Career Spotlight: Maria Bouffard
By Katie Rowe
Recently, we sat down with Maria Bouffard, Yale’s director of emergency management, to get her thoughts on growing your career at Yale. Bouffard is a recent recipient of the Linda K. Lorimer Award and an active member of the Yale Latino Networking Group (YLNG).
How has networking helped you advance your career?
Networking has helped my career but it also has supported promoting the mission of emergency preparedness and emergency management at Yale. Yale’s Emergency Management is a network of partners from different departments. One of the things that I love is we’re all really committed to ensuring that this is the best Yale we can be.
What other Yale groups are you involved with?
I am involved in the Yale Latino Networking Group (YLNG). I feel a special connection to the members of YLNG. We are connected culturally in many ways, and we have the opportunity, through the events that we host, to celebrate our connections and to also learn about how diverse the Latino culture is. YLNG is a great outlet for me; I enjoy the networking events, the community service events, and the professional development events that are organized. I am glad that I connected with them early on in my career here at Yale. I also work with groups like the Yale Emergency Operations Team (EOT). Relationships are important on the EOT. We are charged with ensuring that we respond appropriately to emergencies on campus and having a pre-established relationship is critical to our success.
Have you mentored or been mentored at Yale?
I lean on my supervisor with regard to managing relationships, managing work, and prioritizing. I have grown a lot as a result of our relationship both, personally and professionally. I was recently asked to become a mentor and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s an honor and a privilege.
What career development class did you take that had an impact on your career?
I loved the Extraordinary Leaders Program with 360 degree feedback. It’s an honest review of your work and your leadership style. I learned a lot about how people experience me, how they feel about interacting, and working with me.
Do you have an Individual Development Plan (IDP)?
Last year I wanted to get my certification in Emergency Management from the International Association of Emergency Managers, which I did. I also wanted to pursue my certification in Business Continuity planning, which I’m close to completing, and I wanted to start a Master’s degree and I am currently enrolled as a student in the Global Development and Peace Program at the University of Bridgeport.
Do you have advice for someone who is looking to go to school while working full time?
If you love it, do it! There’s no reason why we shouldn’t. Just be mindful of your schedule. Be thoughtful about what you want to do and maintain balance.
Is there a particular career strategy that has helped you achieve your career goals?
Do what you love. If you start there, everything falls into place. You’ll be satisfied with where you are and you’ll be inspired to do better and go further. People notice that. And build relationships. Whether it improves your career, whether you get promotions or not, it’s satisfying to have those personal relationships.
What advice would you offer an employee looking to grow a career at Yale?
Learn your craft and stay abreast of new ideas and innovations in your field. Be creative and innovative and work hard—others are depending on you. Look to the people whose personal and leadership qualities you admire, and seek their advice and guidance. Also, be open to others who may ask you for advice and guidance. Finally, all of us play a role in our very interconnected community. Respect that and be mindful of how you treat people. It makes all the difference in the world!