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70 SMT007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2019 Feature Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Tom Lavoie is a former HP D-level executive now president of Consensia IT Partners and a certified Focal Point business coach. In this interview at the IEEE Rising Stars Conference, Lavoie discusses why he attended the confer- ence, how he helps entry-level technical stars get their careers started with a plan, and helps experienced executives enhance their profes- sional skills. Nolan Johnson: I'm talking with Tom Lavoie, and you've been talking to the attendees who are college students and recently graduated young professionals. Can you tell us about what you do and what brings you here? Tom Lavoie: I franchised with FocalPoint Busi- ness Coaching early last year and one of my former HP colleagues, Bill Gris, reached out to me to do a presentation at a Riverside event about six weeks ago for a similar audience as here, and that went extremely well. I was ap- proached by one of the national IEEE leads af- ter the presentation; he asked me if I would be interested in coming to this event. Initially, we tried to get a presentation spot, but there just wasn't enough time so I agreed to attend and sponsor this year, and I've committed to pres- ent next year. I have a passion for coaching both senior- level and entry-level employees. I like to help the younger generation get into the workforce and know what to do to get the right job be- cause it's different today compared to the mid- '80s when I graduated from college. Johnson: What are some of the things you might do for an entry-level professional talking with you? Lavoie: My son is a sophomore at the Univer- sity of California, Santa Barbara, so I've been coaching him a lot. What's interesting about entry-level employees is they're extremely bright. They study very hard at college. Most of them are straight-A students in engineering and computer science—technical degrees—but they don't necessarily do their homework as far as learning what to do to get the job. What Tom Lavoie on Career Planning and Professional Development

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