Rebecca Sablo's Career Journey

Rebecca Sablo's Career Journey

Rebecca Sablo photo

What roles have you had throughout your time at Berkeley? 

I started in the Berkeley International Office (BIO) as an international student advisor after working at San Francisco State and an English language school at Diablo Valley College. Over the eight years that I was at BIO, I moved into the role of Lead Advisor and finished my time there as the Assistant Director for Student Services. For the past four years, I served as the Undergraduate Advising Director for College of Natural Resources. In September 2018, I joined the Office of the Registrar as the Associate Registrar for Academic Planning and Records. 

What factors do you think helped you switch positions successfully within Berkeley on several occasions? 

I’m so grateful for the supportive and encouraging supervisors and mentors I’ve had at Berkeley who believed in me and allowed me to pursue interests above and beyond the job description. With their support, I participated in professional development programs like the Leadership Development Program (LDP) in 2009–10. I was also able to expand my network and skills through leadership roles in regional and local chapters of my former national professional association (NAFSA: Association of International Educators), Berkeley’s Advising Network Community (which predated the Advising Council), and the development of Berkeley‘s new student academic advising orientation model. In particular, the professional development programs helped me to realize the value of transferable skills and connected me with peers doing interesting things all over campus.Participating in professional networks and on-campus committees gave me a chance to work on things outside my area of expertise while growing and demonstrating a transferable skill set.

Visit the Transferable Skills Library to enhance the skills you’ll need for positions at UC Berkeley. 

What challenges did you face when seeking your next opportunity and how did you overcome them?

One of my biggest challenges was transitioning out of international education because I was seen as an international student subject-matter expert. One of my mentors recommended I scrub the word international from my cover letter. I think her advice helped the search committee focus on the transferable skills that really mattered rather than the international theme of all my professional work up until that point.

What do you personally do to keep growing as a professional? 

I continue to be inspired by and connected with many of the staff who were in my LDP program and other organizations on campus. I do my best to attend events on campus like the lunchtime Campus Conversations with leaders, programs through the Academic Innovation Studio, and others to learn more about what is happening on campus and around the world. As of late, I’m exploring EdD programs that would allow me to learn more about higher education while still working.  Since having my daughter two years ago, I’ve been learning a lot from other parents on campus who juggle work and family. I feel lucky to have a number of friends on campus who are moms and my role models. Being a parent has helped me be more authentic at work because my personal life plays a bigger role than ever. I talk more about my personal life at work because it plays a much bigger role in my decision making, especially when it comes to striking a balance. 

Find colleagues with similar interests through staff organizations

What was the most motivating thing someone told you on your career journey? 

It’s OK to ask for help. It has been a hard lesson for me. I’m a first-generation college student and working at a top university with some of the brightest faculty, students, and staff in the world has been intimidating at times. Hearing about times my friends and mentors have asked for help reassures me that it is OK. 

Read this article on how to do an informational interview to ask someone for insight or guidance.

How do you encourage your staff to take advantage of learning and development opportunities? 

I’m in full support of staff participating in the wealth of opportunities that Berkeley makes available. Forwarding email announcements is my default and I love to pep talk anyone who will listen into submitting a conference proposal or attending a Berkeley Extension class. I encourage staff to buddy up and go with someone else to campus events. This approach helped me get to a CAN event last month with someone on my new team. It was especially enjoyable because I got to know her more and learn all about using data to make a case.

Any final words of wisdom to staff looking to grow their careers at UC Berkeley?

Don’t limit your career search to the obvious. Think about how you could stretch and grow with a lateral move in a new area or, better yet, an advancement. Get to know about all the amazing roles people play on campus by meeting people outside your office in activities and organizations that take you out of your comfort zone and area of expertise.

If you’d like to advance your career with today’s methods, read about the corporate lattice model- here

Rebecca Sablo is the Associate Registrar for Academic Planning and Records within the Office of the Registrar. She’s been a part of the UC Berkeley community for nearly 13 years. To follow up with her about this feature e-mail or connect with her on LinkedIn

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