Saint Joseph's University Magazine, Spring 2018

On the Rise

Some of SJU’s brightest young stars in business, technology, education, medicine, sports and more share their secrets of success.

Illustration of colorful arrows pointing up

By Molly Crossan Harty

 Wall Street financier • Doctoral candidate • Professional basketball player • CEO • Advertising executive • Restaurant owner • Tech company strategist

These titles are a few of the professional monikers that Saint Joseph’s recent graduates hold as emerging leaders in their industries. Meet several of these movers and shakers — all 40 or under — who have demonstrated the skills, creativity and drive that make them rising stars.

Sean Stevens ’15

Sean Stevens ’15

Investment Banking Analyst | Barclays, New York, N.Y.
SJU MAJOR: Finance | Co-op Program

What’s the most important quality for career success?
I believe the most important skill to have in the current job market is adaptability, both in looking for a job and once you begin your career path. Different opportunities may arise within your company, or at another, that you want to pursue to better yourself and your career. You have to be open to opportunities and have the ability to adjust to the roles.

Would you do anything differently?
I would have started earlier. As I began looking into specific job descriptions, I kept seeing the variety of career paths available to me and had to do a lot more research. Even when certain jobs look like they may go a certain way, everyone’s experiences can differ. Knowing some of the potential paths ahead of you and how roles and experiences correlate to them is great when applying for jobs.

"Be open to opportunities."

 

Camille Padilla Dalmau ’13

Camille Padilla Dalmau ’13

Associate Producer, NowThis, New York, N.Y.
SJU MAJOR:
English (writing track) 

SJU MINORS: Communication Studies and International Relations
Graduate of Columbia Journalism School

Your best job search advice?
An interview goes both ways. Come with a lot of questions and make sure it’s the right fit for you.

What’s the most important quality for success in the job search and in a career?
Perseverance. Finding a full-time job in journalism (or any creative field) is not easy. However, I didn’t quit. I must have applied to hundreds of positions. In the end, I’m in my job today, because I proved to be a hustler.

What is an essential factor in postgraduate success?
Balancing work and life. I go to therapy, do yoga, take guitar and singing lessons, and go to a lot of creative events. It’s important to work hard but also remember that you work best when your mind and body are healthy.

 

Cameron Fick ’12, ’14 (M.S.)

Cameron Fick ’12, ’14 (M.S.)

Medical Student, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
SJU MAJOR: Biology Institute of Catholic Bioethics Fellow
SJU MASTER’S DEGREE: Education Alliance for Catholic Education at SJU (ACESJU) Fellow

What is an essential factor in postgraduate success?
Accept the fact that life is not a straight line and continue to push beyond the curves and bumps in the road.

What’s the most important quality for career success?
Develop the mindset of a lifelong learner. Complacency kills. Keep cultivating a curious mind, and it will shine through in your work and the enthusiasm you show. Constantly accumulate knowledge. Be the one who can contribute intelligently to the conversation about leading trends and advances. Be persistent. Challenges and setbacks will be part of whatever profession you choose.

 

Langston Galloway ’13

Langston Galloway ’13

Guard, Detroit Pistons, National Basketball Association, Detroit, Mich.
SJU MAJOR: Sports Marketing

Your best job search advice?
The best advice I was given right after college was to go after whatever dream I really wanted to achieve, especially while I’m young. Once you have a family, your job is to provide for them. Also, enjoy college because it goes by fast and once you step into the real world, there are no second chances!

What’s the most important quality for career success?
Work very hard every day. Never look back or second guess yourself. What was an essential factor in your post-graduate success? I got knocked down a few times but never stayed down. I was able to gather my thoughts and keep moving in the right direction.

 

Dawn Cai ’15

Dawn Cai ’15

Data Visualization Developer | Thomson Reuters, Singapore
SJU MAJORS: Communication Studies and Art (Art History)
Malofiej International Infographics Award, Kantar Information is Beautiful Award, Society of News Design’s Best of Digital Design, Society for News Design Annual Creative Competition

What’s the most important quality for career success?
During the search, don’t shy away from applying for a job or contacting a person just because you think you won’t get it. While at the job, never say no. It’s the first advice I got on the first day of my internship at The Washington Post, and it comes back to my mind on a daily basis. If you don’t know how to do the thing you just said yes to, you’ll figure it out.

What is an essential factor in post-graduate success?
Two things I think are important, in general: 1) setting your sights high and 2) be nice.

"Set your sights high."

 

Dara Driscoll ’15

Dara Driscoll ’15

Project Coordinator, Nickelodeon, New York, N.Y.
SJU MAJOR: English

How did SJU help in your professional achievements?
I made a lot of important connections with my peers and professors. My professors told me over and over that asking questions is the most important part to learning, and it’s been true at work. If you play along when you don’t understand, eventually you will have to explain yourself. Be the person who speaks up!

Would you do anything differently?
I wish I had more internships. Eighty percent of the people I work with got into the company through internships. I think it would have made my job search easier.

What is an essential factor in postgraduate success?
I traveled abroad and worked overseas for a year, and it helped me figure out what I really wanted. Experiment and try out some jobs you never would have considered. It’ll help in the long run.

 

Christopher Savino, C.P.A. ’10

Christopher Savino, C.P.A. ’10

Senior Financial Analyst, Major League Soccer, New York, N.Y
SJU MAJORS: Accounting and Finance

Your best job search advice?
The best advice I received was to pursue a career in an industry that I am passionate about. It did not necessarily mean beginning in sports but gaining experience and learning the skills that would allow me to take the next step in that direction.

What is an essential factor in postgraduate success?
Continue learning during and outside of work. Experience is priceless, but learning new skills related to your current job — as well as the job you want — will allow you to be successful today while setting yourself up for the future.

 

Suzanne Cotter ’12 (M.A.)

Suzanne Cotter ’12 (M.A.)

Director, Marketing & Communications, Think Company, Philadelphia, Pa.
SJU MAJOR: Writing Studies

Your best job search advice?
Pay attention to what you’re good at doing and keep an open mind about how to apply those talents in the working world. Stay fluid, take action when you need a change and focus on what continues to keep your interest.

What’s the most important quality for career success?
Attitude. Things won’t always be rosy or go your way throughout your career; if you can accept the bad times, keep your head up and stay determined, you’ll set yourself up to learn something important from every challenge. Would you do anything differently? I would have been more careful about who I listened to and what advice I took to heart. Everyone has an opinion. You have to pursue a career that’s best for you, not someone else’s idea of success.

More on Suzanne Cotter

 

Rachel Assal ’15

Rachel Assal ’15

Marketing Project Manager,
US Rx Commercial Future Leaders Program | GlaxoSmithKline, Raleigh, N.C.
SJU MAJORS: Marketing and International Business

How did SJU help in your professional achievements?
The Haub School’s business policy capstone project was especially applicable in my career. Because all of the group members came from different majors, it forced us to trust each other’s expertise and work together to propose strategies. That experience taught me to build strong, collaborative relationships with matrix partners at work so we can collectively do good. Also, the ethical emphasis in the SJU business curriculum is crucial to career success. Working in the pharmaceutical industry, it’s imperative to first and foremost do what’s right for the patient, and success will follow.

What is an essential factor in post-graduate success?
I think I’ve developed a tolerance and perhaps even an appetite for discomfort, which has allowed me to be successful in my roles.

"Build strong, collaborative relationships."

 

Kristopher Brown ’17 (Ed.D.)

Kristopher Brown ’17 (Ed.D.)

Assistant Principal, Strath Haven High School, Wallingford, Pa
SJU DOCTORAL DEGREE: Interdisciplinary Doctor of Education and English
2018 Pennsylvania Assistant Principal of the Year

Your best job search advice?
Stay patient, and the right opportunity will present itself for you. If you rush into the first one just because it’s new, you may not be in the right place. Take time to fully evaluate your options, and when the right one appears, you’ll know.

What’s the most important quality for career success?
Take ownership of your experiences, and don’t sell yourself short. As you try to advance in your career, embrace the opportunities you get to demonstrate your potential for more advancement. Never become complacent. Never lose the drive that motivated you to get where you are.

 

Brendan McGrew ’03

Brendan McGrew ’03

Owner/Chef, Bourbon Blue, Manayunk, Pa.
SJU MAJORS: Criminal Justice and Business
Manayunk Business Leadership Award recipient

Your best job search advice?
Search for a job that you love. As important as money has become in our society, happiness has a much higher value. Money will come once you are doing what you truly love.

What’s the most important quality for career success?
Hard work and not being afraid to fail. Be willing to put the time in to learn and understand the why of a decision and then apply that mindset. There is nothing wrong with trying and failing as long as you have done the research. Learn from that, and then try again.

What is an essential factor in post-graduate success?
Not being afraid to try new things while learning from any mistakes and not making the same mistake twice.

 

Claire Tedesco ’15

Claire Tedesco ’15

Associate Category Manager of U.S. Protein & Dairy, HelloFresh, New York, N.Y.
SJU MAJORS: Food Marketing and Leadership, Ethics and Organizational Sustainability (LEO)

Your best job search advice?
It is not the grades you make, but the hands you shake.” Although I truly believe grades are important, you are never defined by a number. Get in the habit of meeting new people, cultivating your relationships and helping others. Those connections you make will last longer and be more valuable than you think.

What is an essential factor in post-graduate success?
Although having a college education is an incredible accomplishment, never think you are “above” someone. If you are lucky, you will work with people that challenge the way you see the world. Always work toward an empathetic perspective. That is often the type of leadership that is respected in the workforce.

 

Jennifer Stemple ’02

Jennifer Stemple ’02

Audit Partner | KPMG LLP, New York, N.Y.
SJU MAJOR: Accounting
Sutula Scholar

Your best job search advice?
There are so many opportunities through SJU to interface with potential employers — engage and take full advantage of every opportunity you are given. Go to the career fairs and meet with the recruiters. Be ready with an “elevator pitch” of who you are and what kinds of roles you are interested in. Seek feedback from professors and peers and incorporate that feedback as you continue through the job search process.

What is an essential factor in post-graduate success?
Seek a career that you are passionate about and that you can bring your whole self to every day. You first job should be something that puts you on the path to that career. I remember my first accounting class and how it confirmed for me the interest I had in the field. I bring that interest and passion, along with the desire to continue to learn, with me to work every day.

"Interface with potential employers"

 

Carla DeSisto ’10

Carla DeSisto ’10

Ph.D. Candidate, Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, Ill.
SJU MAJOR: Interdisciplinary Health Services

How did SJU help in your professional achievements?
I wish I could just name one experience or person, but the honest answer is that my entire experience — including my friends, mentors and professors — shaped where I am today. The people I met at SJU helped me become a more reflective person, which has been key to navigating my career path.

What’s the most important quality for career success?
Finding the balance between humility and confidence is extremely important. I’ve found that it’s important to be confident in your strengths, but also to be humble enough to ask questions when you don’t know something or ask for help when you need it.

 

Rob Almond ’04

Rob Almond ’04

CEO, NEST, Gloucester City, N.J.
SJU MASTER’S DEGREE: MBA
Business Policy Competition Award

Your best job search advice?
For current students, it’s never too early to begin networking. What’s the most important quality for career success? Communication skills are very important. Being able to present to a prospective client or to articulate ideas to a team is critical.

Would you do anything differently?
I’ve been working in our family business for over 15 years. The experience has been incredible. However, if I could go back in time, I would have liked to work at another company for a few years to learn how other businesses are run.

What is an essential factor in post-graduate success?
If it was easy, it wouldn’t be called work — that’s what I tell my team when we are faced with challenges and believe me, we have plenty of them. Giving up isn’t an option for me, because I thrive on how we can better ourselves every single day. I also believe in leading by example.

 

Elyse Haller ’09

Elyse Haller ’09

Senior Manager, Business Solutions at New York Road Runners, New York, N.Y.
SJU MAJOR: Sociology

How did SJU help in your professional achievements?
As daunting as my senior thesis project seemed, it was ultimately the reason I landed my first job and discovered my passion for research. It taught me to ask why and find the reason — important skills that have helped me through much of my career.

What’s the most important quality for career success?
Persistence. Keep applying and follow-up whenever you can. Never lose your excitement for the potential of working there. Try not to be too disappointed if your amazing interview does not land you the job. It is all a learning process, and the right job is out there for you.

What is an essential factor in post-graduate success?
Come to meetings prepared to take notes. Follow-up. Ask at least one relevant question to show your interest and get your name out there. Be nice to every person, whether the front desk attendant or the CEO. Say good morning — little things make a big difference.

 

Steven Dorn ’11

Steven Dorn ’11

Senior Manager, Ad Operations | Hulu, New York, N.Y.
SJU MAJOR: Marketing

Your best job search advice?
Network, network, network. You never know who is going to help impact your life in a positive way and help you secure that first job after graduation.

What’s the most important quality for career success?
Relationships. Everything comes back to relationships and being able to work collaboratively with other people. It will likely be the relationships you build while networking that help you in the job search. It will definitely be relationships that lead you to any other future role.

Would you do anything differently?
I would have had more internships to gain more exposure into different advertising roles. I often see candidates that come in for interviews as recent graduates with three or more internships under their belt, which is extremely impressive.

"Network, network, network."

 

Mylik Ganey ’00, ’08 (MBA)

Mylik Ganey ’00, ’08 (MBA)

Vice President, Account Group Supervisor, DDB Health, New York, N.Y.
SJU MAJOR: Biology
Summerbridge Biology Teacher
SJU MASTER’S DEGREE: MBA in Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing

How did SJU help in your professional achievements?
I had a number of great experiences and mentors while at Saint Joseph’s. Attending and leading the Search retreat empowered me to use my spirituality as a life coach. I recommend it to all students.

What’s the most important quality for career success?
Courage, curiosity and grit are qualities that will set you apart. We talk a lot about these values at DDB Health, and they are what make us a strong company. Embody these values in all aspects of your life and you will remain a success.

 

Taylor Rizzolino ’15

Taylor Rizzolino ’15

Agency Account Strategist, Google, New York, N.Y.
SJU MAJORS: English and Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Sustainability (LEO)

Your best job search advice?
If you don’t believe you have the right connections, then create them for yourself. The possibilities are endless when you’re willing to define your own path and advocate for yourself instead of adhering to external expectations.

How did SJU help in your professional achievements?
I cold-messaged an SJU alumna on LinkedIn when I was frustrated with the job search during my senior year of college. Instead of asking for a job, I asked for her insight. I was craving a real conversation — not the black hole online into which my resumes and cover letters were disappearing. The organic relationship we formed led me to where I am now and taught me the powerful lesson of creating your own connections.

 

William Martin ’12

William Martin ’12

Educational Consultant, Assistant in Pediatrics, The Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.
SJU MAJOR: Psychology
Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support SCHOLAR

Your best job search advice?
Little things make a difference during a job search. Be well-prepared and learn about the company or position before you inquire about a job. After you land your first job, find a mentor and learn as much as you can from them.

How did SJU help in your professional achievements?
The Kinney Center SCHOLARS (Students Committed to Helping Others Learn About Autism Research and Support) program helped me find a career I’m passionate about.

 

Let’s Talk About It:
Career Conversations
Virtual and in-person speed networking highlighted the University’s first Career Conversations Week.

The online chat rooms were buzzing as job seekers made the most of the seven minutes they were given to connect with an industry professional before jumping to another seven-minute session. SJU’s hour-long Talk with Hawks speed networking event, powered by Brazen, an online event platform company, brought together students and alumni in a virtual format. Participants could have six or seven conversations, after which they were given transcripts of the conversations with contact information for follow up.

“It allowed us to create engagement between alumni and students, in a structured environment, thatwe couldn’t do before,” says Tom Monaghan, assistant vice president of alumni relations, who plans to hold similar events in the future. Because participants can sign on from their phone or computer, wherever their location, he explains, more alumni can become involved.

Martin Weitzman ’99 (MBA), principal at MHW Advisory Co. in Philadelphia, explains that participants build an instant rapport with just a few minutes to text. “You find out how you can help and then exchange information to follow up and make a connection on LinkedIn or social media,” he says. “The format is fabulous.”

Three sessions of the virtual Talk with Hawks highlighted Career Conversations Week, Oct. 23-27, which featured online, over-the-phone and in-person events for freshmen through seniors, graduate students and alumni. Resulting in 1,304 career conversations, the inaugural event more than doubled its goal of 500 connections.

October’s sessions targeted three groups of job seekers: 1) students looking in New York City, 2) graduate students and 3) veterans. Another speed networking event during Career Conversations Week, the Major Match Game — The Arts and Sciences Advantage, involved mostly freshmen and sophomores.

Students had three minutes to visit College of Arts and Sciences alumni at designated high-top tables in the Cardinal Foley Center. They raced from station to station, asking SJU graduates questions with yes or no answers about their professions and career paths, and then tried to guess what their majors had been. The idea was to link students who were unsure of their career path with alumni who weren’t working in a field directly related to their major.

Alumni participant Brendan McGrew ’03, who majored in criminal justice and business and is the owner and chef at Bourbon Blue, a restaurant in Philadelphia, says he hoped to show students that everyone is uncertain at some point. “The lack of knowing what to do with the rest of your life can be a very frightening thought at any age, but especially during college,” he says.

Theresia Kody ’11 remembers knowing that psychology was the area she wanted to study but wasn’t sure about the traditional career path for majors in that discipline. “The Major Match Game emphasized that while you may study a specific area in college, it does not mean that you will fall into a stereotypical occupation or even industry,” says Kody, who describes her work as director of employment services for NHS Human Services in Philadelphia as a bridge between business and social services.

Chelsea Costa, a freshman psychology major who participated in the game, says she found it comforting to learn that people could be successful in careers without a clear path drawn from their area of study. “It helped me look at my major, think about what my dream job is and see if both of those things matched up,” she says. Tayor Rizzolino ’15 (see Page 9), who double-majored in English and leadership, ethics and organizational sustainability, says it was “incredibly powerful” for students to see that many people don’t work in a field directly related to their major. An agency account strategist at Google in New York City, she also found the speed networking format beneficial for students. “They were able to practice their networking skills,” she says, “which was great because it builds confidence in speaking with others.”

In addition to the speed networking events, Career Conversations Week included other ways for students and alumni to connect: a Student Senate Alumni Panel, face-to-face Talk with Hawks, How to Land a Job in New York discussion and TED Talk 30 Day Networking Challenge. To become involved in the fall 2018 Career Conversations Week, email CCW@sju.edu.

— Molly Harty

10 Steps to
Better Networking

By Mark Kramer
Executive in Residence, Haub School of Business
Executive Director, Private Investors Group

Kramer shares his best networking tips with The Business Journals and Saint Joseph’s University Magazine.

1. Look professional and well-groomed.

2. Make sure you have legible business cards.

3. Get there early.

4. Wear a cool tie, pin, bracelet, watch or something that will encourage people to come up to speak with you.

5. Never start off a conversation by talking about yourself.

6. Always look directly at the person speaking, and don’t look around while you are being spoken to.

7. As soon as you introduce yourself to the person or they introduce themselves to you, ask for a business card.

8. Try to meet as many people as possible.

9. When you get a business card, make a few notes on it such as where they’re from, anything personal you might have learned and where you met them.

10. Make sure you write to everyone you meet within 24 hours and no more than 48 hours.

Mark Kramer ©2018 The Business Journals. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.