Students Learn Workplace Soft Skills during Greater Irvine Chamber’s Career Edge Workshop

Thursday, February 08, 2018

The Greater Irvine Chamber hosted about two dozen students from area colleges during its Spring 2018 Career Edge workshop, Be the Most Effective New Employee!, as part of the Practical Critical Thinking & Problem Solving component of the overall soft skills workshop series.

The Feb. 3 course was taught by Dr.Aaron Shaffer, organizational development expert working with organizations to identify, assess, coach, develop, and retain key talent. Shaffer has held senior leadership roles at MFlex, Motorola (a Google company), ITT Industries, and Network Appliance, and currently teaches at Webster University and UC Irvine. As adjunct faculty, Shaffer teaches MBA and Executive MBA programs including: strategic thinking, leading change, team development, innovation, global teamwork, presentation, critical thinking and problem solving.

The award-winning Career Edge program is a simple but important solution to a challenge that Orange County companies face: new employees who arrive with the knowledge and technical skills necessary but lack satisfactory business writing, presentation, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Workshops are facilitated by volunteer mentors and presenters from a variety of professions.

Feb. 6 workshop facilitators were Julie Cho, Law Firm of Julie Cho; Dr. Brian Dozer, director, Webster University; Andrea Russell, Harvard Risk Management; and Pepper Russell, executive assistant, Economic Development and Tourism, Greater Irvine Chamber.

More than 250 students have participated in the program since it began in 2015. Career Edge is offered to students enrolled at any college or university located in Irvine.

The next workshop of the four-part Career Edge on Saturday, April 7, will focus on Successful Business Etiquette & Workplace Behaviors, taught by Julie Hallsted, Certified Paralegal and Advanced Certified Paralegal currently managing legal support services for Island Restaurants. The workshop will cover how to adapt and leverage the workplace environment; explore basic business practices, etiquette, and professional attitudes; and characteristics that will define a new employee and contribute to their success. There is no fee for student participation.

Feb. 3 workshop photos can be viewed here.

Career Edge was named the 2017 Outstanding Program of the Year by the Western Association of Chamber Executives.

For more information, and business professionals interested in becoming a Career Edge mentor or presenter, contact Pepper Russell at or (949) 502-4129.

Category: Chamber News