By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Philip Goodwin was a founding member of Young Professionals of Stillwater. Today, the Oklahoma State University Career Services assistant director of employer relations is a member of the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors.
He also was honored as Young Professional of the Year earlier this month at the chamber annual meeting and banquet.
Goodwin recently sat down with the NewsPress and discussed his job at Career Services, Young Professionals of Stillwater and his involvement with the Chamber of Commerce.
How did you get involved with the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce and Young Professionals of Stillwater?
“I’ve been involved with the Chamber for a number of years. It started when I was at the Wes Watkins Center. We were Chamber members and I became active. I first served on the board of the Convention and Visitors Bureau which was a contract administered by the Chamber at the time. Shortly after that I came onto the Chamber Board of Directors and am finishing my second term there. Gosh, it was six or seven years ago, we started the Young Professionals of Stillwater. I was fortunate enough to be at the table when we had our initial discussions about creating YPS and what it would look like and what it would mean. ... It was really initiated by the Chamber at the time. So, we started the group and I’ve been involved in a number of different roles over the years — both on the board and in volunteer capacities. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to be involved with that group and see it grow and flourish in Stillwater.”
What is YPS and what does it do?
“YPS is a great outlet for young professionals. It caters to the 20s and 30s professionals living and working in Stillwater. We don’t turn anyone away. People of any age are welcome to be involved with YPS and come to the things we do. There are a lot of elements to YPS ranging from educational to social to even athletic. We do a number of things. We have lunch and learns. We have service events to help the community of Stillwater and get involved. We do networking nights where members can get together and socialize in different settings. ... We do a number of different special activities as well.”
Is there a YPS activity that is well-known throughout the community?
“One program that we have worked on and really become a big program for YPS is called Holiday Heroes. It’s an annual Christmas party for all the foster families in Payne County. That has certainly become a large event over the years. YPS’ involvement has grown and grown. That’s been a great one. It serves nearly 50 foster familes and over 100 foster children every year. We bring them together for a Christmas party and feed them dinner. ... They get to see Santa and get a gift from Santa. It’s really a great night. Everything is supported by local individuals, businesses and, of course, YPS.
How long have you been assistant director of employer relations with Career Services?
“I’ve been here for just over five years. Career Services is the hub between students and employers. We serve students in helping them find jobs. We help them throughout the job search from resume development to interview skills to negotiating the job offers as they come in. We help them with all types of jobs. As freshmen when they come in a lot of them need part-time jobs or work study and so we help them with those opportunities. On the employers’ side, which is the side that I primarily work in, we serve employers — all kinds of employers. Those that have internships, part-time jobs, co-ops, full-time jobs in Stillwater, outside of Stillwater and all around the world actually. We help them connect with students, graduates and alumni and facilitate that process.”
Do you mainly work with current students or alumni?
“We serve alumni as well as students. It’s a relatively new facet for us. It’s really about six years old that we’ve really been serving alumni in a formal way. We have a connection with the OSU Alumni Association. Any member of the Alumni Association can add a Career Services component to their membership for $10 a year. It qualifies them for all the services we offer to students. It’s a growing need in the work force. What we hear from employers a lot is to connect with those alumni not the current students or recent grads. Those who have been out in the industry for some years are a hot commodity in a lot of different industries.”
Are more graduates and alums turning to Career Services because of the recession?
“It became a lot more important for a lot of our alumni who found themselves without jobs during the recession. We did see a good number of those folks coming back to us for help and helping them to re-engage in this job search. We’ve been pretty fortunate in this region and here in Stillwater, Okla. I don’t think that we have felt the effects as much as a lot of folks around the country.”