Seek out opportunities. Work hard each and every day. Set long-term goals. Challenge yourself. This is simple but sound advice from Courtney Sagal, manager of volunteer and retail services at the Irvine Nature Center in Baltimore County, a popular destination for city kids to learn and explore nature firsthand.

(Photo Courtesy of Courtney Sagal)

(Photo Courtesy of Courtney Sagal)

Already promoted twice in the past two years, Ms. Sagal is in charge of the organization’s education events, including the Eat, Drink & Learn series, and was quick to be recognized as a talented team member by her supervisors. In a one-on-one interview, Ms. Sagal shares her tips and tricks for success since graduating from Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University) with a B.A. degree in Early Childhood Education and a concentration in Childhood Leadership in 2006.

How has education prepared you for your job?

“Education not only prepared me for the working world, it helped me to learn about myself and set long-term goals for after college. It gave me the chance to meet many different people; people with different perspectives, values and beliefs – which in turn taught me a great deal about compromise and about working as a team.”

Could you have reached your present position without your education endeavors?

“Without the experiences gained in college, I would not be where I am today. I entered college not knowing what I really wanted to do. The life lessons learned and the ‘tough love’ professors have taught me that you are not handed opportunities, you must seek them out and work hard each and every day in order to succeed.”

What continuing education is required for your specific role?

“I am always looking for opportunities that will help to expand my knowledge, spark my creativity and teach me new ideas. I like to refer back to the phrase ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it!’ If I don’t continue to challenge myself, then I lose my creativity as well as knowledge of the new trends and innovative ideas that are out there.”

How do you keep your skills up to date?

“I am constantly asking questions and doing research. As a people person, I love to strike up conversations with people everywhere I go. I am also a hands-on learner so if I read about a new idea, I immediately want to try it and test it out. Another key component I’ve found to excel in today’s workforce is paying attention to social media to see what new trends people are following and what sparks people’s interests.”

Keri Ann Beazell is a Baltimore writer following the latest developments in arts and culture, natural wonders, lifestyle and pets. She enjoys promoting thought-provoking discussions, education, new ideas and smiles among readers. Follow her online at and


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