February 24 2017

SUCCESS STORY: Talent Connect Helps RPI Sr. Principal Gifts Officer’s Family Make Troy Home


In 2015, Joseph Strodel accepted a job as a senior principal gifts officer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The new job meant Joseph and his wife, Thérèse Verley Strodel, would be moving back to New York State from Canada, where he had been serving as the director of corporate and foundation relations for the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. The couple had lived in the Finger Lakes for two decades prior to relocating to Canada in 2014. While the Strodels were excited to return to New York and get closer to family, the move was not without angst.

After working as an art teacher who for years ran an after school program out of her home studio, Thérèse had decided she wanted to pursue something new: clinical mental health counseling. The Strodels’ move to the Capital Region would come at a pivotal time in her clinical mental health counseling online master’s degree program. She needed to line up two internships, and the relocation meant she would be applying for opportunities in the Capital Region late in the process. She called 70 places in the region but only got an interview with one of them.

Fortunately, a month before Joseph started his career at RPI in January 2016, the university referred the Strodels to the Center for Economic Growth’s (CEG) Talent Connect program. Talent Connect helps professional new hires and their families acclimate to the region by connecting them with community and providing cultural transitioning resources and assisting spouses or partners with their career search.

Reflecting on their participation with Talent Connect Thérèse observed, “We could have really used this in Canada because we did not know anyone.”

After talking to Thérèse and assessing her needs, Talent Connect Program Manager Joanne Bucher connected her with a contact at St. Peter’s Health Partners, a member of CEG. That connection resulted in Thérèse’s practicum at Samaritan Hospital in Troy, a St. Peter’s affiliate. Joanne also connected Thérèse with the ESI Employment Assistance Group’s employee assistance program (EAP), which helped her secure an internship with the Homer Perkins Center, a substance abuse treatment facility in Albany.

“This is turning out to be a very good fit for the both of us,” Thérèse said.

Knowing the Strodels had enjoyed downtown living in Edmonton, Joanne presented them with housing options in downtown Troy, where they found a loft-style apartment to call home. Joanne also provided the Strodels with community resources for their health, wellness and recreation. Thérèse, who is also a yoga instructor and singer, is now involved in a variety of community activities, including singing in a Gregorian chant choir, or “scholae.” She will become a clinical mental health counselor upon completion of her program in May.

Through interacting with Talent Connect, Thérèse found that, “When you move to a new community and don’t know anyone, it’s really helpful to have these recommendations,” Thérèse said.

All CEG members have access to Talent Connect services. To schedule a New Hire Navigation, or to learn how Talent Connect can help your business attract and retain skilled workers, call Program Manager Joanne Bucher at 518-465-8975, ext.222 or email her at joanneb@ceg.org.

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