Where are they now?

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Septembre Russell
Copy editor
You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather. This adage holds true for three Linfield graduates who hold positions in different career fields. Their time spent at Linfield helped them reach their current success, although the paths taken were not premeditated. Linfield alumni have thrived in countless ways and in different areas. The following accounts describe three of them.
It was the first time she saw the words “professional organizer” in print. Kristine Oller, class of ’92, was perusing a magazine, she said, when she discovered an article regarding the career.
“If there’s one other person being paid to do this, I want to do it, too,” she said. “So I printed out business cards the next day and started telling people. I thought I would get a few clients and get some extra money, but it grew and grew, and I was really good at it.”
Oller now is a professional organizer and career strategist.
“If you want a certain job, if you want a boyfriend, if you want a baby, whatever you want, in order to get it, you’re going to have to make room for it in your mind, in your schedule, in your environment, and I help people do that.”
She said she goes and physically helps clients create a space that supports what they want instead of
draining them of their energy.
Career strategy, Oller said, is about generating an efficient and effective plan of action that considers her clients’ time, energy and circumstances within their individual quests to get where they desire to be.
Her original major and minor of choice were business and communications, respectively, which influenced her decision, she said. Oller said she attended a semester of economics and accounting, but the lack of creativity sparked her decision to major in communications and minor in theater. However, Oller said adjusting her major and minor failed to satisfy her and the remedy arrived inadvertently.
During her junior year, Oller stage-managed and designed cabaret costumes and having done so introduced an opportunity that solidified her choice of major.
“I realized that I just did a senior thesis project and all I would have [had] to do was write the paper,” Oller said. “Literally the last week of my junior year I gathered together all of the theater professors and asked them if I could switch and major in theater and write my thesis the next year.”
Oller ultimately double majored in theater and communications.
“I always knew going into college that I was going to come out and act,” she said. “If you had told me, graduating from college, in 2009, [I would] be an organizational expert and a career strategist, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.”
There were certain things she wanted to get out of life, she said, such as using her gift, having her voice heard and receiving the recognition of her peers, among others. At that point in her life, Oller said, the only avenue she believed she could take and achieve what she wanted was acting. What she realized was that all those things that she wanted from acting, she now gets from her career.
For Steve Marshall, class of ’78, his experiences took him out of the country.
“My first job out of college was on Wall Street in Japan, and I was a sales marketing executive,” Marshall said. “Eventually I knew that I wanted to get into the agency space, and so years of experience eventually got me the opportunity to buy into an agency.”
Marshall spent 12 years in Japan and is now the president of The New Group, a Portland-based, digital marketing agency that specializes in social media and helps companies manage their digital brands.
“We help companies understand what the best social media opportunities are for their brand,” Marshall said. “It could be Facebook, or it could be a very community-driven Web site. It really depends on the individual company and what they’re looking to accomplish.”
The New Group is at the forefront of leveraging both digital and social media to aid companies in connecting and marketing each other, Marshall said. The key to his job is maintaining an intuitive ability to connect with people as he meets with clients on a daily basis.
“I think it is just a fascinating field,” Marshall said. “The people that I have working for me are watching technologies and watching what’s going on in the digital space in such a way that we’re really on the cutting edge.”
The New Group is making a mark within its industry, he said. Some of the company’s larger clients include Jenny Craig, Microsoft and Motorola. Two weeks ago, the company landed a new client—the Grammys.
“We are building a very complex member’s Web site for them,” Marshall said. “The Grammys is part of an organization that has a lot of members, and those members are musicians around the country. It’s our job to be able to build a very technical Web site that allows these people to be able to be members of the [organization].”
Anchorage homicide detective Glen Klinkhart, class of ’88, said that being accepted to attend a school where he did not feel like a number, where people and professors knew who he was and to be part of a community provided motivation to relocate from the city of Anchorage, Alaska, to McMinnville.
Klinkhart graduated from Linfield with a degree in business after changing his major from computer science as a result of his predictions for computer technology.
“Back then a lot of computer [technology] was still focused on mainframes,” he said. “I really felt that the personal computer was going to be the thing that people were going to gravitate toward and there was going to be less mainframes and more PCs.”
Following graduation, Klinkhart said he returned to Anchorage and worked for different computer companies and endeavored in marketing and advertising. He said his interest was helping businesses grow and using technology in optimum ways.
“I happened to work with some police officers in some of the different areas I worked [in],” Klinkhart said. “They said [they] could really use somebody to help develop technologies for law enforcement, and I just thought they were crazy.”
Despite his initial impression, Klinkhart said at 28 he applied to become an officer. Klinkhart soon discovered the police department’s eagerness to learn about technologies, he said, and about using computers to aid law enforcement.
“I wanted to learn about law enforcement, and so it was a partnership for me—a give-and-take that worked out well,” Klinkhart said.
Klinkhart’s knowledge of computers opened up possibilities for innovation within the department, he said.
“I started the first computer crime unit in the state of Alaska; it was one of the first in the country,” Klinkhart said. “Anchorage isn’t that big so there were a lot of cities that were three to four times [that] size that didn’t have computer crime units.”
As the Internet gained popularity, Klinkhart said it was determined that there were many other ways to use computers within law enforcement.
The inception of the department’s computer crime unit facilitated the gathering of evidence to prosecute sex offenders. Klinkhart said he realized sex offenders’ reliance on computers and the Internet to distribute and procure pictures concerning their crimes. He said he supposed that procuring the computers and presenting the photos to a jury would secure the prosecution. Attorneys began to grasp Klinkhart’s methodology, which led to plea agreements from the defense, alleviating the necessity to place victims on the witness stand to testify and thereby relive their experience.
“In the mid-nineties that was amazing to be able to go to cases where things were in the favor of the victim,” Klinkhart said. “It was right then and there that we determined that this was going to be the future of law enforcement, at least with crimes against children.”
Within three years of being an officer, Klinkhart said he decided to become a detective. At age 28, he became one of the youngest detectives in the department at the time.
“It’s been an amazing journey from point A to point B,” Klinkhart said. “I could quit tomorrow and be very pleased with the work that I’ve been able to do.”