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North Texas LEAD Blog

Andrea Thomas lands at DFW Airport!

27 Jul 2015

Andrea Thomas

Andrea Thomas

Workforce Diversity Manager
DFW International Airport


Working with North Texas LEAD has proven to be an exceptional experience for me. The selection and job search process is set up to bring out the best in candidates through coaching, resume development and more. The  LEAD team was instrumental in helping me take my resume to another level, allowing me to realize my strengths and how truly valuable my professional experience is.

Having long tenure with my previous organization, it had been several years since I’d interviewed. LEAD  introduced me to the STAR format of behavioral based interviewing, which better prepared me to communicate my experience effectively and to show my value. After only a short time, I was hired by a world class organization that is progressive, innovative and embraces diversity.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with North Texas LEAD. I will continue to remain in touch with the organization and tell others about the great work they do!”


Workshop to help military members, veterans enter workforce

27 Apr 2015

News release shared from UNT Health Science Center.

Workshop to help military members, veterans enter workforce

Steve SoslandDrawing on 13 years of experience recruiting U.S. military veterans in the private sector, Steve Sosland will lead a free job search training workshop for active military members and veterans April 30 at UNT Health Science Center.

Sosland, a West Point graduate and Chief People Officer in the UNTHSC Office of People Development, will offer attendees who are seeking jobs hands-on training, including resume building, networking skills and interviewing techniques.

“Too often I see military veterans undervalue their background, skill and experience as they pursue employment during their transition back to civilian life,” said Sosland, who served as a U.S. Army officer from 1980 to 1991. “In fact, they have many of the critical skills and qualities that make them excellent candidates for jobs in business, government and nonprofits. I hope to help them learn to highlight and communicate those strengths.”

The workshop is offered by North Texas Leaders and Executives Advocating Diversity, known as North Texas LEAD, which strives to make North Texas the destination of choice for diverse talent by breaking stereotypes and encouraging employers to reach out to every segment of the community. UNTHSC President Dr. Michael Williams is a member of the North Texas LEAD Board of Directors.

The workshop will be held from to 6 to 8 p.m. April 30 in the Medical Education and Training (MET) Building at UNT Health Science Center, 1000 Montgomery St. in Fort Worth. To register for the event, visit the event’s webpage.

Eventbrite - Transitioning Military Job Seeker Training - April 30, 2015


Getting Past the Computer: How to Optimize Your Resume for Online Recruitment Software

7 Nov 2014

By Randy Hansen

At this point in your career, a resume is almost an afterthought. While you have undoubtedly spent much time and effort on the creation and perfection of your document, when was the last time you really looked at it and optimized it in this time of computerized recruitment? In order to maximize your chances for job seeking success, it’s important to be clear on not only who the employer is seeking, but how they find the ideal employee and what you can do to leverage their techniques to your advantage.

The creation of an effective resume in these technological times requires a different perspective. There are primarily two audiences to serve when applying online for an opening: one is human and the other is computerized. Your efforts in resume construction should be focused on attracting both, but this hybrid approach requires insight into the technological applications of recruitment processes plus some individualized effort on the applicant’s part to customize the resume for each specific opening.

For most applicants applying online, the first speed bump on the road to a new position is the software application a company’s HR department uses to initially parse out the desirable resumes. This has become necessary due to the ease of applying online and recruiters are flooded with countless resumes unsuited for the position. Having a staffer review each of the possibly hundreds of submissions is an inefficient and wasteful exercise. For these departments, recruitment software programs are essential.

As the resumes are electronically submitted for a specific position, the software seeks out relevant words, terms, job titles, years of experience and other criteria the employer determines is crucial for that position. Therefore, you should analyze the employer’s job description to ensure the company’s words and phrases you encounter are also in the resume you’ll be submitting for the position. You’ll have to modify your resume by inserting or creating entries to align with their corporate expressions. If needed, print out the description and highlight each word to make sure nothing is missed.

Remember though, it’s important to stress that the insertion of the specialized verbiage should make sense within the context of your resume as well as being truthful and accurate. As you finish, if there are still unique words or terms that apply to your qualifications but can’t be easily utilized within the resume, consider adding a supplemental topic heading at the bottom of your resume entitled “Keywords”. Underneath, include all of the distinctive phrases and corporate lingo that went unused in the main body of resume. This way, the computer will still “see” these words and match them to the employer’s established criteria, increasing your chances of your resume getting in front of a pair of human eyes who will likely pay scant attention to this last resume entry.

Once your resume has passed muster with the software program, it’s forwarded to an HR staffer tasked with reviewing these resumes for submittal to the hiring manager. This is the time to impress a real person.  Make sure that every entry of your resume details not just what you did for that employer, but your achievements and progression.

Each resume should be modified off of a permanent template (easily created in any word processing program) and saved with a specific name, i.e. “Acme Corp Sales Mgr resume 11 19 14” so when the time comes for the job interview, you can access and print the exact resume you submitted for the opening, including all of the customization applied to get past the computer and HR department. Lastly, remember to study the resume before the interview to remind you of any specific words or terms that might come in handy to impress the hiring manager.

Then, the rest is up to you. Good luck!


About the Author:

Randy Hansen is a volunteer blogger for North Texas LEAD and is a veteran journalist and corporate communicator with knowledge and experience in media relations, social media, video/photography and content creation. He lives in the Mid-Cities area.

North Texas LEAD Rocks!!

4 Mar 2014

By: Gyna M. Bivens and Stephanie Valadez

Hiring is the word of the day!  “Hiring” was the word of the year for 2013 when more than 100 LEAD candidates found employment AFTER going through our unique process.  It was a fantastic year with the following LEAD partners finding the right candidates for impressive positions:

  • American Airlines, Manager of Strategic Talent Management
  • American Airlines, eCommerce Product Owner
  • American Red Cross, Testing Programs Director
  • Bell Helicopter Textron, Director, Strategy
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Director of Human Resources
  • City of Fort Worth, Senior Accountant
  • DART, Internal Auditor
  • DART, Director of Diversity and EEO
  • DART, AVP Marketing & Advertising
  • DFW Airport, Systems Performance Analyst
  • Fort Worth T, Grants and DBE Administrator
  • JPS Health Network, Clinical Research Assistant
  • JPS Health Network, Communications Specialist/Writer
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Sr. Subcontract Administrator
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Sr. HR Business Partner
  • MedSynergies, Practice Administrator
  • Oncor Electric Delivery, Director of Business Development, Modeling and Analytics
  • TCC, Assistant Director of Nursing
  • Texas Health Resources, Strategic OD Consultant
  • UNT System, HR Director
  • UNT System, Brand Advertising Manager


That’s an impressive roster.  The key to the success for these candidates was more than luck.  The LEAD process involves pre-screening and committed panel interviewers from the employers who support LEAD with annual partner fees.  At the time of this blog entry, a handful of LEAD candidates are in the finals for positions that will crown their resumes.   When asked what made them successful, candidates have several common responses:

-They were coachable.

-They were diligent in searching the jobs available from partners.

-They attended Candidate Networking Receptions.

-They followed the job search guidelines LEAD put in place.

-They didn’t rely on LEAD to conduct their job search and used several resources.

We are proud of 2013 and already excited about what 2014 has in store.  Visit the Success Stories tab to read about our recent landings.

Resumes Require Thought!

3 Aug 2012

I was surprised recently when a candidate applied for about eight positions with two employers in a matter of 5 minutes.   Even though we advise candidates to tailor each resume for each job application….we really need to stress that advice with greater impact.

When I see applications being logged with great rapidity, I will ask a candidate to “send me your resumes of submittal along with each job description” so we can determine if LEAD will send a heightened endorsement.  Even though a candidate has been endorsed by his/her panel of interviewers, HR Manager Stephanie Valadez will only send a personal endorsement when she sees the match between the job description and resume that was submitted.

This week, one candidate emailed me two resumes that were submitted for six job applications.    I asked for the other four, but they did not exist.    The highlight of the week came when another candidate who had applied for multiple positions with one resume wrote back:  “…after doing a resume modification specific to the job description I can clearly see why I have not even received a phone screening.  I am grateful for this assignment you asked me to complete.  This has been an excellent training for me.”

I will never forget the young man who (within 30 minutes) applied for 124 positions at Lockheed Martin a few years ago.    The jobs were so varied requiring skills ranging from legal to aeronautical engineering.  I called him and advised him there was no way he could do EVERYTHING at Lockheed.

Always remember, one resume does not fit all.  Unless the job descriptions are identical, applying for five jobs with one company will likely require five different resumes.

Job-seeking has changed in recent years.  We are all familiar with the housing industry’s description of buyers and sellers’ markets.   For us, we find ourselves in an employers’ market.  Improve your chances to get noticed by submitting resumes conveying impact.  A resume that conveys proven effectiveness will win out over one that conveys hope and dreams any day of the week.

New Partners & Holiday Job Search Tips

23 Nov 2011

What a wonderful season we have before us as we count down the days of 2011.   North Texas LEAD enters 2012 with significant impact.  Two new partners are joining our vision and I know LEAD candidates AND applicants will peruse their websites with vigor.   It is no surprise the executives who generously shared their time during LEAD’s Decade of Service luncheon also met with a group of Dallas CEOs to share the LEAD vision.  Two company leaders committed to joining on the spot.  Every candidate and applicant of North Texas LEAD would have been moved to see Jeff Fegan (DFW International CEO), Ralph Heath (President of Lockheed) and my landlord Matt Rose (Chairman and CEO BNSF Railway) tout the benefits of partnering with LEAD.  Office space has been provided to LEAD since the doors opened on August 11, 2001.

Trinity Industries’ CEO Tim Wallace attended the Dallas meeting and is bringing his Dallas-based company into the LEAD consortium.  We await word from the second Dallas company whose general manager committed to joining as well.  As the Dallas talks were winding down, other LEAD advocates were sharing the story with a major university.    University of Texas at Arlington President James Spaniolo embraced the LEAD vision and we now have our fourth institution of higher learning to join LEAD.   Both employers have impressive openings.  During the last reception of the year, candidates were delighted that Omni American Bank’s job openings are now on the company’s website!  Positive change is all around.

Prayers are always sent ‘up’ for all candidates, but there is much to be said for on-going preparation on the part of candidates.   The most important job-tip I’ve heard in recent months came from Lockheed Martin’s Robert Buck.   As most of you know, we conduct monthly briefings before selecting the applicants who will be considered for LEAD candidacy.   During the October briefing Robert carefully dissected the typical resume.  Anyone who knows Robert knows he is a very passionate guy.  People who don’t know him will appreciate his passion for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.   Robert drives from Allen, Texas every morning to the defense contractor located in west Fort Worth.  That’s passion.

Robert told job-seekers to pay close attention to the next job description that spoke to them.   Too often a resume can highlight the achievements a job-seeker is proud of—–but those achievements are often not in sync with what is stated as a requirement in the job description.   I actually saw faces light up when Robert told the group of nearly 40 to make sure their resume……well, you can email Stephanie and I for the REST OF THAT STORY.   It’s not intellectual property—-but it is worth a personal conversation.   If you are a job-seeker and you want to hear what we think is the best advice we’ve heard all year —-email us.

In case you missed the luncheon, please take time and click on the video tab on our website:   Whether you find your next job with a LEAD partner or non-partner, you will be pleased to know you are a part of a vision that is supported by corporate giants.    Because of the support of the partners of North Texas LEAD, people all across the nation are changing the way they view North Texas.   Every applicant who uploads a resume to the LEAD database contributes to that change.

Don’t let the holidays lull you into an aura of inactivity.   You must update your profiles with the LEAD companies.  You must structure every resume with critical consideration.  You must continue to improve your delivery….your presence….your outlook.  I truly believe the only way to conquer the future is to start with the now.

-Gyna Bivens


Applying for Jobs – Common Sense Tips You’re Overlooking

18 Nov 2011

With the year end quickly approaching, the opportunity to apply and be considered for jobs closing this year are becoming scarce. I enjoy reading career blogs and tips and most of the time there is a big ‘a-ha’ moment for me. This article was shared with me and it includes all of the common sense tips and practices that job seekers should be applying to their jobs… BUT THEY DON’T. Why is that?

Turn off your filters and read this carefully. This may open you to opportunities you would’ve never been considered for because you were a “blind squirrel”, “sloth”, or one of those infamous “me-me-me’s”.

David Weliver from Money Under 30How to Not Suck at Applying for Jobs

Best wishes,

Stephanie Valadez

The T hosts LEAD Q1 Networking Reception

9 Apr 2015

Fort Worth Transportation Authority President and CEO Paul Ballard hosted North Texas LEAD’s first Candidate Networking Reception of 2015 . LEAD receptions bring professional job seekers together with employers who are driving diversity and inclusion.

(Front row: Shawn Donaghy – Vice President of Operations & Maintenance (The T), Bo V. Cung, P.E. – Vice President Facilities Management(The T), Detra Whitmore – Director of Administration(The T), Paul J Ballard – President & Chief Executive Officer (The T), Gyna Bivens – President & Chief Executive Officer (North Texas LEAD), Melanie Kroeker – Vice President of Human Resources(The T), Nancy K. Amos – Senior Vice President(The T), Robert D. Harmon – Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance(The T), Joan Hunter – Communications Manager(The T).

Back row: William Johnson – Grants & DBE Administrator(The T), Barclay E. Berdan, FACHE – Chief Executive Officer of (Texas Health Resources), Bob Baulsir – Vice President TEX Rail and Procurement (The T)

The Power of Connections

8 Apr 2015

North Texas LEAD’s unique process connects leading employers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to top diverse talent from all over the globe.

DFW Airport Reception

9 Feb 2015

DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue hosted North Texas LEAD’s final Candidate Networking Reception of 2014 . LEAD receptions bring professional job seekers together with employers who are driving diversity and inclusion. (Left to Right: Sean Donohue, Gyna Bivens, Executive Director, North Texas LEAD; Linda Valdez Thompson, EVP Administration and Diversity, DFW Airport, Ken Buchanan, EVP Revenue Management, Robert Horton, VP Environmental Affairs, and Thomas Dallam, VP Human Resources).

High Impact Award

9 Feb 2015

Upon its 40th anniversary, DFW Airport became the first-ever organization to receive the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce High Impact Legacy Award. City leaders praised the airport’s regional economic impact and commitment to excellence. Airport CEO and LEAD Board Member Sean Donohue accepted the honors. LEAD immediate Past Chairman and current CEO of Freese & Nichols Bob Pence presented the award.

North Texas LEAD Vision

9 Feb 2015

LEAD’s vision is to be a driving force in North Texas that fosters an open environment of diversity and inclusion for top talent. We attract and connect top talent to outstanding organizations who are driving diversity and inclusion.

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