UT L&D Manager Spotlight - Summer Salazar

Summer Salazar,
Director of Employer Engagement,
Texas Career Engagement

1. Describe your role for UT.

As Director of Employer Engagement for Texas Career Engagement, I have the opportunity to develop strategies that cultivate new multi-faceted relationships with local to global employers to recruit the diverse talent campus-wide at UT Austin for virtual and in-person recruiting opportunities. This is done in partnership with all career services offices, Texas Development, Texas Global, HR and other partners across campus. Additionally, our team oversees HireUTexas powered by Handshake, where all campus and external partners can post positions at all levels (work-study, student employment, internships, full-time, etc.) to provide high impact opportunities for all students and alumni. 

2. What was the most important lesson you learned as a new manager?

Emotional intelligence. New managers are brought into new spaces, new conversations, and experience new levels of expectations. This can be intimidating for anyone, so learning to navigate uncomfortable spaces, how and when to address certain topics, and how to manage up are all part of the equation. Be comfortable in the uncomfortable, trust yourself, and observe leaders and mentors to help guide your understanding of this process. When in doubt, ask.

3. What advice do you have for managers to help develop their team?

Listen and understand first to develop trust and rapport. Get to know your team. Be transparent and make sure they have the information, understanding of expectations, and tools/resources to be successful. Then meet them where they’re at and connect with them on an ongoing basis, and recognize the “little wins” along the way. Value diversity of thought and create a team culture you can be proud of!

4. Why is learning in the workplace important?

Skills now have a shelf-life of 2 – 5 years, so we have to be ready to grow and change as our work evolves. My goal for myself and for each team member is to have a growth mentality, to stay informed and to always think ahead. There is so much information at our fingertips. Before proposing a new idea, research and benchmark, get feedback and demonstrate the thoughtfulness that went into the decision. Leaders appreciate this and love when team members take initiative of their own professional development.

5. What is your favorite way to learn (feel free to mention any tool, subscriptions, or services here as well)?  

I love to read! As my role and the field of employer engagement has evolved, especially during COVID, I am learning more about economic development and the future of work. One resource our team created to help everyone with this information is our Employment Trends Digest. I read this each week to stay informed with things happening in our area and beyond. Anyone can subscribe here: Employment Engagement Communications Listserv

Additionally, conference attendance and volunteering for leadership positions within national/regional associations allows me to learn from peers within the industry. This is one of my favorite ways to learn!