Cassie Grubbe

Interview with Cassie Grubbe

Date: January 17, 2013

Name: Cassie Grubbe

Major, minor, and graduation year: Physical Education with a concentration in Community Health Promotion, 2010

Job Title: Program Manager

Organization/Place of work: American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest

You're a Program Manager, what does that entail? What are your duties or responsibilities?

I am responsible for the tobacco prevention and control work in four counties in northern Wisconsin, Ashland County, Bayfield County, Douglas County, and Sawyer County. Which includes sustainability efforts (making sure that there is funding for the work to continue), the development and maintenance of a tobacco-free coalition, working with youth through the FACT (Fighting Against Corporate Tobacco) program, educating and creating awareness around other tobacco products, and completing tobacco compliance checks through the Wisconsin Wins program. I also work on creating media surrounding these topics in order to educate and bring awareness.

What are the highlights of your job that you enjoy most?

I really enjoy working with the youth, they're so smart and it is fun to teach them things they may not have otherwise known. I have also enjoyed making connections throughout the entire state. Our program is funded out of Madison, and the team there is really great and fun to work with.

What are the challenges that you face with your job that are not enjoyable?

Sustainability efforts can be quite a challenge. It is my job to find community members that are willing to speak with legislators on behalf of the tobacco program. People's lives are hectic and asking them to take on another commitment can be difficult.

How do you spend your work days? Do you spend a lot of time office/lab/meetings/outside/___?

Time is split between the office and being on the road traveling to the communities that I work in. Some weeks I feel as if I am on the road a lot, and other weeks I spend sitting at the desk. It all depends on what events are happening and when.

How did this type of job/field interest you and how did you get started?

I was interested in this position first off because it was available in the area. It also seemed like a great opportunity to make a difference in people's lives. The American Lung Association was instrumental in creating and implementing the smoke-free laws that took effect in 2012 in Wisconsin. That has been a tremendous positive for everyone who works in public places and is now not subjected to the harms of secondhand smoke. I would like to be part of something that helps people live healthier lives.

What qualifications did you need to obtain this job?

My bachelors of science in Community Health Promotion meet the qualifications of this position. Also my CHES certification was a great addition.

What personal qualities or abilities do you believe contribute most to success in this job/field?

I think organizational skills are essential in a position where you have many projects going at once. Social skills also play a large part in what I do on a daily basis; you need to be able to relate to people where they are at the moment.

What degree is appropriate for this line of work?

Public health is a great foundation for this type of work, but advocacy and leadership degrees could also be successful. We even have an ALA employee with a Master's in Exercise Science and she has been very successful.

Where and/or what do you hope to be in 2-5 years? 5-10 years? What are the keys to this career advancement?

I hope to continue my work in public health, my current position is grant funded and this particular position may not exist in a year or two. Either way I hope to continue helping people live healthier lives and educating the importance of health. I think the key to advancing is to never back down from a challenge and learn everything you can. The more experience you have the greater your
changes of advancement are.

What was the best piece of advice you received and from who that helped you towards your career?

"Smile, life is good" -Grandma Vicki. Just reminds me that no matter what you are doing, it's what you make of it.

Do you have any advice or "words from experience" for a college student interested in this job/field?

Yes, if you are interested in furthering your education make sure you take the right classes while you're still an undergrad.

If you knew all this back in college, what would you say were the most
important classes? Is there anything you would have paid more attention to? Any additional classes you would have taken?

If I knew I was going to be doing the career I currently work in, I would have taken more political science class. Also, more public speaking/advocacy courses would have served me well.

In college, people claim that a bachelor's degree isn't enough anymore and that you need a master's or doctorate degree to get your foot in the door. What's your opinion?

I don't necessarily believe that a master's or beyond will help you get your foot in the door. I do think that if you are certain of what you want to do especially in the health field an even more advanced degree can help you work up towards that career.