I am fortunate to be wearing many hats at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition (#SHRM19) this year. I am a #SHRM19Blogger, heavily involved with the SHRM Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC) activities, and the YPAC Step Challenge Team Captain (#YoungAndHungryForSteps). In some instances, I get to combine a couple of these responsibilities and write for the SHRM blog about a session that the YPAC is interested in. Spoiler Alert: The YPAC is working on some new things for #SHRM19, including a landing page on the SHRM conference application for young/emerging professionals to utilize. One of the things the landing page will host is a list of recommended sessions for YP’s/EP’s to check out. There will even be a YPAC member in the audience of each of these sessions for other YP’s/EP’s to connect with! After reviewing the list of recommended sessions, I knew that I wanted to connect with Kevin Fudge, director of consumer advocacy at American Student Assistance, about his session because I feel like it’s an important session for everyone to attend, especially YP’s/EP’s.
A little bit about Kevin: Kevin works with policy makers, states and non-profit organizations to improve college completion rates and successful student loan management through raising public awareness about the intricacies of the college financing process. Kevin resolves complex loan situations for members of government and their constituents and provides research and analysis of student loans to elected officials, secondary school administrators, higher education professionals and employees in the public and private sector. Kevin is frequently quoted in various media formats on student debt and is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Harvard University.
Without further ado, please enjoy my Q&A with Kevin.
Tell us about your program at #SHRM19, and what is the one take away you hope every attendee has?
My session is about how student loan debt affect employees in all generations – young millennial and generation Z employees, middle-aged employees, and employees on the verge of retirement. I hope every attendee walks away with three ideas – 1) how to assist current employees with student loans, 2) how to help employees with children expand their definition of college to include other options besides a 4-year degree and 3) how to introduce/expand career exploration opportunities for young people at their respective companies.
What inspired you to want to talk about this topic?
I want to see people maximize their potential through post-secondary education and employment. Too often, I encounter individuals and families that have limited knowledge of their options for borrowing and repaying student loans, and it can adversely affect their ability to be engaged and productive in the workplace. There is a lot of misinformation and confusion in our national conversation about student loan debt, and I work every day to provide clarity and understanding to this monumental challenge that affects all demographics.
I see that the audience is intended to be geared towards Senior-Level professionals, but I have some insights that your session will be a recommended session that Emerging/Young Professionals should check out. Could you provide some insight on why it would be beneficial for EP’s/YP’s to attend your session?
I think everyone should attend! I thought senior-level professionals might find it more interesting because they will get my 80’s pop-culture references (Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!) more than emerging/young professionals. Senior-Level professionals who are in charge of designing benefits at their companies should definitely attend, and EP’s/YP’s that seek to influence benefits design will find the session very informative as well. Even if EP’s/YP’s aren’t in a position at this stage in their career to greenlight a student loan repayment benefit at their companies, they can get ideas for events and information ‘brown bag’ lunch sessions at their organizations to address these issues. And if they have their own student loans, they can get great tips on how to manage successfully their debt!
Your session description mentions that your session will be interactive. Can you give me a sneak peak on what this might look like?
I only have an hour, so I can’t go into full David Copperfield mode and make the Statue of Liberty disappear or walk through the Great Wall of China while simultaneously delivering my presentation – but I can give you a sneak peek and tell you that I require volunteers. No volunteer will be placed in a box and sawed in half – safety first!
Finally, how can readers best connect with you on social media?
The best way to connect with me is via LinkedIn.
Kevin Fudge will present How Student Loan Debt Affects Employees Across Generations: Strategies to Help Employees at All Levels at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition on Tuesday, June 25 from 7:15 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. Please make sure to check it out!