Lynette Correa-Velez, M.Ed. - Co-Founder and CEO, GradPipeline

Today we are very happy to feature Lynette Correa-Velez, M.Ed. She is Co-Founder and CEO of a non-profit to help underrepresented students attain graduate degrees. Her experience and insight will likely be valuable to many Collegiate Gigsters here.

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What kind of work do you do? Do you also have a side-gig? If not, do you have any hobbies or other activities you wouldn’t mind developing into a paid gig?

I am the Co-Founder/CEO of GradPipeline. GradPipeline is a national, 501c3 e-nonprofit that e-coaches first-generation, U.S. people of color (African American, Latinx, and Native Americans) in attaining a graduate degree (Master’s or Doctorate or PhD only) from application to graduation:  GradPipeline website.

As a bilingual, trained Career Coach with over 15 years of career and workforce development experience, I have always “side-preneured”. I would career coach in-person or virtually individuals or in groups career enhancers or career changes. It has always brought me great joy to co-empower people to their life’s purpose to get paid for what they love to do in their careers!

What did you study in college? What did you enjoy the most about your chosen course of study?

I have my M.Ed. in Human Resource Development with a concentration in Management of e-learning for Workplace Learning and Training from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and my B.S. in Human Resource Management and Business Management with a minor in Psychology from Lesley University (LU) located in my home state of Massachusetts. As a first-generation high school and college graduate, what I love about what I studied is the opportunity to “pay it forward”. I have mentored others especially Latin@s for the past 20 years. There are not that many Latinas in the human resources field nationally and yet the HR department is such an integral part of an organization’s workforce and workplace culture. I intend to change that.  

How does your education help you in the work that you do today?

My formal education has helped me in the work that I do today by providing access to information, people, resources, and opportunities that I would not have otherwise. Being a human capital empowerment professional, it’s important to be a life-long learner as local, state, regional and federal policies and procedures consistently change which in turn affects how an organization can recruit and retain staff. As a SHRM member, early adapter of technology, and member of my UIUC & LU Alumni Associations, I can have access to that information and simultaneously inform my networks through email and/or my social media pages. You may follow me Twitter @LynetteCorVelez or request me on LinkedIn to connect!

Would you also consider returning to school to learn something new? If so, what would that be?

YES! I am currently in the process of applying for my Doctorate in Diversity and Equity in Education (Ed.D.) with an emphasis in Human Resource Development at my amazing alma mater at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a life-long education advocate with a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens, it’s the perfect program for someone with my interests and background on improving recruitment and retention of staff but most especially staff of color. I hope to hear good news by August 2018. I will be saying some little prayers and crossing my fingers in the meantime…LOL!

What resources could a site like Colégas provide that would help you achieve your goals?

Colegas is an amazing organization for Gigsters such as myself. I hope to continue career coaching people as well as coaching HR departments, K-12 school systems, colleges and universities, and companies on their DEI initiatives through my customizable and interactive diversity trainings. I believe Colegas can assist with introductions on short and long-term paid opportunities, both remote/virtually and in-person nationally not only for myself but for my GradPipeline Scholars as well.

Do you have any advice or professional strategies you could share with our readers?

Create a personal board of advisors if you do not have one. Expand your personal board of advisors if you do have one.

Continue to build your personal and professional support network, both virtually and in-person, where you live locally and nationally. You are not alone. I could not do everything that I do today as a Mom to a 23-month-old son, a Wife, an Education Social Entrepreneur, Community Volunteer and more if I did not have the love and support of my personal board of advisors which include my husband, mentors of all ages and professional backgrounds, and close family and friends. There is value in building a community of individuals who can guide and support you on your journey.

Colegas Group2018