Alumni in the Field

Barry Osmun
STU Degree: BA ’86
Major: English
Job Title: Sales and Marketing Manager at the Stone Depot
Location: Halifax, NS

What are the duties and responsibilities of your work?
As my title would indicate there are two main components to my position. In the sales management aspect I’m responsible for calling on architects, contractors, large developers and city planners to encourage them to specify or use our products for their projects. We currently represent over 150 manufacturers of masonry and landscape products, and we import our products from as far away as India and China. The marketing role involves everything from updating the company website to ensuring we’re active on social media including Twitter, Facebook, and Houze. I also meet with reps from radio and print media to plan our advertising and marketing campaigns.

How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
While at STU I majored in English and I found this to be an extremely useful tool in sales and marketing. In sales you’re constantly being asked to write proposals and do presentations to help promote your product and educate potential consumers. There’s no question in my mind that the ability to communicate effectively is my strongest asset and I attribute this to my education in English and creative writing. I would also encourage anyone considering entering this field to learn how to use Twitter, facebook, Pinterest, etc. as they’re all very powerful tools which can be used to effectively promote your product and convey your message. Don’t underestimate the importance of extra-curricular activities in helping your career. I was very active in sports at STU and this taught me the value of teamwork, as well as giving me the necessary leadership qualities for a career in sales and marketing.

How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career?
My Bachelor of Arts degree taught me how to communicate effectively.  In sales and marketing you’ll find yourself dealing with a wide range of personalities and people with varying backgrounds. In my position I may find myself working with a contractor or developer that would prefer doing business over a cold beverage and I may then move on to an architect in an office who expects me to use technical terms and be well versed in the intricacies of our products. I remember taking philosophy courses from Dr. Frank Cronin and they taught me how to present an argument, take a position, and how to back it up with facts in a manner that encourages people to listen. St. Thomas taught me how to embrace diversity while ensuring that I conveyed my message with confidence.

Chris Cummins
STU Degree: BA '94
Major: Economics
Job Title: Vice President, North America ISS for Skillsoft
Location: Fredericton, NB

What are the duties and responsibilities of your work?
I manage 170 sales people in four sales centres through North America. I’m responsible for the overall success of this group, and within that, revenue growth and retention for the company. I’m responsible for overseeing hiring, training, coaching, sales planning and forecasting, performance management and strategy for this group.

How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
Take economics courses and communication courses, get jobs in sales, develop competitive spirit, entrepreneurial pursuits, and talk to people who work in business and in sales. Also, there’s a free online site (skillsnb.ca) that, combined with their degree, would be great to help round out their skills. 

How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career?
STU broadened my learning capacity, fostered my creativity, set the table for a life of setting goals and challenges. 

Ryan Lehr
STU Degree: BA ’10
Major: Criminology
Job Title: Sales Manager, Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook Hotel
Location: Fredericton, NB

What are the duties and responsibilities of your work?
My duties are somewhat diverse. I currently work for the Crowne Plaza Fredericton Lord Beaverbrook Hotel as Sales Manager. My key role is to manage business transactions, business development, community involvement and fiscal management for the Federal and Provincial Government markets, as well as national and provincial professional associations across Canada. Prospecting, account management and community partnerships are key duties for ensuring the development and growth of our property and industry. Formulating strategies and tactics from a marketing and sales perspective is a key role to continuously grow our local and far reaching market share.

How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
With respect to preparation, networking is key. Being involved in the community philanthropically is integral to personal and professional development. If you have aspirations of beginning a career outside of New Brunswick, it’s equally as important due to the competitive markets that exist. If you’re planning to be proactive in any location, leaving a lasting impression in the community will not only provide valuable references, but you will be assisting in the development of your community and local businesses, while taking away valuable experience. In my industry (tourism and hospitality), it’s essential to be involved at the community level. This industry is often disregarded as one of the most viable economic contributors to our province, country, and the globe. Tourism and Hospitality has one of the highest economic impacts to our economy. This is due to community based partnerships that allow for growth and prosperity within this industry.

How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career?
In short, it is invaluable. The beauty of a liberal arts education is in its adaptability and alternative point of view. Some may say that it’s not ‘specific’ enough, or tailored to any certain position or career, but in that comes its greatest asset. To possess a liberal arts education, in my opinion, is most valuable due to the way in which we can adapt, innovate and think clearly about the aspects of everything we look at. A liberal arts degree allows each of us to think critically about all situations, as well as understand the people and objects around us. I studied Criminology, Sociology and French. Some would peg me as a police officer, social worker or parole officer, and although those are fantastic careers, it wasn’t what was calling me. The beauty of this is that regardless of the title of your liberal arts degree, there is a deeper message and understanding behind this education. It allowed me to expand my mind and truly understand the most essential part of life—people. My liberal arts education has allowed for me to strive in business, sales and marketing solely because I’m open and conscious of the situations around me. My ability to innovate, develop and work with others has propelled my career beyond any expectations because of my liberal arts education.