In 1993 when her husband, Jeff Burns, decided to pursue a master's degree in exercise physiology at UNLV, Rebecca Metty-Burns moved from the frigid temperatures of Alaska to the arid climate of Las Vegas. She intended to stay for two years, but her husband's degree work (MS '99) and the hot job market kept her here.
More than two decades later, she has gained extensive experience in human resources leadership, education management, and workforce training and development, with stints at MGM Resorts International, the College of Southern Nevada, and Economic Modeling Specialists. She holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Alaska, Anchorage and an MBA ('03) from UNLV. Today she works with prospective employers to create meaningful career opportunities for Lee Business School students.
Of course UNLV! It's a great opportunity to work in a place that provided me with an impactful experience with my own education.
What's the biggest misconception about your field?
I've worked in talent sourcing from the demand side with companies seeking the perfect employee and now the supply side with students searching for the perfect career. There is no "perfect." But there are great opportunities for rewarding careers, and the Southern Nevada workforce is innovative and hard-working.
What's the biggest challenge in your field?
Currently, it's tracking data on placements, and making sure employers know that internships are actually learning experiences, not a way to fill staffing gaps.
One tip for success?
Figure out what success means to you rather than trying to be someone else's definition of success.
Where did you grow up?
Primarily in remote towns in Alaska, from Juneau in the southeast panhandle to Nome (population 3,000), just 100 miles below the Arctic Circle.
Proudest moment in your life?
There is no one moment, but all of them include my kids. I do have a "Mary Tyler Moore moment" (you know, tossing her hat in the air). I was in London heading to a meeting with PricewaterhouseCoopers and just loving life.
If you could fix one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would make sure that children around the world have the opportunity to be healthy and safe -- in school, at home, and at play.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I played on a women's ice hockey intramural team in college.
What can't you work without?
The Internet. How did we get work done before the Internet?
Who is your hero?
I have two -- my sons. Brendan, 23, just finished college and got his first job. He was a trombone and music education major. Alex, 18, just graduated high school. He's also a musician who plays drums. He's headed to learn welding and music production.
Pastime or hobbies?
Travel, hiking, and reading.