideas to flow more collaboratively and the ideas that result will appeal to wider audiences.

Appealing to larger audiences gives your new, creative idea the chance to evolve and adapt to audiences over time. As social and political issues change and continue to impact the professional world, innovations that consider a wide range of audiences will have longer lifetimes. Innovations that only appeal to a certain demographic group at a certain time might get the job done at the moment, but it won’t last, and you’ll be right back at the drawing board once the idea is no longer relevant for that target audience.

Teamwork makes innovation easier and more successful in the long run. Have genuine conversations with your team. Even when the discussion diverts and goes off onto a tangent, good conversations can help creative thinking flow.

Don’t be too proud to lean on coworkers when whipping up new ideas. It saves time, resulting in more efficient usage of the workday and more profitable ideas.

2. Do your homework

The job doesn’t begin when it begins. It begins days, weeks or even months prior to actually sitting down at your desk and crafting up a project plan or campaign.

To improve your creative skills, get used to doing your homework and staying curious. It’s important to research industry news and developments, products, services and anything else that could inform your new, creative ideas.If you ever have questions about an idea you’re working on, do the research required to be more informed on the topic you’re developing.

When crafting these new ideas, be sure to write down every thought you have. Having a notebook to work out of is a great way to keep your ideas, questions and research data organized. It’s also important to write down even crazy thoughts you have while daydreaming. There are no dumb questions, and, sometimes, those questions further your creative spirit and inform your future endeavors.

If your creativity brings you to the point of delivering a presentation to your peers or executive team, you must have the research, data and statistics to support your plans. You will be asked hard questions, especially if your ideas are unconventional or extensively creative, so you want to be prepared for any questions that come your way.

Part of growing as a creative is continuing your education. Learn everything there is to know about the happenings of your industry and competitors. This research is the backbone of every new idea you present to your team.

3. Embrace change

With creativity comes change. You will have to step out of your comfort zone and feel slightly uncomfortable in order to grow and improve.

An idea that sounds amazing and doable today, may not sound the same tomorrow. Ideas and plans are always changing in the professional world, so you have to be able to adapt quickly and effortlessly.

The idea you pitch at first will continue to evolve and transform in major ways before the idea is actually acted upon and implemented.

In order to survive a competitive market, once great ideas evolve into entirely new ways or working or living. For example, Netflix began as a DVD rental company and is now the most popular streaming service for movies and television shows. The original product was once a great idea, but it needed to adapt to the changing landscape of how people consume television and film. If it didn’t, it could have failed like Blockbuster.

It’s okay to feel uncertain about your changing ideas, but embrace and accept the twists and turns of the idea journey. Do not feel discouraged when your idea undergoes a total transformation. You got the ball rolling and ended up with a great new product!

Creativity is how change manifests; it’s a process and takes time.

4. Be brave

It takes a special kind of person to realize the importance of bravery when it comes to creativity. It’s a lot of trial and error and could include many late nights full of impending failure. It sounds scary, but it comes with the job.

Developing ideas and changing them constantly never truly results in failure. Even when your attempts fail, with the right mindset, your team learns valuable lessons that will help with future success.

A million failed ideas are not real failures, they’re just a million ideas that helped you get to the final idea that did work.

Learning to be creative is not a simple task. It takes practice, time, effort and problem solving. These four skills, however, will enhance your journey to becoming a creative powerhouse. Never quit thinking, playing and creating.

The Pandemic’s Impact on Ernst and Young’s Dallas Office

Dallas Ernst and Young employees share their thoughts on how the pandemic has impacted business travel this year.

Ernst & Young (EY), a global leader in consulting, transactions, assurance and tax, has experienced many changes to the way its Dallas office operates since the start of the pandemic this past March. The biggest change: business travel.

Most people (71 percent) have not traveled for business purposes at all in the past 12 months, said the Statista Global Consumer Survey.
Most people (71 percent) have not traveled for business purposes at all in the past 12 months, said the Statista Global Consumer Survey.

The business travel industry is estimated to have lost $518 billion since March, according to Global Business Travel Association.

Staff members typically travel around to different EY offices’ clients to perform inventory counts, but these paying-your-dues-like tasks work more strangely now than before.

Remember how Santa makes his list and checks it twice? Well, the “checking it twice” task is left to EY staff. Inventory counts ensure businesses accurately report their financial reports to consumers each quarter. EY staff act as Santa’s little elves, traveling during the global pandemic to – yes – count things. Aren’t you glad you didn’t major in accounting?

Katharine (Katie) Camp, 22, is one of Santa’s elves. She graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in May 2020 and received her job offer from EY last December. She waited and waited to receive her start date as EY’s newest Assurance Staff, but the pandemic kept pushing it back – from the beginning of 2020 all the way to September.

“Santa” is no other than Cesar Garcia, 26, who started as one of the many other elves in August 2018 but was promoted to Assurance Senior this year.

Meet the stars of the story, EY employees Katie Camp and Cesar Garcia.

Cesar “Santa” Garcia tells his elves – staff members – which clients of which EY locations to pay visits to to conduct inventory counts. Katie the Elf knew inventory counts were part of the job when she received her offer, but once COVID happened, she figured she wasn’t going to be traveling as much as she had expected, she said.

While leisure travel was down 50% year-over-year in Aug., corporate travel was down 88%, said a recent research note from Bank of America analysts.

Way back pre-COVID, Katie was looking forward to attending happy hours with colleagues and laughing it up at elaborate EY holiday parties. “Every college student envisions their first job out of college to be very exciting, and they look forward to becoming friends with coworkers,” Katie said.

But that dream came to a grinding halt once COVID made its way overseas. “I was really looking forward to hanging out with coworkers, but I haven’t been able to do that. I never got to do that; I attended a Baptist school. I haven’t ever even been inside the Dallas EY office or met any of my coworkers.”

Once Katie finally got to start her dream job at her dream company this past September, she was asked about her comfort levels regarding doing anything in-person.

“Since I was in Arkansas for school during EY’s interview season, I was able to be interviewed virtually,” said Camp. “This is the first year EY implemented virtual interviews. I was also a volleyball player, and interviews took place during the season, so it was interesting trying out virtual interviews before the pandemic even hit.” | Photo by Ernst & Young.

“EY asked everyone who was comfortable with in-person inventory counts to partake, depending on family situation and health,” Katie said. Everyone realizes inventory counts aren’t “the most fun tasks, but they still beat staying in your room.” Traveling around the state is her “only way to get experience outside of my house for right now.”

“I like being able to show the company how I’m still willing to put in the work, do what needs to be done and get to know the clients in-person,” she said.

Katie’s first inventory count took her to West Texas. She drove a rental car although she was expecting EY to allow her to fly, but the client’s safety personnel preferred she drove. “I was doing a count for the EY team out of the country in Canada.”

She said how the company is really trying to keep employees as local as possible, avoiding as much contact with others as they could. Staff members could be assigned to work for any EY office from around the globe, but now are being assigned to accounts based on geographical location.

Approaching her third inventory count, Katie is beginning to feel the impact of the pandemic. “During the orientations, employees always mention that they’re following health and safety protocols.”

“Staying in hotels is the strangest. It’s a little lonely,” Katie said. “It makes traveling a little awkward – being around other people for the first time in a long time and not being able to socialize with anyone at the hotel bars or restaurants.”

"The two main clients I oversee are Berkshire Automotive and Top Golf," said Cesar Garcia.
“The two main clients I oversee are Berkshire Automotive and Top Golf,” said Cesar Garcia. | Photo by Berkshire Hathaway Automotive.

While Cesar’s elves are off conducting these tasks, he works from home and overlooks engagements. His job as an Assurance Senior requires him to manage downward and upward, update executives on the status of clients and “double check inventory counts and financial reports clients show to the market,” Garcia said.

“Before the pandemic and my promotion, I was going on inventory counts all over the state. One even took me to Alaska!”

Now, Garcia says, overlooking inventory counts is a little bit of a struggle. However, “it’s proven that, as a firm, you don’t need to be together, working elbow to elbow, constantly to still get close to your teams.”

Garcia used to visit clients’ offices every day, but now he has to jump on calls or schedule virtual meetings to answer client questions.

Bill Gates, Microsoft Co-Founder, has even inserted his opinion on business travel during the Nov. Deal Book online summit hosted by New York Times. “My prediction would be that over 50 percent of business travel and over 30 percent of days in the office will go away,” Gates said.

Now, Cesar tends to sit on Zoom meetings with clients and just sit in silence – cameras on, microphones off – while working “just to act like you’re in the same room.”

“It feels a little distant and hard to not be working with people,” Cesar said. “I can’t meet my new staff, so it’s a little upsetting. We still do the same great work, but it just feels different doing the same things but virtually.”

“I miss traveling to visit with my clients and meet my staff on inventory counts.” The pandemic can’t end soon enough, said the EY Assurance Senior.

Campaign Plan: StreamSum

StreamSum is a start-up technology brand in the live stream analytics industry. As Account Co-Supervisor at Boulevard Consulting, I helped lead the agency’s communications campaign for StreamSum from August-December 2020.

As Account Co-Supervisor, I was in charge of client communication and internal communication with Boulevard Consulting, a student-run Public Relations Agency at Southern Methodist University.

For all assets of this campaign, including the campaign plan and campaign presentation, please view the below files.

SMU Student Employment

Being a student at Southern Methodist University (SMU) is already a full-time job, but thousands of SMU students seek part-time employment throughout their college years.

SMU students work for an abundant of various reasons. Some students work to pay their own tuition while others work to afford rent for off-campus housing (apartments and the like) or on-campus room and board. These payments are hefty and are rising steadily.

“Tuition has recently grown the fastest at public and private non-profit institutions, for which tuition has gone up 65% and 50%, respectively, since 2000,” said USA Facts in a 2019 analysis.

While some students work just to be able to stay in school, others work for extra spending money or to be able to join other student organizations, such as Greek life or other clubs.

The top five reasons why college students work include: to help meet their financial needs, to gain experience in their field, to build up an employment history for use on resumes, to do something productive and for social and personal connections, said an article from The Tab.

“Each student is different, and it is part of our mission to help students balance their academic goals, social activities and part-time employment,” said SMU’s Student Employment Office (SEO).

Considering SMU’s reputation for having an ambitious and extremely busy student population, it isn’t much of a stretch to say that most students work while in school.

In fact, a 2018 US Department of Education report indicates that 43 percent of all full-time undergraduate students and 81 percent of part-time students were employed and worked at least 10 hours a week while enrolled.

We can assume the various reasons why SMU students work throughout their college careers, but where are they working, and how many hours are they working?

Working to Help Meet Financial Needs

Mikayla (Kayla) Hernandez, a senior at SMU majoring in Biochemistry with minors in Spanish, Mathematics and Neuroscience, has held five jobs since starting at SMU nearly four years ago.

Her first job was working at SMU, serving as a writing tutor in the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC). Hernandez worked up to ten hours a week, and her duties consisted of making herself “available either in-person or online to assist other SMU students with different pieces of writing. These pieces could be anything from resumes to class assignments or applications,” said Hernandez.

Kayla Hernandez is a senior SMU student that has worked five jobs since beginning her college career.
“Working and being a full-time student has taught me that the world is extremely fast-paced and relatively unforgiving. In general, it is up to you ,and you only to work hard enough to keep up with the demands of life,” said Hernandez. | Photo by Kayla Hernandez

Being a tutor isn’t her only employment opportunity provided by SMU. For the past two years, Hernandez has worked as a Resident’s Assistant (RA) in McElvaney Commons, one of 11 on-campus Residential Commons. You may consider Residential Commons to be SMU’s form of dormitories, as many other college institutions call them.

“As an RA, I am required to monitor the state of the building and ensure the safety of residents while upholding SMU’s Student Code of Conduct,” she said. “This job has odd hours, as I am expected to perform my duties at all hours of the day, but I would classify this role as a 20-hours-a-week commitment.”

Finally, Hernandez has worked up to 10 hours a week as a lifeguard at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas (JCC), served as a youth swimming instructor, also at the JCC, for up to 10 hours a week, and is currently working as a private tutor for a local high school student for 10 hours a week, of course, while still serving her McElvaney Commons community as an RA.

“I chose to work during college as a way to earn extra spending money for myself and as a way to gain experience for my resume,” Hernandez said. “As someone looking to enter the medical field it is important to show your experience working in teams and with and for other people in a variety of capacities.”

It’s a lot of work being a full-time SMU student with multiple jobs, said Hernandez. Kayla is part of the 11 percent of full-time college students who has worked 10 to 19 hours each week throughout school, according to a 2018 National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) report on college student employment. As of 2018, 53 percent of full-time college students work while in school, said the NCES report.

“On top of my paid work, I also volunteer for organizations on campus, so I often find myself spread very thin. That being said, it is an extremely rewarding experience being able to push myself and earn my own money while I study.”

Working part-time while in school allows college students to have a more structured schedule. In college, there is a lot more “down time,” as some students may only have class for a couple hours on some days. With all that extra time not in class, college students find themselves still wishing to be productive and contribute to their school or community in some manner.

Working to Do Something Productive

Molly Lipsett is a junior at SMU majoring in Engineering Management, Information and Systems (EMIS) as well as Mathematics and is minoring in History.

Molly Lipsett is a junior SMU student working as Equipment Manager for the SMU Mustangs Football team.
“Being a full-time student and working can be stressful, especially if I have to work over 20 hours,” Lipsett said. “Sometimes, I feel like I don’t have enough time to finish everything and sleep but, typically, I really enjoy it.” | Photo by Molly Lipsett.

Lipsett works 15 to 20 hours a week, Monday through Friday, as Equipment Manager for the SMU Mustangs Football team. In her role, she is paid to organize and distribute gear and equipment as well as help set up for football games.

“I chose to work because I wanted to have a more structured schedule. I am more successful when I have structure and less free time,” Lipsett said. “Working and being a student has really taught me time management and how to work on a structured schedule; both have contributed to my success as a student.”

Working to Build Up an Employment History for Use on Resumes

Listen to Abba Yaney as she expresses the lessons she’s learned from working while in college.
Abba Yaney has recently started her first career job, working for the City of Plano as a marketing specialist. | Photo by Sarah Blaze Photography.

Exemplifying another one of the top five reasons why college students choose to work throughout school is Abigail (Abba) Yaney, SMU senior majoring in Public Relations and Strategic Communication and Psychology.

Yaney has held numerous jobs throughout her college career, including nannying for multiple families, working in SMU’s Office of the Provost and other paid internships that weren’t for credit.

SMU students choose to work part-time while enrolled as full-time students for a variety of reasons, but it is becoming more common for students to choose to do so. It is likely that this trend will continue, especially considering the recent pandemic’s financial impact on families and students alike. Two-thirds of college students have said the pandemic has changed their outlook on their financial future, according to CNBC’s Michelle Gao and WalletHub’s 2020 College Student Financial survey. “Most college students are working as they study, but the amount and type of work varies widely. And the forces behind those variances aren’t random,” said Inside Higher Ed.

A Travel Advisor’s Purpose During the Pandemic

Carolyn Harvey, owner of Caribella Travel, speaks on her experience as a travel advisor who found her passion for travel at a young age.

Carolyn Harvey on a cruise in Haiti. | Photo by Carolyn Harvey.

DALLAS – Deciding to open your own travel agency may sound like a large feat, but when your philosophy is “if you want something done right, you do it yourself,” that isn’t the case. It definitely wasn’t the case when Carolyn Harvey, 49, decided to start Caribella Travel a decade ago.

Continue reading “A Travel Advisor’s Purpose During the Pandemic”