Meet Alumna Erin DeMarco ’04, Senior Donor Relations Officer

Name: Erin (Smith) DeMarco

Class Year: 2004

Title: Senior Donor Relations Officer

Organization Name: Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

As Senior Donor Relations Officer, I am responsible for creating and implementing strategy and programs to engage and steward donors to the Institute at all levels of giving.

 

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you? 

At Holy Cross, I was a Spanish major in the Teacher Education Program.  After my junior year, I interned at ReadBoston, a children’s literacy nonprofit. I found this internship through the Summer Internship Program at Holy Cross and pursued it because I thought it would allow me to hone my interest in education outside of a traditional classroom setting.  My boss that summer was another Holy Cross alumna (Theresa Lynn ’87). After graduation, I was hired by ReadBoston full time. My plan had not been to work in a nonprofit, but through this internship, I discovered my passion for nonprofit work.  I worked at ReadBoston for almost eight years and Theresa, my former boss, remains a wonderful friend and mentor.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was a four-year student athlete on the swim team. I was also a member of Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honor Society).

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I was a Spanish Major in the Teacher Education Program. I intended to be a teacher, but my experience interning at ReadBoston changed my outlook.

 

 5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

My liberal arts education allowed me to study a wide variety of topics and to think critically about different perspectives. These skills are indispensable every day.

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Take advantage of the career center! I went to an info session for the Summer Internship Program and it ended up shaping my entire career in a way I never anticipated. In addition, relationships are so important and valuable, especially within the Holy Cross network.  Go to alumni events and keep up with your relationships with your fellow classmates. You never know when you might need to call on a fellow Crusader.

Meet Alumna Stephanie Schaefer Ford ’11, Senior Marketing Copywriter with Rue Gilt Groupe

Stephanie Schaefer Ford

Class Year: 2011

Title: Senior Marketing Copywriter

Organization Name: Rue Gilt Groupe

1.  In one sentence, what does your job entail?

As a Senior Copywriter, I am responsible for crafting the stories that support Rue La La’s marketing initiatives, whether it be as straightforward as writing clever subject lines and push notifications for our daily sales, or as in-depth as conceptualizing an entire holiday campaign.

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?  

After graduation, I accepted a summer fellowship through the International Radio & Television Society in New York City. My spot was sponsored by The Hallmark Channel/Crown Media Networks and its CEO (Bill Abbot, Class of ‘84). It was an amazing experience and exposed me to the ins and outs of the industry.

Through the program, I interned in the marketing and publicity department of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, assisting with the promotion of films like The Help & Cars 2. During the course of the summer, I also attended seminars hosted by IRTS and media executives in various positions, ranging from ad sales to production. These meetings confirmed that I wanted my next role to involve creativity and writing, which eventually led me to pursue a position as an Editorial Assistant at an online magazine.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was the Vice President of the English Honor Society and Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Purple Literary Magazine during my senior year. I also was involved with the Campus Activities Board (CAB), volunteered at Friendly House in Worcester through SPUD, and contributed articles to The Crusader Newspaper.

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I majored in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. I remember right before graduation, one of my favorite professors, Leah Cohen, asked us to respond to an article that said, “graduating with an English Degree is like going out into a storm without a coat.” I believe my response was something along the lines of “I’d rather go out coatless than wear one that isn’t my style.” Through my Holy Cross courses, I realized I wanted a career that would fulfill me creatively, but I wasn’t quite sure what that would be. English majors may not have a direct path, but that’s half the fun!

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

I’m fortunate that I get to hone the skills I developed in college every day. Holy Cross taught me to think outside of the box and express my voice, whether that be in an extensive 20-page thesis paper or a three-line poem for a Creative Writing class. These abilities are certainly valuable when you’re a Copywriter writing for a variety of different mediums.

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Learn from every experience, big and small. Also, I think it’s important to be adaptable, but always stay true to your passions. Luckily, in today’s digital world that’s easier than ever. For instance, in my spare time, I contribute to Writer’s Bone, a podcast and website my husband co-founded, dedicated to writing. I’m fortunate to have a creatively fulfilling day job, but interviewing authors and screenwriters for the podcast allows me to hone a different set of skills. In addition to signing up for courses and extracurriculars that you’re passionate about, I’d encourage students to pick up a side hustle, start a blog, or do whatever it is that fuels your creative spirit.

 

 

Meet Alumna Nina Robertson ’17, Bilingual Parent-Child Specialist at New York University School of Medicine

Name: Nina Robertson

Class Year: 2017

Current Title/Employer: Bilingual Parent-Child Specialist at New York University School of Medicine

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I deliver a pediatric-based early intervention program for babies, newborn to age 3, from at-risk populations. I work with mothers and infants at their well-child appointments and talk about ways to promote their baby’s learning and school-readiness through reading and play.

2. What if any, unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?   

My senior year roomate saw the job posting through a cognitive development email chain and said, “This sounds perfect for you!” I got really excited and applied right away. During my interview, I mentioned my involvement in research with Professor Anggoro from the Psychology department. As it turns out, the woman I was speaking with knew her when she was in undergrad at Northwestern University and had worked closely with her during her time there. Professor Anggoro was also one of my references for the job, so it all came full circle!  

3. How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

I’ve always been interested in the cognitive and linguistic development of young children and the ways in which they learn. I loved that this job gave me hands-on experience interacting with infants and mothers, and also provided me with the opportunity to work with Spanish-speaking families and give back to the Latino community. I was also inspired by the program’s goal to address the school achievement gap among different socioeconomic levels.

4. What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

I was in Off the Record a cappella group, SPUD Parsons Hill, a greeter at mass, performed in Noche Latina, Holy Cross Choir and Chambers Singers, and club field hockey.

5. What was your major and how has it affected your career decisions?   

I majored in psychology because I’ve always been interested in how people think, behave, and interact.  I knew that I loved interacting and working directly with people, and I searched for a job and career that would allow me to have direct contact with patients. During my senior year, I became involved in a cognitive development lab, which sparked my interest in research and gave me the experience I needed to pursue a research-oriented job. I originally had planned to double major in both math and psychology,  but decided to focus solely on psychology during my senior year when I realized that it aligned more closely with my career goals.

6. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

Interpersonal skills: the way that I learned to interact with my classmates and professors during my time at Holy Cross translated directly to being able to communicate effectively with my coworkers and supervisors in the working field. Similarly, the time management skills that I learned at Holy Cross, such as creating a schedule to balance multiple ongoing projects at once, helped me learn the most efficient ways of tackling my workload within specific timeframes.

Meet Alumna Sydney Latour ’17, Analyst – Asset Owner Sales, J.P. Morgan

Name: Sydney Latour

Class Year: 2017

Title: Analyst – Asset Owner Sales

Organization Name: J.P. Morgan

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail? 

I am an analyst on the Asset Owner Sales team and support senior client executives who sell securities services to corporate and public pension funds, endowments and foundations.

 

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?  

Events such as the Finance Intern Panel and Women in Business Conference sparked my interest in finance. I began networking with alumni during my sophomore year and continued those conversations during my first internship in financial journalism between sophomore and junior year. Following that internship, I completed an academic internship at a financial planning office and a summer internship at J.P. Morgan. My internship experience confirmed my decision to pursue a career in finance.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus? 

 On campus, I was involved in Finance Club, study abroad and Purple Key Society. I also worked as a Peer Career Assistant in the Center for Career Development.

 

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions? 

 I was a double major in Economics and Spanish. I knew I wanted to pursue a career that required strong analytical and communication skills.

 

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work? 

 Time management and resourcefulness. Holy Cross taught me to balance various commitments and meet deadlines. The liberal arts education also taught me to think broadly and critically when approaching a project.

 

What advice do you have for students on campus today? 

 Leverage the resources Holy Cross offers, such as the HC Network, Career Development drop-in hours and alumni job shadowing. Reach out to alumni early to establish a professional network. Take classes that interest you and don’t forget to enjoy the fastest four years of your life!

Meet Alumna Abaigeal Healy ’11, Communication & Change Management Consultant, Willis Towers Watson

Name: Abaigeal Heally

Class Year: 2011

Title: Communication & Change Management Consultant

Organization Name: Willis Towers Watson

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I develop and implement communication strategies and employee engagement tools to help large organizations enhance their total employee experience.

 

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?

 Several extra-curricular activities connected me to the communications industry and the business world, including:

  • Pre-Business club and its accompanying networking events – this is how I learned about EMC, which was my first job after Holy Cross; I spoke up during a Q&A session and afterward an alumni and employee of EMC encouraged me to apply to their Marketing Development Program
  • Summer Internship Program (SIP) – I had two fantastic internships where I worked alongside Holy Cross alumni, one of them who was the CEO of the company at the time
  • Communications and Advertising Club (now called the Agency, I believe)
  • Alumni panel where I explored fields I might be interested in
  • Holy Cross sponsored Career Fairs

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

Besides some of the career-focused activities, I noted above, I studied abroad for a year in Ireland. This was a unique opportunity that provided me with fresh perspectives – it set me apart from other candidates when applying for jobs who studied for just a semester or so. I have been able to apply my experiences from my year abroad to every job I have had since graduating. Having, since worked at three global companies, I find this continues to be an important part of my career – working at a company that’s involved in international projects and seeks to understand global perspectives.

I was also involved with the Jesuit community at Holy Cross, having served as a Eucharistic minister.

 

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I was a Psychology major and Studio Art Minor. I knew I enjoyed studying people, especially, emotional intelligence. I wanted to mix my interest in Psychology with my passion for design. That naturally led me to explore marketing and branding. What I learned after several internships was that writing was a way to influence people, and if you do it right, you can change behaviors. This was exciting to me! I wanted to be able to use my degree and what I knew about cognitive processes and apply that to the real world – to the everyday working person, employees.

That’s when I learned more about Communications and all the different hats that Communications people wear at corporations. Communications is a job where you use words and visuals to reach and inform the everyday consumer – the employee (you and me) on all sorts of topics from announcements like leadership changes to new benefit programs. As a consultant, I help companies all over the world do this. It’s always changing and I get to learn about lots of news, workplaces and cultures!

 

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

 The obvious ones are time management, project management and writing skills. The more philosophical one that Holy Cross encouraged me to develop was my ability to question. Challenging the status quo is the approach I take to solve everyday business problems.

 

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

 I recently went to the Massachusetts Women’s Conference and saw Elizabeth Gilbert speak, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, and she said the one thing we all need to do more of is RELAX. I thought this was such a simple bit of advice, but so profound. She said, the next time you are in a meeting, look around an observe everyone. The most powerful person in the room is the most relaxed. As students and as alumni, we all are working so hard, and we should continue to push ourselves to our fullest, but if you feel like you can’t do it all that day, just take a breath, and know it’s all going to be alright! Make sure you have a strong support system and you take the time to prioritize those people. Wellbeing is becoming an ever more important part of work/life culture, if you don’t have your health physically and mentally, we can’t be our best selves. So during your next moment of stress or anxiety, remember… just RELAX! It’s all going to be alright.