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How we can better support first generation students to achieve career success

Over the years, I have seen so many first generation students who worked really really hard, not only in school, but along with several other part time jobs to pay for their education - ultimately they got the same degree or credentials as their peers, but it seems that they were always missing out on the “almost invisible set of advantages” that exist for students whose parents are college educated and well connected.

A very small number of colleges and universities are recognizing the unique problems first-generation students face in finding their first jobs after graduation and are adding programs to help them. There is absolutely no reason why students cannot be able to succeed after graduating college with such dedication and hardwork.

The good news is, first generation and low income college students can now tap into CareerSpring to build the social capital they are likely missing! I’m so excited to share this episode with CareerSpring founder Paul Posoli. Paul has an impressive list of accomplishments, from Managing Director of JP Morgan to Principal of Cristo Ray Jesuit College, to most recently, founder of Careerspring. Careerspring is an online platform and ready-made network, complete with advisors, internships, and job opportunities, made with the mission of building first-generation social capital. The platform harnesses the expertise and commitment of working professionals to inform students of career options and help place students and graduates in career-starting internships and jobs. In this episode, I speak with Paul about founding Careerspring, his advice to young professionals, and his hope for the future.


1. There’s no reason for you to do this alone

Paul’s newest venture into the non-profit space with CareerSpring is an incredible dedication to first-generation mentorship and success. His platform connects first-generation students to mentors from all walks of life, professions, and experiences. Paul strongly believes that the world of opportunity is waiting, and setting up meetings with mentors is the first step to taking advantage of that world. There’s no reason for diverse, top talent to struggle to determine their path. For any problem a first-generation student faces, there is someone out there that has faced that problem and overcome it. As such, meeting and speaking with these mentors and leaders is the first step to overcoming personal struggles. There’s no reason for anyone - especially first-generation students - to go into the career space alone.

2. Charge your battery

Paul is a jack of all trades; from working in the business and energy space at JP Morgan to running a charter school to starting a non-profit, he truly does it all. The secret? Finding work that charges your battery. He explains that work can be fun, refilling, and exciting, when you connect purpose, passion, and dedication to excellence. He advises students (and young professionals) to find their value add, and try to find a career that fits who you are so that it charges your battery every day.

3. Trust there’s a plan, and work as hard as you possibly can

As a Jesuit, Paul believes that there is a greater plan for everyone - a fantastic plan - unbeknownst yet knowable at the same time. Trust in the plan, but not exclusively. When you work as hard as you possibly can, the plan and your actions will align to create the career (and work-life balance) that will best serve your interests. Just for one example, if not for his volunteering to teach leadership and personal finance class once a week at Cristo Rey Jesuit, he might never have become Principal of the school. Trust the process. And yourself.

🎧 To listen to this episode and learn more about how to succeed as a first-generation student, how to support first-generation students, and to gain general mentorship advice from Cece, listen to the Dear Accountant podcast here.

🎙 The “Dear Accountant” podcast is a uniquely insightful and entertaining podcast for aspiring young business professionals. Each episode is packed with actionable advice to help young finance professionals get ready for whatever challenge they may face next. Aside from all of the many cool things in accounting (technical topics and trends), we bring in industry experts and influential leaders to share their journey, insights, and perspectives. We will also cover topics that were not taught in school - life essential skills such as personal finance, emotional intelligence, mentorship, networking, body language, and human behaviors, and so much more!

💬 About Paul Posoli: Paul has held incredible positions working in the Energy Sector including JP Morgan, Calpine Energy Services, and Bear Stearns. For five years, he also served as President of Cristo Ray Jesuit College Preparatory of Houston, bringing energy and life to the school so that students would want to be there. These days, Paul founded and is the President of CareerSpring, a virtual space for networking and mentorship of first-generation students. Mr. Posoli earned his MBA from Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University and his Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Miami. Paul is married to Joy and they have 3 children, Matthew, Isabella, and Michael.

📖 Get amazing advice from the 20 mentors in “Dear Accountant” Book: The book offers a unique immersion into the lives and careers of 20 inspiring leaders in finance from different disciplines - their backstories, pivotal moments, career trajectories, and hiccups along the way.

🎧 Listen to Cece’s interviews about her passion and mission in writing this book and paying it forward to help young professionals to find meaning and fulfillment in their life and career:


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