Joan Davidson-Scheer

Joan Davidson-ScheerEducation

Joan Davidson
I loved being able to explore many different career options. During my 4 years at UNL, I had declared 5 different majors. That proved to be very valuable in providing a variety of skills throughout my life. I also met my future husband, who was a graduate student, when I was a junior, and married him when I was a senior. That year, he became a professor of Mechanical Engineering at UNL.
My career started as a teacher in Panama, Nebraska. I taught grades 7 -12. I was able to teach General Science, Biology, and Chemistry and music, both vocal and instrumental, all in one year. That is what I mean by the value of learning and being able to utilize a great variety of skills. 
Still wanting to pursue more skills, I began my Master's Degree studies and graduated in Educational Psychology. I received my MA in 1967 from UNL, but had to take my degree in absentia because my husband had accepted a job in Columbus, Ohio. Once, again, this is was a golden opportunity. I was able to use both degrees as a counselor in the College of Biological Sciences at Ohio State University. 
Then history repeated itself and we moved to a suburb of Rochester, NY. I became a counselor at Palmyra-Macedon High School and kept that job for several years. In the summers, I continued my education in a variety of schools, including Rochester Institute of Technology. That enabled me to be certified as a science teacher and guidance counselor in 1971 in New York State.
When we tested a computerized career guidance program in the high school where I was a counselor, I got the opportunity to work for the company who created it. That took me to Singer Education Systems where I was able to write a vocational information program for Job Corps Centers.
Once again we decided to move - this time to California. That is how I ended up in Silicon Valley. I interviewed for a job at Computer Curriculum Corporation writing computerized guidance programs for high school students. No, I did not program it because my education did not include programming, but I was able to provide all the information about careers using a government document which described careers. I received permission to use the information from a government official I met and so the government document and our computerized program were released at the same time. 
After the program was released, I had the opportunity to work for ROLM Telecommunications. I would be writing the programs to teach technicians how to repair the computerized telephone branch exchange telephone switches. That meant I had to learn how to repair the telephone switches before I could write the programs. As soon as I passed the course, the department changed its direction and because of an incredible manager a group of us had, we all ended up in marketing operations. Believe it or not, I was the financial liaison between marketing operations and the CFO of the company. That certainly gave me another opportunity to learn something I had never been specifically educated to do. In exploring how to work with financial data which was provided to me, I discovered a computer program that shortened the process of verifying and compiling the expenses of the managers in all functions of Marketing Operations.
Then another opportunity, which I had been wanting in the company, became available to me. I wanted to write the programs for management development, which had a great deal of similarity to teaching managers to "counsel" their employees to be more successful on the job. That was a career path I could really internalize and grow in the direction I always wanted. It combined my counseling background in a company that was technically-oriented in Silicon Valley.
After several years of writing management development programs, I had been searching Silicon Valley for companies which were most sought after and had leading edge technology. After several years of interviewing in various functions, I finally got the phone call from Corporate Education at Hewlett-Packard offering me a job in management development. I was so thrilled, I said I wanted to come in person to accept the job and meet my future colleagues. The rest is history! I spent almost 14 years at HP - all of them in management development. We made sure that the programs we wrote met HPs management development needs by testing those programs worldwide. We went to locations in Singapore, Hong Kong, and throughout Europe as well as multiple locations in the US. My manager in HP, however, after completing the program on Coaching and Managing Performance, gave me the opportunity to be a management development consultant worldwide. My first assignment was in Melbourne, Australia and I had never lived outside the US. I worked there for two three-month assignments in 1989 and 1990. As a result of the first program integrating the efforts of managers in all functions to strengthen developing their employees, the management education department in Melbourne was awarded the head of all management development for all of the Asia Pacific.
Also in 1990, I worked on a 3-month project for the European Headquarters in Geneva. They wanted to improve customer satisfaction in Europe. I had to live in England because I did not speak French or any other foreign language, which I regret so much. In the headquarters, however, employees were required to speak English, so I was able to write the management development program in English. After the program was implemented, I was informed in person by a manager from Geneva that HP met its customer satisfaction goals. 
I could never imagine a career path like the one I had after I graduated from UNL. It started me on a path lifetime learning.
I was able to get an undergraduate college education because UNL gave me a Work Study Scholarship, which paid all my tuition for 4 years. Otherwise, I could not have afforded to go to college and have the opportunities I had in so many different occupations. UNL also gave me a lifelong desire to continue my education and learn on the job, which was invaluable in my career path from education to industry. It also gave me the opportunity to work worldwide to further expand my learning about different cultures and countries.
Create a strong mission and develop a vision that is larger than yourself. Understand what you want to do and then figure how to get there.
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