Career Cafes

Please join us for our February 24th Career Cafe featuring WHS parent, Jenn Cronn, RN, BSN. Jenn is a seasoned Labor and Delivery Nurse at Hoag Hospital who has been working on the frontlines during the COVID crisis. Come hear about the adventures she has had as she has navigated her way through her career and through the pandemic. Career Cafe will be held during Tutorial in the Black Box in the new theater building. Snacks will be provided at the end.
December 9, 2021- Dr. Minh Nguyen on Healthcare
Thank you so much to Dr. Minh Nguyen for speaking to our WHS students for Career Cafe today!  You helped our students understand that there are several pathways to choose from in medicine and you shared your experience of being a D.O. (as opposed to an M.D.) doctor.  So many of us didn’t ever realize there were those two types of medical doctors and you explained well the differences between them, and even prepared a handout for the students so that they wouldn’t need to take notes.  You also shared how working as a military doctor in the Navy allowed you to earn several degrees, all paid for by the government.  Pivoting to entrepreneurship, you own your own medical group now and share what that experience is like with our students.  You have inspired and informed our students about the various pathways the field of medicine offers.  Thank you again for taking time away from your work to give to our student community.  As you said today, I’m sure several physicians-to-be were sitting in the audience today!



With about 50 students in attendance, Marc Lyncheski’s Career Cafe presentation was one of our most highly attended presentations of the year.  By sharing his career story, he inspired our students to start dreaming and planning for their future.  He gave practical advice and tips that help not only students interested in a marketing career, but also, anyone following any career path.  The advice that you “receive by giving” and the encouragement to volunteer in areas that interest you is especially valuable on so many levels.  So often, important network connections are made when you volunteer, and as Marc reminded us, people tend to want to help you if you have help them first.

Marketing Career Cafe Video

Thank you to our last speaker, Mr. Rao. What a great feeling it was to be back in-person for Career Cafe, after more than a year of virtual programming! Thank you so much for volunteering to speak to our WHS students about your IT and Sales career pathway.  You showed students that all the twists and turns of your educational and career pathway did not hinder your future; rather, they helped contribute to your current success as a sales manager at Amazon.  Students learned to “never worry about results” and to “accept the outcomes,” realizing that their initial failures often teach them valuable lessons that set them up for later success.  What a great message for the students and for all of us!
Thank you, Matt Clark, for speaking at our April Career Cafe. Matt discussed his path to success in the financial services industry and how he spent eight years in the army before beginning his financial career. Mr. Clark credits his military years for shaping him and preparing him for his next career. He is now a VP at PIMCO where he works with large, institutional investors such as government pension plans. Matt provided a broad overview of the financial services industry (what is it, why it exists, types of financial service careers, etc.) as well as great insight and advice about joining the military.
Click on the link below to view the discussion.


Thank you, Kelly Hoadley, for speaking at our March Career Cafe. Kelly is WHS parent and accomplished creative director who manages a team that creates national TV campaigns. Ms. Hoadley spoke about how art can lead to a rewarding and lucrative career. She also shared her non-traditional path to success and gave advice on pursuing careers in art, advertising and design.
Click HERE to view our Career Cafe with creative art director, Kelly Hoadley.


Thank you, Marcelo Figueroa, for speaking at our January Career Cafe. Marcelo shared how he turned his passion for game boards into a successful career. He gave excellent strategies for following your dreams and winning big in the career game, and he ended by giving away free board games to participants.
Click on the link below to view the discussion.
We are very grateful to Kim Drndarski, a pediatric physical therapist, who was our Career Cafe guest speaker in December. Kim gave us an inside look at her path to success as well as a very information presentation on careers in physical therapy.
Click on the link below to view the discussion.

We are very grateful to Mike Curtis, a Fire Captain with the OC Fire Department, for being our most recent Career Cafe speaker. Mike shared his non-traditional path to becoming a first responder. He also inspired the students and provided specific guidance on how to become a firefighter.
Click on the link below to view the discussion.


Huge THANK YOU to Zack Bartell, a WHS alum and thriving gym owner who came to talk to us on October 5th about his experiences. If you were not able to attend, see the video below for the complete presentation.

Video of Career Cafe with Zack Bartell



Career Cafes are a wonderful opportunity for students to start to understand and develop knowledge of career options that are open to them outside of the traditional 4 year college route. By introducing students to speakers who have forged successful and fulfilling careers via the routes of community college, technical or trade school or even straight to work, it is the hope that we can give those students more support and a vision for where their future could take them, and offer options other than 4 year colleges for those students interested in alternative paths.

Career Cafes for the fall of 2020 will be via Zoom. That opens our speaker selection to the world! We are always searching for speakers who have had a non-traditional path to their current success (meaning they didn’t go straight to a 4-year college, went to trade or technical school or didn’t go to college at all). Do you have a friend or family member who has a great job and is enthusiastic about talking about it? Can they spare an hour to get students excited about it too? Please check your contact list and connect us to those folks. Thank you, and also special thanks to Katie McEwen for setting up this amazing speaker series. So many students benefit from it.

We are always searching for speakers who can present to the students about a career they love and that they came to via a different route to the 4 year college route. If you would like to help give back to your community and offer the benefit of your knowledge and experience to the next generation of hard workers, we would be delighted to hear from you! Please email Katie McEwen at