Alumni in the Field

Jason McAllister
STU Degree: BA '05
Major: Criminology
Job Title: Zones Sales Leader NB/PEI for Pepsiso
Location: Moncton, NB

What are the duties and responsibilities of your work?
In my role as Zone Sales Leader NB/PEI for Pepsico foods, my main responsibilities are to lead a team of seven district managers and 83 sales representatives in an effort to grow our topline business which is currently in excess of $70 million. Some of my other responsibilities include managing our building relationships with key customers, working with employees on growing their career, and looking for new talent to bring into our organization.

How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
My advice to any student looking to start a career in sales would be to gain some basic financial understanding by taking one of STU’s economic courses, get involved with different organizations or activities that require you work in a team environment and make an effort to take on a leadership role, and learn how to communicate effectively.

How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career?
My liberal arts education and time at STU has played a significant role in my career progress to date. Although my major in Criminology does not directly link with my sales career, it’s the open minded problem solving curriculum a liberal arts education offers that’s really helped me in this field. I can also attribute much of my ability to work collaboratively as a team to my time on the Harrington Hall house committee and my time as house president in 2005.

Stephanie Fauquier
STU Degree: BA '11
Major: Political Science
Job Title: Senior Associate, Consulting and Deals at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
Location: Toronto, ON

What are the duties and responsibilities of your work?
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is the largest professional services firm, providing services in tax, assurance and consulting. As an Associate in the Consulting and Deals practice, we are responsible for assisting clients with improving their organizational efficiency, creating innovative growth strategies, reducing cost, and managing risk.We work with clients by designing, managing, and executing these strategies. This work requires strong analytical, communication, and quantitative skills.   

How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
I believe internships provide invaluable experience, so long as they are truly internships. I interned at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and did foreign policy research for President Bill Clinton in New York City. Both were unpaid, but an invaluable learning experience. They were both true internships. Be sure when selecting an internship, that you are getting an experience you would not otherwise have the opportunity to acquire. When seeking out volunteer experiences and extra-curricular activities, be genuine about why you are getting involved. Don’t volunteer just to build your resume, do it because you are interested and passionate about the issue. It will do more for your resume in the longer term and your enthusiasm will shine through. In regards to course selection, I also suggest that undergrads take one or two quantitative courses. The ability to write well and interpret numbers is hugely important. It will open up many doors and opportunities. Push yourself to take that statistics course – it will pay off!
 
How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career? 
I think liberal arts degrees are sometimes overlooked, because a future career path is not always obvious or direct. However, the core skills and competencies that you develop at St. Thomas are marketable and attractive to employers. At St. Thomas, I developed strong communication skills, both written and oral, and analytical and critical reasoning skills. These are skills that many young professionals lack. They are highly transferable and provide you with many options to truly find the career and industry that excites you most. Take the time to develop these core skills, as you will be rewarded when you graduate. These core competencies continue to propel my career and have been the reason I landed both of my internships in the United States. Have faith in what you’re doing and know that in a multi-disciplined world your skills are incredibly relevant and valuable.

Vanessa Paesani
STU Degree: BEd ’10
Major: Education
Job Title: Executive Director of 21inc
Location: Fredericton, NB

What are the duties and responsibilities of your work?
21inc was founded 10 years ago in response to youth leaving the region in unprecedented numbers. Our goal at 21inc is to accelerate leadership - to have high-potential young people take positions of leadership and influence earlier in their careers so that they can stay, and help shape our future. 

As the 'executive director,' I get to execute - which I love. I report to a board of directors that I get to work closely with in designing the vision for our organization.  Leading a not-for-profit business is multi-dimensional - it involves managing finances, learning from stakeholders, building financial and program sustainability, managing and leading people, and designing programs.  It involves a lot of listening to a lot of perspectives and then collaborating on a way forward.  I'm really lucky that I work regionally, which means I meet people from across Atlantic Canada, who are all amazing in really diverse ways - I try to learn something from every person that I meet.

How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
I think one of the most valuable things students can work on is improving their problem solving skills.  The ability to see a problem and persist in finding a way to solve it will serve you wherever you go and in whatever field you end up working in. This can happen in any area of your life - courses, internships, and/or extra-curricular activities. The ability to say 'I'll figure it out' rather than 'I don't know how to do that' will take you really far.

I also think of the most valuable things you can learn is how to manage your own finances (or find someone to guide you) - it will help you take calculated risks in your career. 

How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career?
I studied Education at STU. I didn't end up teaching in a classroom, though I do consider myself an educator. STU taught me a lot about how the education system works, and gave me a framework to think about effective teaching and learning, which begins with understanding that everyone is different and it's important to meet them where they are.  I met many great educators during my time at STU and I stay in contact with many of them.  I still use the skills I learned in my B.Ed in the work I'm doing now, in terms of designing programs and engaging stakeholders.

I've also gotten involved with the STU Alumni Association board of directors. I'm continually impressed with the culture STU is building, and the university is lucky to have a dedicated and awesome team.