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MyPath101 is a totally free, web-based resource dedicated to helping students use their vital college years to develop their identity, learn how to present their best selves to the world, and embark on a path to a fulfilling career.
Everything about MyPath101, from its concept to the content of its modules, is the product of a team of experts from fields as varied as journalism to career coaching. Together the five of us on the MyPath101 team have amassed a collection of eight higher education degrees along with 13 certifications and credentials; authored six books; and mentored hundreds of students. But we share one single passion: the desire to help students find their most fulfilling path in life.
To learn more about the minds behind the mission, read about our team below.
"It truly makes me think about things, especially my personal traits."Ryan Mellor, University of Pittsburgh, Junior
This program has been very helpful in my career search.Lavota Carter, University of Pittsburgh, Senior
MyPath101 introduced me to resources I didn't know existed.Lauren Steigerwalt, University of Pittsburgh, Senior
MyPath101 is an excellent way to kick start your career path.Craig Hoffman, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate
The interview advice is very good. Completing this is helpful as I plan to look for internships and jobs.Sam Lindner, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate
It has a lot of good information that I have wondered about but been unable to find answers to in the past.Sarah Medwig, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate
I like how it is pretty simple to navigate around the website and provides useful information.Wendy Liu, University of Pittsburgh, Senior
Easy and fun. A good way to discover yourself while learning a bit along the way.Brannon Harnish, University of Pittsburgh, Junior
I liked that it really got you thinking about specifics in relation to oneself and the future. It was eye opening as well as helpful.Casey Allen, University of Pittsburgh, Junior
"MyPath101 is a fantastic tool that gives you a leg up on competitors."Alyssa Belsterling, University of Pittsburgh
Meet Our Team
Founder and CEO
Rachel Gogos is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for helping others find their purpose and realize their potential. MyPath101.com is closely linked to her first career—higher education administration—and her present one, personal branding.
While earning her MA at the School of Education at New York University, Rachel worked in both Student Affairs and Admissions, and soon discovered that other students often faced the same challenges that preoccupied her in college, including making the daunting decision of what to major in, and realizing how to translate what she learned in school to the job market.
Thanks to her undergraduate days at SUNY Buffalo, Rachel’s early career choice was to be a Dean of Students, but her experiences took her down a different path. She is one of 15 people worldwide who have earned a Master’s level certification in personal branding from Reach, the oldest company devoted to personal branding, and has consulted with several clients on developing and marketing their own brands. Now she’s combining her love of education with her passion for helping others better understand themselves so that they can make savvier decisions that impact their life paths.
Aside from founding brandiD, a soulful digital marketing firm, and iDentityShoppe.com, a do-it-yourself brand building and budget website builder, Rachel worked at the United Nations on social and economic development issues, of which education was a large part. Her years at The Wall Street Journal helped her hone and refine her research and writing skills, providing the basis for the blogs she writes today.
“Every past experience has prepared me for what I do now,” says Rachel. “My million-dollar question back in my college days was, ‘what should I major in?’ Had I known that my unusual, atypical career path was the right road for me, I wouldn’t have put as much pressure on that one question and would have slept a lot easier.”
Rachel’s love of education, passion for personal branding, and desire to help students struggling with the same issues she once confronted led her to create MyPath101.
As a journalist and author, Eleni Gage has written about gypsy weddings, Brahman curses, and the Academy Awards. But the professional experience she found most rewarding was teaching academic writing to students at Columbia University. Her students ranged from traditionally aged first-years to those resuming their education after a time lapse, whether they had taken off one year to undergo rehab, or fifty to start a computer company. While at Columbia, she also acted as a Peer Counselor for fellow instructors, served as a Consultant in the Writing Center, and taught writing to local sixth graders, Columbia medical students, and media professionals.
Eleni came to Columbia to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, specializing in Fiction; her thesis later became the novel Other Waters, which was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2012 and was called “a lovely read” by Kirkus Reviews, “a splendid fiction debut” by Library Journal, and was awarded four out of four stars in People magazine.
The joys and struggles of being bicultural are also at the heart of Eleni’s first book, the travel memoir North of Ithaka, which was released by St. Martin’s in 2005, and describes the year she spent living in a mountain village in Greece, overseeing the rebuilding of her grandparents’ home, which had fallen into ruin after the Greek Civil War.
As a journalist, Eleni worked on staff for Allure, Elle, InStyle, and People magazines. Her freelance articles have appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times and The American Scholar to Martha Stewart Weddings. She continues to freelance and blogs at TheLiminalStage.com.
“I’m excited to work with MyPath101, because my college major wasn’t in my field, but it shaped my voice as a writer, as well as my perspective on life,” says Eleni, who studied Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University. “I want to help other students follow paths that will enrich them both professionally and personally.”
Senior Content Expert, Identity & Personal Branding
Susan Chritton is a masters-level Personal Brand Strategist, Master Career Counselor, and Certified Coach who guides her clients toward more authentic and meaningful careers using personal branding strategies that help them make the most of who they are, not just what they can do.
It probably comes as no surprise that this avid mentor, teacher, and coach was an equally enthusiastic student; Susan earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Home Economics from California Polytechnic State University, and her Master’s of Education in Career Education from Saint Mary’s College, and a number of certifications and credentials followed.
The author of Personal Branding for Dummies, Susan wrote the book so that it would be easy to understand, enjoyable to read, and filled with relevant contributions from top personal branding experts, as well as tips to help readers develop their personal brands. The book was awarded an Honorable Mention for Best Business Book of 2012 at the San Francisco Book Festival.
Susan serves as a speaker and media resource on the topic of personal branding and career development and works with individuals and organizations to design career solutions and create foundations for success. She is a Personal Brand Strategist Coach to partners in professional services firms and served as an Adjunct Professor of graduate Career Counseling at the University of San Francisco for eight years. She has managed two career centers for Sun Microsystems, guiding more than a thousand people through career transition.
Susan is eager to put her teaching, career counseling, and personal branding skills to work helping MyPath101 members develop and strengthen their identity, in order to help them make key decisions as they shape their education, career paths, and futures. “I love working with students who are excited about starting their lives and figuring out how they can both fit into the world and contribute to it in their own way,” says Susan. “College is a time when life is still so full of possibility.”
Senior Content Expert, Career Marketing
A career strategist, coach, author, and social media expert, Kristen Jacoway is also a die-hard Auburn Tigers football fan. Don’t hold the last item against her though!
Since graduating from Auburn University with a B.S. and M.S. degrees in Vocational Counseling, Kristen has worked in a wide variety of HR-related capacities from job search counseling, to motivating staff to achieve peak performance, to working with local Alabama businesses to develop job leads. The one goal that unites all her work is to help people have a rewarding career.
Kristen’s professional path turned personal when her former husband’s job was off-shored, bringing an abrupt end to his 20-year manufacturing career. As he looked for a new position, she saw the job search process from the other side, and it quickly became evident that the employment market had changed completely. The previously tried-and-true techniques of résumés and cover letters were not enough; social media had changed the game.
Always one to embrace new technologies—she comes by it honestly as her dad was a NASA rocket scientist–Kristen learned everything she could about social media and social networks. She also studied with personal branding industry experts, earning numerous certifications as a Certified Personal Brand Strategist, Career Coach, Professional Résumé Writer, Employment Interview Professional, and Online Identity Specialist.
Putting all that training and personal experience to work, Kristen launched Career Design Coach, a career coaching company that combines personal branding, traditional career marketing, and social media strategies, in 2008. She is very proud to have helped senior executives, students, and entrepreneurs to have happier, more productive professional lives.
Kristen is also the author of I’m in a Job Search—Now What???, and a blog that was selected as one of the Top Job Hunting Blogs. She’s also featured in several books including Cover Letters for Dummies (3rd Edition), and Personal Branding for Dummies.
Kristen’s job search expertise makes her a sought-after professional strategist and career counselor for MyPath101 members. Although she’s used to working with people at every stage of their career path, Kristen’s especially eager to work with MyPath101 members, because, she says, “I have a passion for educating students about the advantages that great online networking can yield.”
Senior Content Expert, Social Media Strategy
Back in the day, Phyllis Khare was a state and national award-winning performer, musician, and educator known as “Miss Phyllis.” As a touring singer/songwriter for the Iowa Arts Council, she received numerous grants and awards for her work and had the amazing ability to keep 600 kids under the age of 10 mesmerized as she taught them through the power of song, dance, and music. But, after many long arduous Iowa winters dragging speakers and musical equipment all over the Midwest, she packed up her musical career in a large box, put it in the basement, and moved to Florida.
Phyllis and her husband walked on the beach twice a day for two years (it was the “best pretend-retirement-ever” according to Phyllis). During that time she dove into Internet marketing and found she took to it like a fish to water. Always the geekiest of her peers, she focused her attention on the leading edge of social media marketing. Today Phyllis’ breadth of social media marketing knowledge spans Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and many up and coming social sites you might not of heard of—yet!
Her penchant for deep research and relentlessly mastering new skills and tools made her the perfect person to research and write two comprehensive books on social media marketing: Social Media Marketing eLearning Kit for Dummies (which comes with a DVD and online learning environment), and Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies (along with co-authors Amy Porterfield and Andrea Vahl) . She also writes the column “The Social Media Report” in iPhone Life magazine at http://iphonelife.com, and contributes articles about social media to magazines published by GSG World Media with an online reach of over 14.5 million for each magazine.
Recently, along with Andrea Vahl, Phyllis launched an online social media learning center called Social Media Manager School, which is getting rave reviews from the participants, private coaching clients.
Phyllis loves to inspire all types of people to achieve. Although she left the University of South Florida before completing her degree in order to train as a teacher of Transcendental Meditation and start her family, “you could say I never left campus,” says Phyllis. “For several years, I taught Maharishi University of Management’s Education majors the process of incorporating music into their disciplines. We played and wrote and sang our way through math, science and technology. I live right next to the University and enjoy helping with advanced business classes from time to time, teaching them the power of social media marketing.” Now she’s bringing the same passion, creativity, and technological know-how to students nationwide through MyPath101.
Meet the Advisory Board
Founder & CEO, Beyond12
Alex Bernadotte has more than 15 years of executive management and strategic development experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors. Before creating Beyond 12, a national nonprofit organization geared towards increasing the number of traditionally underserved students who earn a college degree, she served as an associate partner at NewSchools Venture Fund. There she oversaw the firm's work to build community and share knowledge among its entrepreneurs, and also guided the organization's efforts to ensure that its portfolio organizations prepare students not only to attend college, but also to persist and graduate. In 2009, Alex became an Entrepreneur in Residence at NewSchools, where she developed the business plan for Beyond 12.
Alex's previous professional experience includes serving as executive director of The Princeton Review's Silicon Valley office, co-founder and vice president of marketing and online strategy at the educational travel startup Explorica, director of operations at EF Education, and operations manager at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where she coordinated the efforts of an international youth substance abuse prevention foundation. Alex was also the executive director of the Foundation for a College Education (FCE), a nonprofit in East Palo Alto, California, whose mission is to increase the number of students of color who enroll in and graduate from college. She recently completed a 3-year term as president of the FCE board of directors, currently serves on the FCE advisory board, and is a volunteer mentor for a group of FCE college students. Alex received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and earned a master's degree with a concentration in policy and organizational leadership from the Stanford University School of Education.
Alex will be helping the MyPath101 team ensure that they are empowering students of every socio-economic background to make the most of their college experience and, indeed, their lives.
Senior Product Manager, Google
Mike is an experienced product management leader with over 15 years of experience developing new products for a variety of local technology companies, including MAYA Viz, Confluence, Management Science Associates, and M*Modal. In his current product management role at Google, he is responsible for expanding and improving Google Shopping. He is also a member of the company's Entrepreneurial Outreach team, where he collaborates with and supports local startups and small businesses in the region. Mike is the co-founder of Awesome Pittsburgh, a micro-grant organization that awards $1000 each month - no strings attached - to the person or organization with the best idea for bringing more awesomeness to the Pittsburgh region. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for Pittsburgh Dataworks, a consortium of organizations committed to developing and promoting Pittsburgh as a hub for big data companies and talent.
Executive Director, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University
Elaine Papoulias has dedicated the majority of her twenty-year professional career to the field of education.
Elaine received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wesleyan University and a Master's Degree in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. She currently serves as Executive Director of Harvard's Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, where she promotes the study of Europe, as well as develops and facilitates Europe-focused professional and research opportunities for faculty and students.
For several years, Papoulias served as Director of the Harvard Kennedy School's Kokkalis Program on Southeastern and East-Central Europe, developing it into the school’s hallmark of Europe-focused activity and its regional model. Her outreach and strategic efforts helped increase the population of Southeast European students at the Kennedy School by more than five hundred and fifty percent. Moreover, her academic and professional mentoring of students helped to support their success in building careers in high levels of government, international organizations, academia, and civil society as well as the private sector. She also served as a primary channel for promoting their continued engagement with Harvard and each other through the creation of a vibrant alumni network.
Prior to her post at Harvard, Elaine worked as a public affairs consultant devising and implementing communications and crisis management strategies, as well political, grass-roots and public information campaigns for corporate, non-profit and government clients.
Elaine has also served as a U.S. State Department intern at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, a consultant at Cambridge Energy Research Associates and an educational advisor to the Kuwaiti Foreign Service. She speaks Greek fluently and has a working knowledge of Persian. Papoulias is a member of the Advisory Board of the Navarino Network, a Greece-based non-profit public policy lab and a member of the Development Committee of the South East European Studies program at St Antony’s College, Oxford.