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How Student Housing Skills Translate to Other Roles – with Jen Oliver

We talk a lot about wellness and work-life balance, but most of us in the world of student housing are just not very good at it. So, how can we learn to prioritize our emotional and spiritual health? How can we develop the courage to ask what’s really important to us and align our choices accordingly? And if that means choosing a new path, how can we apply the skills we learn in student housing to other roles?

Jen Oliver is the former Director of Facilities and Conference Services with COCM at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and current Membership Recruitment Specialist for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Prior to joining the Girl Scouts team in 2018, she spent two years at home with her young daughters, serving her family and getting involved in the local community.

On this edition of the Student Housing Matters Alumni Series, Jen sits down with Tara Wilkinson to discuss how her role with COCM at MassArt rounded out her experience in student housing, exposing her to the facilities side of the space. She shares her gratitude for the relationships she developed with partners, vendors, COCM colleagues as well as the MassArt team. Listen in to understand Jen’s decision to step away from her career at Capstone and prioritize her family and community—and learn how she is applying the skills she honed in student housing to other roles that fit her lifestyle and align with her values!

Topics Covered

  • How Jen’s role with COCM rounded out her student housing experience
  • Jen’s responsibilities as Director of Facilities and Conference Services
  • The trust Jen had to build with her team at MassArt in Boston
  • The relationships Jen valued with vendors, partners and colleagues
  • Jen’s decision to prioritize her wellness through family + community
  • Having the courage to search for work that truly aligns with your values
  • Jen’s advice around making the decision to step away from your career
  • How wellness is encouraged among the employees at Capstone
  • Articulating how skills in student housing apply to other kinds of work
  • Jen’s insight around the concerns people have with privatized housing

Connect with Jen

Connect with Tara 


Leigh Anne is the Director of Creative and Brand Marketing at COCM. In her role, she supports the development and implementation of the annual corporate marketing plan. She is responsible for overall brand strategy, content marketing, social media, video production, COCM’s website, marketing materials design and production, as well as serving as our liaison for COCM's sponsorships.