Staff Spotlight: Meet Chalvonna Teachey

Q: What is your role at the SEAS Career Services Center (i.e., W. Scott Amey Career Services Center)? 

A: I am the Director of SEAS Career Services and I primarily work with employers, helping them to connect with our talented students. In addition to partnering with companies, organizations, and government agencies, I am responsible for ensuring that students, faculty/staff, alumni have access to career development resources. With the help of my small but mighty team, we are able to pursue our mission of (1) empowering GW SEAS students, faculty/staff, and alumni to be major contributors to their local and global community and (2) cultivating curiosity by providing access to holistic personal and professional development.

Q: What’s your favorite part about working at the SEAS Career Services Center?

A: I have several favorite things about working at SEAS Career Services, but I’ll narrow it down to two. First, my absolute favorite thing about working in the SEAS Career Services Center is having students come into the office just to celebrate a new internship or job. As a team, we miss that aspect of our jobs dearly and encourage students and alumni to share their success stories here! Second, I enjoy traveling internationally with the Office of Graduate Admissions and SEAS alumni to meet admitted students prior to their arrival in the States. Career outcomes are the primary reason our students attend GW (domestic and international), and I like being there for students before they set foot on campus.  It’s been a pleasure to meet students (and their families) abroad, watch them grow personally and professionally, attend their graduation, and welcome them to life’s next journey.

Q: What is the most impactful career lesson you’ve learned thus far?

A: Have the confidence to challenge the status quo and your way of thinking. At most companies, your voice is very important and you were likely hired for your skillset as well as the perspective you bring to the team. Asking critical but constructive questions helps dissipate groupthink and introduce new ideas into the workforce. However, be sure to question your assumptions as well.

Q: Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? If so, what is it? What does it mean to you?

A: “We’re all just pretending to have ‘it’ together”.  Just before one of my elder’s passed away I asked him, “When did you figure life out? When did everything make sense? How did you do it?”. His response was simple, “I didn’t. Let me tell you a secret, we’re all pretending to have it together – even me, after 80+ years. What’s important is to keep trying”. From that day on, I realized that our lives and consequently our personal and professional development will never be a straight, predictable path. Most times you won’t feel like you have your life ‘together’ — but most people don’t. Keep learning. Keep trying.

Q: Why should SEAS students and alumni visit the SEAS Career Services Center?

A: Career services might seem scary, but we are here to help you navigate the joys and challenges of professional development. Also, it is much easier for you to look silly in front of us instead of a recruiter.  Make a counseling appointment today!

Q: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life, including the personal and the professional. What lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic?

A: At the risk of being cliche, I’ve been focusing on self-care during the pandemic. Whether it be a good book, Netflix, a nap, doing at-home spa treatments, or cuddling with my dog Gruffalo, I’ve made a point to prioritize well-being. Not surprisingly, when I take care of myself I can bring more excitement, creativity, and energy to my work. More recently, I’ve been using my extra energy to expand my network i.e. making connections on LinkedIn, attending free conferences, and deepening existing partnerships.

By Chalvonna Smith Teachey
Chalvonna Smith Teachey Director