Hammond Speaks on Career Planning

Kate Hammond P’23, a career transition advisor at Princeton University, addressed members of the Lawrenceville community this past Wednesday at 7:00 PM in the McGraw Reading Room as the first in a series of leadership speeches hosted by the Women in Business at Lawrenceville Club (WIB@L).

Kate Hammond P’23, a career transition advisor at Princeton University, addressed members of the Lawrenceville community this past Wednesday at 7:00 PM in the McGraw Reading Room as the first in a series of leadership speeches hosted by the Women in Business at Lawrenceville Club (WIB@L). Her speech focused on career planning in high school by discussing personality types and skills, networking, and mentorship.

Hammond began her speech by asking Lawrentians to take a personality test where students ranked 10 different sets of traits from one to four, with four being the trait that best described them. Afterwards, students totaled up their results and were assigned into one of four categories: lions, beavers, golden retrievers, and otters. Each of these animals represents a particular personality type: lions are decisive and confident leaders, otters are outgoing and enthusiastic motivators, golden retrievers are loyal and empathetic listeners, and beavers are detail-oriented and analytical thinkers. While every person is a combination of all four personality types, the top two types that best describe the person can help paint a picture of certain tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses.

Hammond started off by stressing that careers are not linear. While at the University of Wisconsin and Madison, Hammond first decided that she wanted to be a journalist and majored in Broadcast News. Her mother convinced her to also major in public relations as a back-up plan. After spending a couple of years in broadcast journalism and working at radio stations, she decided to pursue public relations full-time while also producing a radio show every night from 5:00 to 9:00 PM to make ends meet.

Reflecting on her busy schedule, Hammond said, “I was doing exactly what I wanted to do, but I was exhausted. When you’re thinking about a career, you have to first think about what you’re good at… but then you also have to think about what your values are. For me, that meant not overworking myself.” Hammond decided to attend the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing. She proceeded to take on a series of executive positions, serving as the brand manager for Betty Crocker at General Mills and working with new product launches at American Express. After meeting her husband, her values shifted once more, as she now wanted to spend more time with her family. She eventually ended up at Princeton University, initially at the Center for Economic Policy and now as a career advisor.

Through various employment opportunities over the years, Hammond has learned to adapt and reapply her skill set in different areas. “The good news is that there are lots of choices in terms of jobs, and you can change your mind over and over again. Whatever you choose, just don’t think that you’ve locked yourself in for the rest of your life,” she said.

On the topic of mentors, Kate Hammond stressed the importance of having three to five references who would happily answer a call or write a recommendation. She advised students to keep in touch with these references, whether it be sending a holiday card or an email every few months. She further emphasized the importance of preparing an “elevator speech” about oneself to seek out a mentor.

Reflecting on Hammond’s speech, Kate Dillard ’22 said, “She made the topic really interesting and personal. I didn’t know what I wanted to do before, but listening to her speech really helped me narrow my future choices down.”

Kristen Li ’21 said, “I really enjoyed the personality quiz at the beginning. The quiz was really unique and accurate, and it helped me understand certain strengths and weaknesses that I have. Her entire speech was very relevant as it makes us think about our future class selections and careers.”