“When finding a career path, be open to having a meandering path, but don’t blindly wander,” said Stephanie Ortiz, Executive Dean of the Nevada County’s Sierra College Campus, to a group of local high school students on Wednesday night. “Finding a career path is not always a straight line; it’s more of a meandering path with mistakes and learning opportunities along the way, and a path that allows you to look back with perspective.”
Ortiz addressed 20 students from Bear River and Nevada Union high schools as the guest speaker in the second season of the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation’s Speaker Series. The series brings business education – through access to business leaders and real-life leadership experiences and advice – to local high school students.
Ortiz has been in education for more than 30 years at the community college and university levels. She has served as the Executive Dean of Sierra College’s Nevada County Campus since 2009. Prior to that, she was the Dean of the Business and Technology Instructional Division. She’s also taught in business at Sierra College, Mt. San Antonio Community College and California State University, Fresno. Before beginning her career in education, she worked in human resources management for The Fresno Bee newspaper and General Dynamics, Pomona Division.
Ortiz discussed the opportunities available at Sierra College, the benefits of attending a community college, and the importance of exploring careers. She also shared the “soft” skills – adaptability, analysis and solution mindset, collaboration, communication, digital fluency, entrepreneurial thinking, empathy, resilience, self-awareness, and social diversity awareness – necessary for today’s work force.
The second season of the Speaker Series features six speakers, one each month, and will run through April. Upcoming speakers include Anita Oberbauer, Professor and Chair of the Department of Animal Science, University of California Davis; and Caroline Beteta, CEO of Visit California.
About the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation: The Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation’s mission is to support and improve the community’s Fairgrounds, and to support youth in agriculture. For information, visit here.