We Are On Fire

09/25/2016 19:53
Lit from Within: The Power of Passion
        Department of Accounting Chair Tim Kizirian Makes the Rounds

Meet the Firms, a production of Beta Alpha Psi, is the biggest recruiting event of the year for North State accounting majors, and it happens right here at Chico State.  I popped into the September 16th event in the BMU auditorium which was packed with hundreds of students and professionals representing 26 firms, two CPA review courses, and representatives from the UC Davis Masters’ Program.

Participants included respected Chico State alumni who now enjoy national reputations in their fields of endeavor.

Students looked sharp. They’d been well coached in the essentials – bring plenty of résumés, carry a nice folder, and look professional.  Mentoring continued during the event itself as students were directed to specific opportunities within leadership and internship programs according to their graduation dates and interests. 

"This is the first time I've met with people offering so many opportunities," said one student attendee. "I have a lot to think about."

And Now - Lighting More Fires

Colleen Robb reports on a current project with her group of entrepreneurship students: “The students were charged with an innovation challenge.  They had one hour to find a problem, develop a solution, create a ‘prototype’ to SHOW (not tell) the solution, and then find someone who would pay for it and inquire about the price.  This is an introductory exercise, but it gets the students thinking about taking ownership of problems rather than just complaining about them.”

When I learned of this project, I thought about how helpful it is to be given (or have imposed upon us) an opportunity to focus, focus, focus for a finite period of time instead of complaining.  One secret to not having worries is to replace them with ideas.  There are brilliant, creative minds among us, and students were up to the challenge.

See their videos on Colleen's You Tube channel.


Sales Team Spreads Fire Too

The team at the Seufferlein Sales Program is ramping up to their next exciting event.  Let your students in on what’s happening Tuesday of next week! They should be advised, as it has been written:

More than 50% of college graduates and 90% of Marketing graduates start their careers in sales.


The Seufferlein Sales Program invites all students to attend our Fall Sales Kick Off next Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Colusa Hall 100! Please encourage your students to attend to learn about our 21-unit Professional Sales Certificate and what a career in professional sales can do for them. Experience-


·         an interactive “Myth Busters” style game show

·         personal stories from Chico State alumni

·         networking opportunities

·         free food

·         more than $350 in door prizes!

Please contact the Seufferlein Sales Program at seufferleinsales@csuchico.edu or 530-898-3840 with any questions.


Sitting Around the Fire: Lessons from the Wisdom Cultures in Light of a Recent Request

As long as there’s been fire, people have circled around it as councils of elders and sages, sharing intelligence. To cultures long past, there was a sacred duty to participate when called.  A certain decorum ruled, setting the tone for cohesive and effective communities that preserved what was important to them.

Today we have the web and thinktanks, but it isn’t enough to keep even our most esteemed institutions and systems really “together.” As Joseph Campbell said, the world is full of people who have stopped listening to themselves, and hence, are often not listening to anybody else.

Peter Block, author of Flawless Consulting, writes extensively of the structure of communities from his perspective as an organizational consulting expert. As leader of a company with the term “Adaptive Living” in its name, I’d be remiss if I didn’t pay close attention to what he says, not only about effective organizational building, but about the pleasure of being part of a professional community where everyone's capacity is recognized and utilized to the benefit of all.  Much of his wisdom is applicable to our work with students, who come to us with a wide array of backgrounds and experiences.

COB students include veterans of numerous tours of duty, refugees, persons in recovery, persons who have been through various life-wringers, and more – all this beneath the surface of any obvious differences, or as we say today - dimensions of diversity.  Folks who in any other part of the world might be perceived as “natural enemies” - by cultural history inclined to avoid one another - come to sit as equals in our classroom to learn and grow.

I’m sharing a comment about community building from Block, that I offer in response to Associate Dean Ken Chapman’s recent email on the topic of reaching out to students to help them succeed. Perhaps you will be as inspired as I have been by those who think along these lines.

“The challenge is to think broadly enough to have a theory and methodology that have the power to make a difference, and yet be simple and clear enough to be accessible to anyone who wants to make that difference. We need ideas from a variety of places and disciplines to deal with complexity…then, acting as if these ideas are true, we must translate them into embarrassingly simple and concrete acts.”

From the perspectives offered via each of our disciplines, we collectively know how, and own the tools to create stronger communities and better organizational systems. Creating value is in our DNA.

I speak for all of us as I assert that if the College of Business can’t figure out how to do as Ken has asked, with all that we are and all the support we have been given – no one can. 

Acknowledging the Fire in Others

I generally walk a two-mile round trip to It’s a Grind coffee shop at the corner of Eaton and Esplanade every day I am in my NCALC office.

On Thursday this past week the person at the register asked if I wanted a paper or ceramic cup for my mocha.  First I said “ceramic,” then changed my mind thinking I might as well walk right back to work. The barista waiting to make my drink looked absolutely crushed as she put the ceramic cup back on the shelf to exchange for the to-go alternative. I was going to let it pass, but as I paid for my drink I called down the workstation to her. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “You seem upset.” I thought maybe she was really into sustainability, and I wanted to explain that I had forgotten my usual washable cup.

“I wanted to make you something special,” she said. “I can’t do it without a real cup.” So I laughed and told her to go ahead, I would stay awhile. She asked me to sit down so she could present it to me personally, saying “this will be especially for you.”


Well, I ended up sitting longer than I’d intended. First, I delighted a few Facebook buddies with the barista’s gift before it disappeared. And then I reflected on how important it is that we give others a chance to show us what’s inside of them – the visions they carry, the gifts they know how to give.  All it took to set the fire ablaze within my barista/artist, Beth, was an embarrassingly simple question: “What’s wrong?” 

I walked back to the office with a little more energy than usual. There are so many ways to teach, and ever so many more lessons to learn.

Fighting Fires

In our occasional “Help, My Pants Are On Fire” roundtables on out-of-control projects in one of my classes, we note our real-life experiences with looming disaster as we review strategies that can save our…pants.

Strategies are naturally found through examining the particulars of any given circumstance (the solution is somewhere within the problem).  If you or someone you care about has ever felt the burn of the hot seat, this article from HBR may relieve the pain – or at least make your seat icy-hot instead of charred on the chair. Stop Fighting Fires.pdf (678946)

P.S. Credit where it's due: the article was enthusiastically offered to me for the benefit of our class by a student.