Our sisterhood is filled with remarkable, talented and successful women who built on their collegiate Tri Delta experience to create rewarding and successful careers after college. One of those sisters is Pam Oberdiek, Missouri. Pam recently retired from a successful 35-year career with Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri. During Pam’s tenure, she held positions of increasing responsibility working in divisions such as operations, marketing, finance, supply chain and most recently the retail service organization. Pam led several major corporate initiatives including Hallmark’s Canada integration and a global capabilities project with the UK and Australia.
Reflecting back on her career, Pam sees the many ways her Tri Delta experience provided her with practical skills needed to succeed in the workplace. As Tri Delta’s collegiate seniors approach graduation this spring, Pam offers her thoughts on how Tri Delta prepared her for life after college and advice on launching a career.
Translate Your Tri Delta Experience
As a member of Delta Xi Chapter at the University of Missouri, Pam had the opportunity to refine her leadership skills, learn time management and practice collaboration—skills that served her well over her career.
Pam sees the many ways Tri Delta provides an experience that is similar to different areas of the business world: “Recruitment is like hiring employees, fiscal management (treasurer positions) prepare you for business budget management, Homecoming planning skills are useful in the working world when completing a project plan with timelines, resources, deadlines and specific outcomes with a goal to ‘win.’ Businesses want a team that can ‘win’ in the marketplace.”
For Pam, additional real-world experience comes into play in Tri Delta when “balancing course work, sorority activities, philanthropic activities, and social time having fun with sisters. The ability to multi-task and prioritize is critical in the working world.”
She also believes Tri Delta instills the idea of being part of something bigger than yourself. “When you are part of a business leadership team, you are one part of a bigger organization where everyone must work together.”
Lean Into the Tri Delta Network
In the business world, Pam says, “It is really true that it’s important who you know, often more so than what you know. Having a strong network of people ready to support you is not only helpful, it is critical.”
Tri Deltas have the benefit of a built-in network of sisters ready to support them. Pam encourages Tri Delta members to “leverage your Tri Delta sisters and leverage the network you have created.” She emphasizes, “It’s ‘ok’ to reach out and ask for help.”
Mentorship is another important form of support for any young professional—that’s one thing Pam learned during her career that she says she wishes she had known when she was starting out.
She offers the following advice to anyone starting their careers: “Early on, find a mentor—ideally find a few, both inside and outside of the company you work for, and touch base routinely.”
Tri Deltas can find mentors using Tri Delta’s networking platform, CONNECTDDD. There, collegiate members can network with alumnae in their field of interest, schedule informational interviews and obtain valuable career advice.
“Having the advice of others that have previous experience can be very helpful,” says Pam.
Focus on Your Joy and Give Back
When asked what advice she would offer to sisters who are about to graduate and start their careers, Pam shares: “When looking at a company, ensure that you ask questions about the culture of the company. Once you land the job, often culture can be the element that increases your joy and enables success, or ends up with you looking for another job.”
She adds, “Don’t stay with a job or company if you are not having fun or at least enjoying it more days than not. Every job has ups and downs, but over your lifetime you spend way too much time at work to not enjoy it. You make a choice every day.”
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Pam says: “Don’t forget to give back. Give back to Tri Delta, give back to your fellow sisters. Others gave before you to enable your way, it’s important for each of us to give back.”
Want to give back? You can Pay it ForwarDDD for a Tri Delta graduate by donating $33 to cover their first year of alumnae dues.