Tip: Travel and Learn About Your Country if You Want to Fix it. Deanna Saulnier, Planned Parenthood


Interview with Deanna Saulnier, Director of Professional Training

 Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains

JS: Do you have any regrets about your career path?

DS: No! I see all of the steps that I have taken as what I needed to do to get to where I am now.

JS:  Is there a typical graduate studies path that your colleague at PP have taken?


JS: What’s the best of your job?

DS: Definitely the sense of pride, the great environment at the office, and the passion we all share for PP’s mission. I also enjoy the leadership and influence I have in my role.

JS: What has been a highlight of your career so far?

DS: That’s easy. The two years I spent in Americorp. I did the NCCC program and had the opportunity to travel around the country. It was the best decision ever. My first year I was a core member and in the second, I became a team leader. My motivation to join Americorp revolved around my realization that I needed to learn a lot more about our country if I was going to try and fix it.

Tip: Always submit a cover letter even if organization only asks for a resume.

Interview with Alison Macklin, Director of the Responsible Sex Education Institute at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains

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JS: How has your career evolved over the years?

AM: My career started as a volunteer at a domestic violence shelter. I considered counseling and ended up not liking clinical work. My clients, like her, had never had any sex education. Soon after, I met with Planned Parenthood and discovered their education initiatives. Fast forward a few years and the bulk of my current job involves making others aware of programming at PP.

JS: What’s the hardest part of your job?

AM: The most challenging parts of my work include traveling (since I have 2 youngsters at home). Also, the work of sex education is still taboo even though it’s in our faces all the time.

JS: What advice do you have for emerging professionals on applying to jobs?

AM: Always submit a cover letter even if organization only asks for a resume.

Tip: Bombard the world with resumes!

March ’12 Interview with Al Vernacchio

TED talk star, NYT article about his work in sex education : Teaching Good Sex

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JS: Did you always know you wanted to teach sex education?

AV: I  always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but my original focus was on religious studies. Eventually I got certified to teach English. Ultimately, I fell into human sexuality after my first job teaching religious studies. It was the thing I was looking for that I didn’t know existed.

JS: Do you regret getting your english certification?

AV: Not at all, in fact, the english certification was what got me into his school and allows him to continue teaching his other passion: sexuality. When I was hired at Friends Central, I made it known that I had a Masters Degree in Human Sexuality and I wanted to use it.

JS: What’s the biggest challenge for you at work?

AV: Nobody in my school speaks my language when it comes to sexuality education so that can feel lonely. The world (of sexuality) that I live and work in, is very different than the outside world. Sometimes there is culture shock, when I realize not everyone is as open, interested, inviting, and as proud as I am of my work as a Sexuality Educator.

JS: Do you struggle with curriculum obstacles from parents and administrators?

AV: Since I have the privilege of working in private schools, I don’t face the curriculum obstacles other sex educators struggle with. I creates my own and also find parents to be very supportive.

JS: What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?

AV: I wish I had known it wasn’t going to be such a big deal to be an openly gay teacher. I have always thought if I could be my authentic self in a classroom, that would be the best way.

JS: What’s your advice on job searching?

AV: Bombard the world with resumes!

Insight: People like to pay money to put out the fire but not for preventing the fire.

January ’12 Interview with Denise Qualey

Managing Director at Kids in Crisis, CT


JS: What does Kids in Crisis do?

DQ: KIC’s mission is to protect infants, children and teens from abuse and family crisis. To this end we provide free, round-the-clock crisis intervention, counseling and emergency shelter, prevention programs in local communities and advocacy throughout Connecticut.”

JS: How long have you been doing this and what have been some of the greatest challenges?

DQ: I have worked at KIC for 29 years and first started as an intern! The biggest challenge is dealing the changes at the state level and how they are utilizing services for kids (i.e there is a new commissioner of DCF) and the complications around funding teen talk programs. People like to pay money to put out the fire but not for preventing the fire.

JS: What does self-care mean to you?

DQ: Self care means setting boundaries, and the importance of being in tune with yourself and checking in. A lot of agencies don’t provide great supervision from  clinicians (which helps staff  process their cases). I recommend emerging professionals look for this when looking for jobs in the field of clinical work.

*Sometimes informational interviews lead to incredible opportunities. For instance, after my conversation with Denise, I was invited  to observe a Safe Talk presentation in Kindergarden and 1st grade classroom. SafeTalk, is a series of workshops for elementary schools, which teaches children to be safe from bullying and abuse. 

Tip: Listen to your heart, there is wisdom in your intuition. The thing that gives you a feeling of peace is what you should be doing.

January ’12 Interview with Natalie Smith

Director of Yoga Behind Bars, Seattle WA


JS: How did you end up with this incredible job?

NS: While studying psychology in college, I discovered my passion for healing professions. I worked as a yoga teacher and at a Wellness Center. I was also involved with a progressive newspaper, anti-war activism, and social justice issues. Randomly one day in a yoga class,  I met the founder of Yoga Behind Bars, Shayna. The two of us worked together for awhile in the beginning stages, and eventually I took over. Years later, there is now a full time staff, board of directors, interns and an office space!

JS: What would you say is the best and the hardest parts of your job?

NS: My job requires me to go to places that are uncomfortable and find the places that are comfortable.  Everyone involved becomes transformed by the work.

JS: What advice do you have for your 20 year old self?

NS: Listen to your heart, there is wisdom in your intuition, a sense of peace. The thing that gives you a feeling of peace is what you should be doing…not your mind, others’ opinions, not any polls or surveys about what “X” person should do for a career.

JS: Do you have any regrets?

NS: Not having enough confidence in my abilities to do the work. The truth is if you care about something and you’re willing to learn and admit mistakes, you can learn a lot and be really effective in running an organization. It took me a long time to want to be director.

JS: Are there any major qualifications to work at Yoga Behind Bars?

NS: Everyone has to be a certified yoga teacher because the quality of teaching is important due to the degree of injuries and trauma that the incarcerated populations are plagued with.