Vikings Ask, Vikings Answer - Spring 2019

Grand View asks students and alumni to share or define what success means to them and what they believe success will look like in their future. A short survey lets respondents ask questions on how to be successful - probing for advice on career and personal topics. Alumni then answer questions based on their own life experiences.

Questions and answers appear below. Clicking on the + symbol next to each question below opens the answers. Enter a keyword or phrase into the FAQ box to find specific topics quickly.

If you like an answer and want to follow up with the person who gave it, click on their name and you’ll be directed to either:

  • an email message form addressed to that alumnus
  • the alumnus’s LinkedIn profile (click on “Connect”, then “Add a Note”, and in that form write “I like your Viking response and would like to connect with you about it”

If you have any questions, please contact Carrie Sponheim at (515) 263-2935 or csponheim @

Professional / Career Success Questions

What do you advise to be a lifelong learner?

"Read as much as you can, keep up to date on new book releases related to your field & interests. Consider a RSS reader ( and subscribe to topics related to your field to stay up to date with current events / news articles related to your field & interests."
Nick Crawford '09, IT Infrastructure Lead, Corteva Agriscience (GV Majors: Computer Science & Sociology)

"First it begins with you. You have to commit to being a lifelong learner. It's not just in the classroom or whitepapers, but just being a student of whatever industry you end up in to constantly be learning and evolving to emerging trends and shifts within the industry. Many employers will have continuing education budgets to make sure that their employees are continually learning and adding more value to the organization."
- AJ Krist '12, President, Krist Insurance (GV Major: Business Administration)

"Many employers offer professional development opportunities. When applying for jobs, either ask in the interview process, or look on the company website to see if they offer these opportunities. Often, they will only pay for trainings that they believe will benefit their company. I have taken many great trainings and gotten new certifications through my employer that have helped me professionally and personally."
- Alina McDaniel '15, Employment Supervisor, Link Associates (GV Major: Psychology)

"Most professions offer continuing education courses to keep up on what's new, community colleges also offer adult or single classes for special interests."
- Chad Wagener, Owner/Dentist, Ankeny Aesthetic Dentistry (GV Major: Biology)

Was it possible to get a good paying job with a Bachelor's degree?

"Yes, I was able and did start with Principal in an Underwriting area right after graduation. But, it was with my work for a Grand View professor of Accounting that I received a referral from him at Principal. That helped me to secure an interview!"
- Diane Howe '83, Retired Vice President for Operations, Principal Financial Group (GV Major: Business Administration)

"I was lucky to be able to find a job in my field prior to graduating college. I started applying for jobs about two months prior to graduation. This is the time in your life to use the contacts you have made at your internships and other professional events. It really can be about who you know. Also consider a job at the company you have an internship with. This is a great way to get some experience and you already have an advantage as the employer knows who you are."

Nicole Prenger '12, Director of Communication and Events, World Food Prize Foundation (GV Majors: Graphic Journalism / Mass Communication)

"Yes. My professors helped me get internships in my field of study which lead to job offers. Build relationships with your teachers and let them know when you need help. They have so many connections."
- Allison Vice '09, Co-Owner, Vice Construction (GV Major: Business Administration - Real Estate Concentration)

Do you feel you have found more success using your unique gifts?

"Yes -- but also appreciation & self-worth. By using my unique gifts (encouragement, joyful, organized, analytical & able to meet people where they are) has given me a better appreciation of who I am not only at my career but also personally with relationships and how I deal with/react in certain situations. These gifts may seem small and you may not think they make a difference, but they are a part of you and make you different than every other person on this planet. Embrace you!!!!"
Marissa Miller, Quality Assurance Analyst, Wells Fargo (GV Major: Graphic Design)

"I think that every single one of us is unique at the end of the day. No one is like you. So, being yourself is how you can find success. My advice would be to find people, an employer, etc that appreciates you for how you are completely and supports that. From there, using your unique strengths happens naturally and is welcomed."
Jordan (Henkenius '13) Evans, Human Resources, TMC Transportation, (GV Major: Health Promotion)

"I think using my unique gifts has played a HUGE role in my success professionally. I am a Human Resources Representative for about 215 employees. I am eager and continue to learn, although I graduated last year, because “Learner” was one of my 5 strengths form StrengthsFinder 2.0. For example, my other strengths include: achiever, significance, relator and arranger. Being in HR, I have to be able to relate to others, arrange staff accordingly and plan for pre-employment screenings (only a few examples of what I do daily). I set myself to high standards and set my goals high which helps me always strive to work hard and achieve those goals. Knowing and building on your unique gifts and strengths is crucial to your success professionally and in your every day life. We all know what we are good at and not so good at but seeing the results on paper and reading the results I think we all can benefit from to better understand ourselves. “Success” measurements are different for everyone, but I like to view success as achieving my goals while finding passion in what I do. My boss has been impressed with my knowledge and initiative (thanks to the leadership credential program I did at GV and other student activities I was involved in), that he has asked me to roll out a leadership program for our executive management team. For this program, I am using a similar structure of what I learned and completed in Core Seminar 3 combined with the Leadership Credential. I am so thankful for Core Seminar 3 as it is important to learn who you are, how you can better interact with others and build upon your strengths and talents while keeping a positive, mental outlook. It is important to not only choose a career based on what your good at, but also something you believe you will enjoy."
Shelby Fechner '18, Human Resources Repersentative, Johnson Brothers of Iowa, (GV Major: Business Administration - Human Resources Concentration)

Personal Success Questions

How do you make a relationship last forever?

"How to make a relationship last forever, I think is maybe impossible since 'forever' is a very long time. This obviously depends on your religious belief and what you think happens regarding life after death.

One example is my relationship with a best friend and a person who was my 'best man' at our wedding. That relationship started at what was Grand View College at the time - 1953. Not only were we friends while at Grand View, but we continued to be as we both attended Drake University to receive our Bachelor's Degree. That continued when we subsequently enrolled in the Grand View Seminary and became ordained pastors. Unfortunately my friend, Ev, passed on a few years ago, so physically we no longer enjoy each other’s company.

Here comes the religious belief part. Shortly before his passing on, he gave me a Grand View watch. I have worn that watch from the day he gave it to me to today. Every morning when I put it on, it reminds me of our friendship. Is he aware of that? I don't know, but I kind of like to think it is a continuation of our relationship.

Now there is another relationship. Come this June 6, my wife, Carol Ann and I will have been married 60 years. Is that forever? Or did it only seem like forever? No that has not been the case! Of course we have had our "differences of opinion" but the fact it has lasted this long is a good thing. Once again as with the case with Ev, Carol Ann and I started out with quite a few things in common. You see, she was a fFarmer's Daughter' (also a beautiful blonde) from Nebraska and attended a one room country grade school and then high school in a quite small farming town as did I. We both had all kinds of relatives with whom we would share joys and sorrows as well special festivals and holidays. At Grand View, we 'country hicks' learned classmates from even huge cities like Des Moines could be good friends.

But what I think contributes to those friends becoming 'Friends Forever' is getting together from time to time and sharing fun and growing experiences. Our current relationship with friends from Grand View days has been maintained by being with them at various Grand View gatherings throughout the year."
- Harald Sorensen '55

"By the time we reach our college years we’ve likely learned many of the necessary behavioral traits leading to long term relationship development. Perhaps merely by witnessing the actions of our parents. Traits such as love, love making, effective conflict resolution, trust, listening skills, goal sharing, understanding emotions and the like generally come to us pretty quickly. But what about beyond these. What can be challenging and fun is to step beyond these basics. We have enjoyed a courtship lasting 55 years (3 years dating followed by 52 years of wedded bliss). It all began on the Grand View campus. Our date nights didn’t end at GVU. Since then we have endeavored to do something special together on a regular basis, enjoying common interests together and pursuing mutual goals, passions and dreams. One of the keys to our relationship has been the sharing of our experiences, enjoyments and memories with friends. Since the 1960’s our most cherished and memorable travels, reunions and communications have been with dozens of very close GVU alumni. all started at GVU. Hopefully it is for you also. Thanks Grand View for all you have done for us!!"
- Al Sneeden '65 and Camille Snedden '66

"How to make a relationship last forever - I think being selfless with the individual you are in a relationship with (whether a significant other, friend, coworker) is super important. Understanding their needs and thinking of them is key while still taking good care of yourself in order to be a great friend/spouse/etc. I think finding a balance is really important. Another huge factor is solid communication - discussing everything with one another that affects you. For a spouse, for example - talking about finances, stressors, life decisions, etc. None of those things should ever be kept inside or handled alone."
Jordan (Henkenius '13) Evans, Human Resources, TMC Transportation, (GV Major: Health Promotion)

"Bear in mind that we met at the Freshman Mixer at Grand View, had our first “date” on October 18, 1958 and are zoning in on 58 years of marriage. So, some thoughts. One thought is very Grundvigian. Continue to learn your entire life. New horizons will open for you. A second thought is be flexible. Roll with the punches. A third thought is a couple should have SHARED CORE VALUES. One couple’s list of core values may be different than another couple’s list. Each core value may have several sub-sets within it. The list may expand or even contract over the years. In a healthy relationship people grow and change together. What’s on our list? Religion, Education, Family, Money Management, Societal Consciousness, Use of Leisure Time Obviously each partner will bring different strengths and skills into a relationship. Those should be respected by each partner."
Dan Mikel '60 and Alice Mikel '60

"To make a relationship last "forever" is dependent on many things. And while you may want to focus on the other person you're hoping to have a relationship with, you truly can only focus on yourself, at least at first. I've found my mindset, attitude, and behaviors to greatly impact my relationships.

Mindset- do your best to keep a positive mindset, be grateful for everything, and focus on the abundance mindset opposed to the scarcity mentality.

Attitude- we all have our own unique attitudes, the good and the bad. Take ownership of your attitude and if you're in a mood, own it. Be upfront with others and confide in them that you are indeed human, are in a mood, and my need some time alone or time to talk.

Behaviors- while behaviors can become routine, be aware of how you are behaving. Strive to live your best life each day and think of little ways to show the ones you love, that you love and respect them. Also, having conversations about how you want to be shown love/respect and how you like to show love/respect can be quite helpful.

It's definitely not a one-time thing but an every day, every moment kind of thing. Especially if you're working on improving aspects of your life, it'll take a while to create lasting change in your neural pathways to solidify the way you want to be. But stick with the gratitude, awareness, and respect and it should be a good start to forever."
Emily (Hurm '11) Kappelman, Acupuncturist, Acupuncture Wellness Center and Allergy Clinic of Iowa (GV Major: Health Promotion)

"The technology of today is very and Facebook. I email my college roommate at least once a month. Prior to that, we were old-fashioned and sent birthday and Christmas cards. We send out nearly 100 Christmas cards which few people do today. If there were folk school gatherings, we tried to attend. Contact with our college (now university) and hearing what they are doing is very exciting. Of course, I met my husband there."
- Carol Ann Sorenson '59