March is Women’s History Month, when we celebrate the contributions of women throughout history and contemporary society. With this series, we will highlight some of NPRC’s women for the work they have done throughout their careers and for their contributions to the College and higher education.
NPRC is excited to kick off Women’s History Month sharing about the career and accomplishments of Nicole Zaun, a Workforce Development Specialist for Cameron, Elk, McKean, and Potter counties. Zaun joined the NPRC team in November 2022, and has hit the ground running to help the College provide more training and coursework on the eastern part of our footprint. “I ended up coming to work at NPRC after seeing a job advertised on LinkedIn as a Workforce Development Specialist. After reading the job description, I knew I needed to apply because it combined my love of working with businesses and communities with my pursuit to work within higher education.”
Zaun has worked within a variety of educational settings for over 15 years since graduating from Penn State with her psychology degree. She started her professional career in her native Potter County as a Therapeutic Staff Support at Sagewood, Inc. In this role, she built strong connections in the school and community that continue to help in her new role at NPRC. Nicole continued to gain experience in the field of education while working for over 6 years at the Potter County Education Council. While at the Education Council, she progressed from Career Mentor to Career Mentor Program Supervisor, and even worked her way to become the Director of Programs and Projects. She also became a Certified Professional Coach to help both students and working professionals find ways to improve their lives.
Through these roles, she’s built a leadership style and belief system that includes leading by example; making sure people are seen, felt, and heard; and being able to lend a helping hand go a long way. “I try to support my co-workers and team the best way I can; either by verbal encouragement or by lending a helping hand. Sometimes the helping hand is sharing opportunities you found in their area or just being a listening ear. Positivity is what is needed most, so I always show up to team meetings with a smile on my face and ready to cheer my team on.”
While higher education has now become a passion of hers, Zaun admits that she had moments of feeling unsure about her own college student experience.
“I was your typical 18-year-old that didn’t want to go to college because I was unsure of what I wanted to do. While I didn’t stay on the exact path I once had, each path I have taken has built upon itself and led me to the opportunity to work in higher education. Education and training are important no matter what field you are in; but everybody’s path is different and there are a plethora of ways to achieve one’s life goals. I feel the most important thing I learned is to continue with education and training but in an area you enjoy. It is true that when you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work.”
Her message to women finding their way in life and in their careers is that they can be successful in any career field that they are passionate about. “You determine your path, not others, and with the will to succeed, along with drive, you can be successful in achieving your dreams!”
Nicole is only one of the many inspiring women at NPRC we are celebrating this month. Join us throughout March for more features that celebrate women in the workplace and inspire local young women to explore an entire world of possibilities in their lives and careers!
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