Sometimes you just have to make it up as you go along.
That’s the position in which Devan Luth ’15 found herself – without a clear vision of her path following graduation.
“As I was concluding my senior year, I was applying for jobs all over the metro, but I did not really know what field I truly wanted to pursue,” Luth says.
For Luth, that uncertainty meant she was free to explore any opportunity. And it didn’t take long for one to present itself.
“One day, I was sitting in the movie theater waiting for the movie to start and I saw a job posting for an internship in development at the Guthrie Theatre on my phone,” Luth says. “I thought, ‘why not give it a shot?’”
Luth, a communication and theatre art double major, had been deeply involved in theatre at Concordia. A chance to work at the Guthrie felt like a can’t-miss opportunity, despite the fact that the internship would focus on a career she had never considered before.
She was accepted to the program and before long her decision paid off. After just a couple weeks at the Guthrie, Luth had made up her mind to build a career around development and philanthropy. But she wasn’t going to do it alone.
By using LinkedIn to search for Cobber alumni in the Twin Cities area working in development, Luth reached out to Anna Haugo ’11, development officer at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Foundation.
“Devan and I met for coffee,” Haugo says. “She shared her involvement at Concordia through academics and extracurriculars, including internships she had and then I then shared my story.”
Connecting with another Cobber in her field helped Luth find her footing in a new career.
“Anna told me all about her journey, gave me advice she wished she would have known and introduced me to others in the field,” Luth says. “She answered all of my questions and never made me feel like they were silly to ask.”
Mentorship isn’t a one-way street and, Haugo says, the benefits of being that touchpoint for a young graduate are significant as well.
“There is nothing cooler than interacting with a passionate young person and helping them to find their way,” she says. “The mentors in my life have done this for me, and it is really special to be on the flipside of the relationship.”
After a summer of email exchanges and coffee meetings, Luth landed her first paying job in philanthropy as development specialist at Ecumen. And although the job wasn’t a direct result of her relationship with Haugo, Luth values the advice and direction she’s received from her alumna mentor and she would recommend any student to make a similar connection.
“My advice to current students and alumni is to go out and meet Cobbers in your field,” she says. “Alumni mentorship is an incredible opportunity that all Cobbers should take advantage of regardless of where you are in your career journey.”
It is really rewarding to step into a role of mentor for those who have similar aspirations and come from a wonderful place like Concordia. – Anna Haugo
Luth has made her own path by seizing opportunities and taking initiative in the face of uncertainty. But alumni mentorship has been an important part of her journey and she credits the Concordia network with making that connection possible.
“I still connect with Anna. At the end of her emails she always reminds me that she is always there whenever I need advice or have a question,” Luth says. “It makes me feel even more thankful that I went to Concordia. This doesn't just happen with all colleges and alumni.”
Header image photo: Studio Bri
Eric Lillehaugen '11 is a content specialist and CMS administrator for Concordia College.