Words of Wisdom with Babs Sandeen

Babs Sandeen
Vice Chancellor, Resource and Economic Development
Los Rios Community College District
Email Babs 

What are three things you wish you’d known as you embarked on your career:
1. You only have one chance to make a first impression.  Make your best effort to know your audience when meeting people for the first time. Doing research ahead of time shows respect and interest, although try to keep an open mind when doing that too. (Sometimes web

rch isn't as comprehensive or helpful as we might think it is.) resea

2. Always have some positive news ready to share with folks about your organization or what you are doing.  I have at times been in situations where I am ruminating about something difficult at work or thinking about problems I was handling or facing and that is what is on my mind. And, subsequently, I have been caught flat-footed without highlights to share.  People generally like talking with upbeat, successful people.  Be that beam of light!

3. You don’t have to have all of the answers but you do have to try to find them if you don’t know them when someone asks.  Being responsive and responsible matters a lot in the business world.  If you are dependable and follow-through on your promises, you will be top of mind when colleagues think of someone to involve in a new project or someone who gets things done.

Did you have a mentor? If so, what was the most important piece of advice they gave you?
I have not had a formal mentor, but I typically have been blessed with wonderful peers who have served one another as sounding boards or coaches.  The most important piece of advice I have been given by a peer is to be direct when giving feedback to employees.  Like many people, I do not seek out conflict, so there have been times when I have not been as direct about an issue or concern as I should have been. I have learned that this does not help correct a problem and is not fair to an employee.  I have had great help in crafting appropriate feedback mechanisms and learning over time to be more direct in a compassionate way from my colleagues.

How did/do you handle work/life balance?
I schedule things like workouts and time with friends on my calendar, just like I do with work obligations and meetings!  I think that I do well with this.  I try to enjoy everything I do (at work and after work)!

Do you have any suggestions of books, articles, websites, etc. that might help a young professional?
I like to surf the web.  When you have an issue…surf away.  I don’t have any favorites but there are so many resources available.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the 40 and under business professionals in our region?   
This is such an amazing region.  I grew up in Southern California and moved here right after I turned 40.  I wish I had been here long before then.  There are so many cool places here – American River Parkway, wineries, hiking trails, musical and theatrical performances, lectures, social events and activities, the River Cats, and the Kings.  There are also so many advocacy headquarters in Sacramento too, that basically any interest a person has, there is a way to get involved and make a difference.  I LOVE IT HERE!