Distinguished Speaker Series: Alumni Sandy Bauer

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Sandy Bauer

The College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Speaker of 2015, Sandy Bauer, spoke to a group of eager students preparing for graduation on Tuesday May 5th. The event, which was hosted by Dr. Kevin Johnson of the Communication Studies Department, highlighted Bauer’s impressive accomplishments, as well as her unique career trajectory. “The Communication Studies Department created the yearly Distinguished Speaker series as a solution to no longer having commencement speakers for graduating seniors. We invite a distinguished alumni to speak for an evening and offer students advice on how they achieved their career success,” said Dr. Johnson. Bauer shared with students her relatable life lessons and her no-nonsense way to achieving one’s career goals in a highly-competitive industry. Bauer’s work history began at none other than the so-called happiest place on earth, Disneyland Park. After returning to CSULB, she made the huge leap to her current occupation as Director of Human Resources at D.D. Dunlap and Owner of Red Table Restaurant.

Bauer’s road map to her current career success wasn’t a straight shot though. After a few bumps in the road, Bauer found herself single for the first time in her life with two young children to support. “What inspired me to want to better myself through education? Fear. I wanted to provide my children with a comfortable life, and so I had to make the decision to go back to school and better myself.” Bauer enrolled at CSULB as a returning college student with a GPA of 1.5, but after a few years of hard work she was able to graduate from her Master’s program with an impressive 3.8 GPA. Armed with the skills and knowledge gained through her learning experiences at CSULB, Bauer was able to land the first of several jobs that paved the way to achieving a fulfilling career. Dr. Timothy Plax of the Communication Studies Department taught Bauer during her Master’s program and had this to say, “I know Sandy Bauer as a student and a friend, and she has a diversity of experiences to share with you tonight. She represents the finest of our graduate students that we have facilitated through our program”.

After graduating from our Department, Bauer held several communication related fields, serving as a Technical Writer for the Software Company Wynne Systems, Director of Meetings and Conventions for the Hilton Hotel of Long Beach, Social Events Manager of the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, and Director of Sales Training at the Hilton Hotel in the San Diego Sales Complex. All of Bauer’s career leaps have the same thing in common: knowing when it’s time to go so that you can grow, knowing your worth and what you can bring to the table, and knowing that you sometimes need to take a risk and push yourself to the next level.

Bauer stressed her next hot tip: “Find a mentor! It’s amazingly important to have someone whom you can ask questions. Trust me, people find it flattering when you ask them for advice.” Bauer credits her speech communication skills of argumentation and debate in helping to sell herself back into a job after being laid off. “The Vice President of sales for Hilton Corporation said, ‘I’m so sorry to have to lay you off.’ But after a 30 minute conversation with him I changed his mind. How? I knew how to negotiate and I knew how to form a logical argument. Most people don’t know how to say, ‘This is what you need and here I am’. I learned this valuable skill at CSULB,” said Bauer. She also made it clear that keeping positive business relationships with past employers is crucial, and that the connections could lead to more amazing opportunities in the future.

The event rounded-off with Bauer taking personal questions from students who were looking for advice on whether they should acquire an advanced degree (Bauer said, “Yes, go for it!), what to do when you feel stagnate in your career (“Move on to move up,” said Bauer.) and what she looks for when interviewing people: “First impressions are everything. The number one thing I look for is a strong handshake and good eye contact. Next, is knowing something about the company that you’re interviewing for. Lastly, don’t be so desperate, no matter how much you need the job. In my professional experience, you don’t really want every job you apply for and it’s best to have your heart in it.”

Bauer closed with what she believes to be the most invaluable trait a young professional should possess, she said, “Be honest with yourself first. Be in a situation that you enjoy and don’t compromise yourself or your integrity. Ask yourself in everything you do, ‘Did I do the right thing?'”