Q&A with Elana Guerra, Director of Operations & College Counselor

We sat down with Elana Guerra, Bright Futures Consulting Director of Operations & College Counselor to cover topics from mid-morning productivity to choosing her college major.

What are some favorite pieces of advice you give to students?

When you look back at high school, you will remember relationships – friends, family, mentors, teammates – more than you will remember accomplishments or grades. Prioritize and act accordingly.

What’s your breakfast order?

Coffee. Black. Being a grown-up is weird.

What piece of advice would you go back to tell yourself in high school?

Don’t be in such a rush to grow up.

What was your relationship like with your parents/care-givers in high school?

My parents supported my extracurriculars, but weren’t much involved in my academics or personal relationships. I was headstrong and they let me be pretty independent. Looking back, I think it would have been better if they’d been more involved in all aspects of my life.

What were some of your most challenging parts of college?

Balancing it with a family and a full-time job!

How did you choose your college major?

Did I ever decide on a major? It sometimes feels like I didn’t… I was a Pre-Business major, then an English major, then a Finance major, then a Management/HR major; my Master’s was in Higher Education which was confusing for people: “So you majored in…college?”

But you know what? I learned more about Management from being a secretary than from my undergrad curriculum., and more about college admissions from mentorship from Dr. Dennard than from my M.Ed program. Hands-on experience is invaluable!

How did you know it was time to go to graduate school? 

When I looked at potential careers I liked, I realized that a graduate degree would likely be required.

What is a highlight of your career?

The first time I ever did a Birkman feedback I was super nervous. The Career results were NOT expected and I was afraid that somehow the assessment had glitched. Turns out the student had a “hidden” interest! A short while after the appointment concluded I received a phone call – it was the mom and she wanted to express how grateful she was to me for affirming her son via the Birkman. Not too long after, I received my first official “referral” (where the family asked to work specifically with me) and they had been referred by her! The referral was greatly appreciated, but it was the reminder that I had positively influenced a student’s life that made me do my happy dance.

What are your top 4 interest matches (Birkman)? 

Literary (97%), Social Service (84%), Musical (69%), Artistic (62%)

Are you a morning bird or night owl?

Can I be a Mid-morning Magpie or something? Because I’m pretty productive between 8am-11am unless I’m distracted by something shiny.

What is something you love to learn about?

Psychology. The human mind and personality is fascinating.

Who is most likely to make a guest appearance in a zoom call?

My 6yr old asking for permission to get a popsicle or my big dog wanting me to rub his head.