Deborah Gavron-Ravanelle ’88
As senior manager for regulatory affairs at Reliant Medical Group in central Massachusetts my job essentially is to be the compliance officer. It’s a pretty amazing job. In essence I’m responsible for providing leadership and motivation regarding business integrity and ethics for 2,500 employees, making sure we comply with state and federal regulations and that there’s no fraud and abuse, no waste or any violations of other healthcare laws. I also do some general in-house counsel and research.
I still have vivid memories of a gorgeous fall day and the sense of belonging I felt the first time I visited Saint Michael’s as a high school senior. I’m from a semi-rural Massachusetts town called West Boxford north of Boston, and Saint Mike’s seemed like such a good fit for me. I’m inquisitive by nature and at that time I’d found it very inspiring to work for both my school and community papers under a remarkable editor/mentor, so another big attraction for me was the strong reputation of the St. Mike’s Journalism Department. Naturally, I became a journalism major.
My first-year Intro to Politics class with Professor Bill Wilson hooked me on political science too so I made that my minor! I wrote for The Defender and was active in the Student Association and Amnesty International. A favorite memory remains they work-study job I had in the college’s Sports Information office working with Chris Kenny ’86, who’s now Associate Athletic Director for the college. We covered and wrote about all the sports and had a blast.
I discovered that liberal arts education opens doors to all types of careers. Journalism jobs were hard to come by so instead I went to law school at Massachusetts School of Law. Like a lot of other lawyers I had a tough time finding a job right out of school so I ended up working for Fidelity Investments for 10 years in financial compliance and general business. A chance business connection while working out at my local gym led to my next career move to Reliant, where I’ve been four years.
Saint Michael’s was very good to me as a student. I had lots of support by faculty and staff, and also financial aid that was very helpful since I had to put myself through college. Neither of my parents went to college so it was really important for me to be able to do that, and the college helped me accomplish it.
In gratitude to St. Mike’s for that I try to give something every year as an annual gift for starters and then do something more, as my personal finances allow. Recently I also became co-chair for my class’s coming 25th reunion. I was back for the 15th and my husband and I visit campus on vacations. I’ve made financial gifts through the Heritage Circle and have a couple life insurance policies stipulating that if my husband is not surviving, then it goes to the college, because others might need assistance in the future like I did. If in some small way I can give back in that way, I want to.
I’ve been active mentoring other business women after being mentored myself, and I oversee a fund for employees in need at my company. That’s one thing you learn more at St. Mike’s than at other institutions I think – that it’s all about the giving, and knowing you have a really good life and need to help others who may not have as good a life at the time.