Collaboration Key to Success at Bloch Career Center

Erin Christensen focuses on the big picture to build relationships with potential employers for UMKC students
Staff award recipient Erin Christensen with co-workers and students

The most successful and influential project leaders tackle the task at hand by going beyond expectations. Erin Christensen excels at maintaining and enhancing existing relationships and programs while developing new ones. She continually identifies and cultivates new opportunities for students at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management and beyond.

“Erin is an extraordinary collaborator,” says Maggie Reyland, professional career manager at the Bloch Career Center and one of Christensen’s nominators for the Excellence in Engagement and Staff Outreach Award. “She identified an opportunity to collaborate more closely with the School of Computing and Engineering and from there we now have a robust Business, Computing and Engineering Fair each semester that continues to grow.”

Christensen, manager employee relations and outreach at the Bloch Career Center, thinks it’s important to be innovative and forward thinking.

“It can be easy to get caught up in the details, but that really isn’t what the bigger picture is about,” Christensen says. “For me, this way of thinking is critical for success with building relationships. I want to make sure that we are strategic with our resources internally and sometimes that means collaborating with another academic unit outside of the Bloch School, so continuing to build those relationships and being a collaborator is important.

"Sometimes it might be easier if I try to do something myself, but what fun is that?" Erin Christensen

Additionally, I want to make sure that the companies we are engaging with are relevant to the needs and goals of our students, so thinking more strategically about identifying who they are and how we can connect with them continues to be a priority.”

The Bloch School recently introduced Launchpad, an honors program designed to attract and retain high-performing students. Christensen took it upon herself to write a more detailed program proposal, which outlines programs expectations for students and marketing opportunities. 

“Erin volunteered to take the lead on the career engagement piece for Launchpad,” says Tess Surprenant, director of the Bloch Career Center. “This program will have a strong experiential learning and career development component. Erin is working with local employers in all sectors to build internship programs and provide varying levels of engagement.”

It is these types of collaborations that excites Christensen.

”Sometimes it might be easier if I try to do something myself, but what fun is that? I love working with people and connecting people, so maintaining strong relationships and going above and beyond comes easy to me,” she says. “Personally, I love the feeling of leaving a meeting with someone I just met and knowing that there is a future with them and UMKC and I made that happen.”