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Nancy Donovan

Assistant Director for Recruiting Events


MA, Career Development, JFK University
BA, English Literature, UC Berkeley

How did you get here?

After 15 years on campus at Berkeley Law, I transitioned into my position at Berkeley Career Engagement, and I’m thrilled to put my career development education to good use. My professional background includes event planning, workshop design and delivery, and staff professional development training.

Who do you work with? What’s cool about your job?

I work with the Employer Relations team of career professionals and more than 45,000 students on campus! It’s a fabulous opportunity for me to learn more about students today and their varied interests and career goals, as well as working with a team of engaged and enthusiastic staff at Berkeley Career Engagement. It’s an impressively diverse team, which I value.

Being a curious person, this job is way cool as I get to interact with employers, students and staff from many different backgrounds. I am an anthropologist at heart and really enjoy getting to know how people are stepping up to live their best lives, choosing career paths and putting in the effort and time to move forward. It’s all about the people, being kind and being curious.

What’s the best career advice anyone has given you?

I think “planned happenstance” as Career Development theorist John Krumboltz describes it is often spot on. The theory makes it OK to not always plan, because unplanned events often lead to great careers. You never know who you will meet in an elevator or an airplane and how a spontaneous conversation may lead you something deeply meaningful. By staying open to happenstance and coincidence we keep ourselves engaged with life. The qualities students need in order to take advantage of planned happenstance include: curiosity, persistence, flexibility, optimism, and risk-taking.     


I love to cook with and for friends and family and I’m a voracious reader. Dacher Keltner’s book Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life and Why Patti Smith Matters by Caryn Rose are two recent favorites.