Using our strengths to support, challenge, and inspire students

Core to Fathom’s DNA is our goal to bring about meaningful change—not only for our clients but also for our community. Of late, that has looked like volunteering our time and talents to the student community. Here’s how four members of the Fathom team have recently found time to inspire—and be inspired by—students exploring careers in healthcare, designing digital experiences, and solving global challenges.

Julie Pettit served as a faculty advisor to students completing their Master’s in Healthcare Administration at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She guided a student team through their capstone project: a real consulting assignment for a high-profile health system in the Twin Cities. Julie drew on the same skills she does as a business consultant at Fathom: helping the students make sense of disparate information from multiple sources, articulate findings and recommendations through a compelling story, and manage the ups and downs that come with any consulting engagement (including shifting business priorities and pandemic-related pauses).

Lynsey Struthers sat on a panel at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for a “Build a Better Website” course in the Herb Albert School of Music. Because of pandemic-related limits on large music ensembles gathering in person to rehearse and perform, the school devised an unconventional, cross-departmental substitution: a series of special topics courses investigating other relevant musical issues. A former French horn player and pianist turned experience design consultant, Lynsey shared foundational human-centered design principles and provided practical suggestions to students developing individual musician and chamber group websites for themselves.

Kat Jayne completed a stint as an assistant instructor for the Prime UX Academy’s “Right Track” program—an immersive program for underserved young adults who live in St. Paul. During the program, students learn skills and build a portfolio to prepare them for a career in user experience design. Kat used her knack for organization and classification to help Prime re-configure their typical 18-week program into only 10 weeks. She then assisted in the virtual classroom, providing students with real-life example of UX in action from her client work and giving real-time feedback on their work.

And, for the second year in a row, Bret Busse served as a judge for the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge—a competition that inspires student entrepreneurs around the world to connect and create sustainable business solutions to global issues. Not unlike a first meeting with a client, Bret (and the judging team) were required to assess the business problem, the need to be addressed, and the students’ proposed solutions. Bret’s personal affection for start-ups and his business acumen made him a natural fit for the role. Following the campus finals at the University of St. Thomas, Bret served as a judge for the global finals—which brought together teams from all over the world.

In addition to the pure enjoyment of sharing passion for our work and providing constructive feedback to eager learners, all four consultants were motivated by what they saw from the students. “I get energized by how smart these kids are,” said Bret. “I love their big thinking—they are trying to change the world. It sounds like a cliché but it’s true.”

Fathom places a priority on maintaining a culture that empowers (and encourages!) team members to dedicate their time, skills, and strengths toward doing something great for others. Sound like a great place to work? We’re hiring!