Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2014



Shawn Boyer took time to talk to scholarship recipients after the luncheon. Here, he chats with Dabney S. Lancaster Commonwealth Legacy Scholar Jonathan Coleman.

“I want you to throw the word failure out of your vocabulary,” Shawn Boyer, founder of the hourly employment network, Snag-A-Job, told a crowd of scholarship recipients, their families and their college communities this week at the annual VFCCE Scholarship Luncheon.

“You tried it, and it didn’t work – stop thinking about it as a failure. Instead, he said, learn from it, own it, journal about it….. and then keep right on going with the next idea.

“You are going to make lots of errors,” he said. “Don’t let that start affecting your psyche.” 

Boyer also told students and their supporters to keep work in perspective. When people recall the most important things in their lives, work is not in the top three, he said. “Keeping work in perspective frees you to try new things. Be proactive in asking yourself – are you living a life true to you?” Don’t let that be your regret, he said – “that you didn’t have the courage to choose a path true to you.”

Being open about failure also benefits the workplace. Boyer said when managers and employees are open about their errors, it creates a culture of openness.

Boyer applauded the 50 or so scholarship recipients in the room, and said they were the real stars of the day.


Boyer talks to Richmond Region Commonwealth Legacy Scholars John Tivenan (left) and Adam Mandelblatt (right).

Jonathan Coleman, the Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship recipient at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge, and his father, grabbed a few minutes with Boyer after the talk. “His remarks were very beneficial.  It’s good to know failure is not an end, to know as we go through our lives it will be ok to fail.”

Ryan Pledger, a Valley Proteins fellow from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, said he found Boyer’s remarks particularly inspiring. “I started a business when I was 10, and I recently had to give it up,” Pledger said. Boyer’s remarks “gave me confidence in the future. Failure is inevitable, but what matters is whether you get back up and continue on your path.”

The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education distributed more than $350,000 in statewide scholarships through 23 community colleges, prestigious Fellows programs, and a number of named scholarship opportunities. Sponsors making the scholarship program possible included Wells Fargo, Dominion Resources, Moseley Architects, Blackboard, Virginia Credit Union and Capital Results.'

Susan Hayden

Susan Hayden worked for Virginia's Community Colleges for 25 years in the Institutional Advancement office before retiring in December 2015. She currently is on special assignment regarding the 50th anniversary of Virginia's Community Colleges.

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