She shook hands with Bill Gates as the former Associate Principal of High Tech High School and was in the presence of Oprah Winfrey, but Rebecca Smith’s route to PLNU was completely God led, she says.
“When God says walk away, you walk away,” the new Executive Director of the Office of Strengths and Vocations (OSV) said.
She explained that she was in the private business world as the Senior Recruiter for Eastridge Workforce Solutions but when a position at a small, private Christian University became available, she was suddenly aware of what she was being called to do.
Smith believes that we were all designed by God to do specific work with our God-given talents and, when the time is right, He then opens the doors of opportunity for us to accomplish that work. OSV’s doors were opened for Smith just a few months ago by the former Executive Director and Smith’s friend, Reyna Sund. Sund and Nick Wolf, Director of OSV Programs and Operations, held a meeting about putting a succession plan in place. They both only had one person in mind for the job.
“She really brings great experience, credibility and an immense network here in San Diego, and she is such a woman of faith,” Wolf said. “[She] and I are partnering to make more connections for our students, her role is a little more external, networking and branding OSV off-campus. We are blessed to have her here.”
Coming into this position, Smith holds PLNU students to a high standard and wants local employers to do the same.
One of her goals, she explains, is to emphasize the “vocation” aspect of OSV through the office’s signature verse, Ephesians 2:10 that reads, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared for us in advance.” Her expectation is because PLNU students are doing God’s work, instead of man’s, that this will bring them up to a level higher.
“We are going to be trustworthy, hard working and not cut corners. Doing things that sometimes other people do because they don’t know any better because they aren’t held to that higher standard.”
The University of California, San Diego grad held an internship with a public relations firm where she did everything from planning events to writing articles despite her sociology major. What proceeded would be an extensive list of titles from a Career Coach at Qualcomm to Chair on the Women’s Leadership Council for United Way.
Smith said the key is for students to not get complacent in searching for jobs only in their major. She advises that all students go to all Networking events, because students do not know who is there waiting to meet them.
“For me, it’s been at the intersection of getting people prepared to do great work and as an employer, offering and providing great work,” Smith said.
Her strategic plan is to connect PLNU students to her former employer Qualcomm through their Thinkabit on site combination laboratory, which establishes a creative environment for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. Her conceptual initiative is to show students that large businesses that often get recognized for merely one aspect of their company, like Qualcomm and engineers, actually house a multitude of opportunities for students with a variety of majors.
She wants students to think of their majors as platforms, or even a launch pad.
“Unpack the major from the work that God has asked you to do. Because if He wants you to do it, you will get to do it, no matter what your major is,” Smith said. “I think we spend too much time being concerned about our major is X, therefore I can only do Y as a job. I just haven’t seen that to be too true.”