By Andrea Citrin Gardner
At Banner Brunch on April 12, Rosemary Hook will be honored with the Gladys Whitney Hearst Outstanding Chapter Member Award. Recipients of the award are dedicated to the success of WCA, are respected leaders in the field of communications, and best represent the most desirable qualities of WCA membership.
Rosemary is a certified career coach and executive recruiter with Hook The Talent, Inc., as well as a budding creative writer under Writings By Rosemary. With her writing hat on, she’s finishing her first book, The Mystery Behind The Masters – a how-to book for professionals considering a return to school for a master’s degree as a component for launching into a new career. When she’s not busy coaching, recruiting, or writing, Rosemary blogs from her heart via HooksDownUnder.com
An alumna of CMU with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and a Master of Liberal Arts in Humanities & English Writing from St. Edward’s University, Rosemary is certified as a Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Practitioner and a Professional in Career Management (PCM). Together with her late husband, “Hook,” she created the Dr. Allan W. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund open to any student in the world from any discipline who is interested in conducting creative research at the Wild Basin, a 221-acre preserve in Austin.
Rosemary has been a member of WCA since 2007. In her first two years, she offered complimentary resume reviews for members followed by three years of hosting the Careers Over Coffee North forums, which offered an intimate and comfortable gathering place for members to bring their career questions and ponder next steps in their career development. For the last two WCA Banner Brunches, Rosemary has contributed her education insight as part of the Jo Caldwell Meyer Scholarship Recipient Committee.
WCA: Tell us a little about what you’re working on these days.
Rosemary: Well, I wear many hats. I am a blog-writer, speaker, coach and recruiter facilitator. When I’m wearing my recruiting hat, I help companies hook the talent they need by hosting recruiting events or offering career development workshops for the talent they already have. When I’m wearing my coaching hat, I act as a guide to my clients, coaching them to hook the talent inside themselves. I am often asked, “Which do you like better, coaching or recruiting?” My answer, “I love them both so I do them both because they serve the same purpose: To lead people to careers that feed their soul.”
When I’m not coaching or recruiting, I write about life via my blog.
WCA: So tell us how long you have been a member of WCA and in what roles over the years?
Rosemary: I have been a member since 2007, so about seven years. My roles have changed over the years. I started out in a behind-the-scenes roll of resume critiquer for two years and then added Careers Over Coffee North to my tasks. I then became part of the career services team as well as a contributor to the social media subcommittee and I’ve blogged for WCA, too. One of the articles I wrote was on mentors another was on the power of the Latina. The last couple of years I have been on the scholarship committee and have helped to pick the recipients for the Jo Caldwell Meyer scholarship.
WCA: What first brought you to the organization, and how have you seen the organization change over the years?
Rosemary: I originally got called to critique resumes because of my background. I honestly hadn’t heard of the organization, but loved the idea of helping other women. And after that, I was involved deeply.
This organization has been great at adapting. It’s a professional association that switches gears based on the needs of the market and over the years has seen a growth in membership because they have been great at marketing themselves well as a professional networking organization. People have started to understand the need to build relationships. This is what WCA does naturally; it is the ideal organization that helps take care of members through incredibly strong programming, communication tools and programs that allow members multiple ways to be involved in the organization. For the morning person, there are morning meet-ups such as Careers Over Coffee, there are luncheons for those that prefer afternoon meet-ups and even cocktail meet-ups for those that are better in the evening. And there are many things to do online as well. It is a flexible organization that understands the diverse needs of its member base. It works with everyone, but has been a great organization to help individuals who are in flux move through a career change.
WCA: What is it about the organization that keeps you coming back?
Rosemary: I truly love the group and even wrote a blog about how sometimes the Careers Over Coffee groups feel like Cheers because there’s such a feeling of belonging and everybody knows your name. This organization is run by so many smart women that that alone energizes me. This was a tough year for me personally and I wasn’t able to show up in person for many things yet I still felt the camaraderie and sisterhood from afar. The spirit of WCA and its members is strong.
WCA: How do you feel participation has contributed to your professional and personal growth?
Rosemary: As I started volunteering it helped me develop skills and test out programs that I wanted to use in my career. When I began my membership, I was with St. Edwards’s University. After I started to host the Careers Over Coffee North forum, this helped me to figure out how to incorporate a similar program at St. Eds. When I launched Hook The Talent, I started doing two different coffee forums based on what I had done at WCA and then just expanded the program. When I wanted to hone my writing skills, I volunteered to write blog posts. There’s nothing that can make you a better writer than having other members edit your work.
WCA has contributed to the foundation for my creative ideas allowing me to test the waters before implementing professionally. One of the highlights of being a member is that if you want to try something out skill-wise, you can test your talents at WCA through volunteer opportunities.
WCA: As a long-term member what accomplishments have made you the most proud?
Rosemary: I really enjoy and thrive on being part of WCA knowing that there are members who look forward to Careers Over Coffee events. We got a reputation that no matter what was going on, no matter the weather (kind of like the post office) the Careers Over Coffee group would meet. It is something people look forward to and can count on. People always knew they were welcome and no matter why you came to the meeting, whether to ask for advice on specific issues or to ask about an employment contact, you could always get help and insight for your question, need or problem. Sometimes members even helped me to come up with later talk ideas. The group has always been very accepting of the needs of its members and allowed for a variety of questions and needs. There is no right or wrong just what works in the moment. Careers Over Coffee has been like having a place that’s called home and making it a home for other people too. And it wasn’t just me making it work as the facilitator. It wouldn’t work without members participating. It has been a combination of the facilitator and all members sharing and because of this, people come back for advice as well as to help others.
WCA: What advice would you give others regarding making the most of their membership?
Rosemary: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And what I mean by that is be cognizant of the fact that what you are asking as a favor may be something that the person you are asking charges for as their profession. It’s how they pay their bills. So, when you have an ask, think first “is it a reasonable ask and how would I feel if someone asked me?” Be aware that we have a variety of members, many of which run small service businesses or are freelancers. This means that “favor” you’re asking for is actually a service they offer with a charge. On the other side of that, when you‘re in a position to give to a reasonable ask, please do it. I make connections for people all the time as I know my WCA sisters do as well. E-introductions are quick and easy ways for us to give back to one another.
I’ve always felt that the spirit of WCA has been the members and their helpfulness with one another. You can even see that on the forum when we share things. We want to respect the boundaries and respect the relationship enough to contribute when we can. It’s a great organization that shares more than work information. We help each other, even when it’s a personal issue. So, I like to say, we are always professional, but not always business.