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Tara Bendler

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’15 Labor and Employment Relations | Live Audio Marketing, Spotify | Brooklyn, NY
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Tara Bendler

Liberal Arts Major: Labor and Employment Relations

Liberal Arts Minors: Business and the Liberal Arts, Spanish

Hometown: Charlottesville, NC

Current Location: Brooklyn, NY

What enrichment activities did you participate in as a student?

I was heavily involved in various student organizations at Penn State including Student Conduct Board, Lion Ambassadors, executive director of Class Gift, and executive director of Movin’ On. I completed several internships across various fields of labor relations at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), SearchPoint (talent acquisition firm), and City of Staunton Commonwealth's Attorney's Office in Augusta County, Virginia.

What was your first job after graduating from Penn State?

My first job out of college was as an HR coordinator for Sony Music. I was responsible for supporting two vice presidents of HR with various administrative needs in addition to employees within my business groups. That included onboarding new hires, updating organizational charts, routing job requisitions, and executing daily employment transactions including promotions, transfers, and terminations. In this role, I led a cross-functional team for an Adobe E-Sign Implementation Project to convert the Sony offer letter package from paper to digital.

What was your favorite class and/or who was your favorite faculty member?

A 400-level LER course called Collective Bargaining in Professional Sports. It was taught by Professor Doug Allen who was a former Penn State football player and executive director of the NFL Players Association. The class analyzed current collective bargaining agreements of various leagues and future trends. While challenging, it was insightful to learn from someone who previously worked for a professional sports union.

How did your liberal arts education and skills prepare you for life after graduation?

It made me well rounded in ways I couldn’t appreciate at the time! My undergraduate experience at Penn State gave me exposure to many different subjects and classes. That experience developed my critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which were crucial my first few years out of college. I was a student who didn’t know what I wanted my career to look like long-term, so my liberal arts education was practical and gave me the opportunity to explore while growing.

What networking advice would you share with current students?

I like to think of networking as connecting. Connecting is a two-way street where you’re sharing knowledge as much as you’re learning from someone else. Networking has played a major role in my career, but only because I have spent time and energy on building meaningful relationships. When you approach networking with having something to offer in mind, you’re more likely to find success. Don’t underestimate the power of networking across instead of up. I have found the most impact from connections I made during college that have now grown with me in their own careers.

What role have mentors played in your career progression?

A major one, and I’m grateful. I found mentors organically by looking for people who had values that fit mine and wouldn’t be afraid to ask tough questions. My mentors have challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and been crucial at pivotal moments of my career. I have found the most impactful mentors to be those who enjoy passing along their knowledge and seeing others succeed.

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Flashback to Tara as an Undergrad:

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