Elise Genereux ’16
How did you find yourself where you are now? What led you to your current profession?
While at St. Mike’s, I held a couple of internships in the event industry, which led to a position as an assistant event manager for weddings and special events here in Vermont shortly after graduation. I assisted on-site in the management of events or managed solo during double booked weekends. I attended site visits and tastings, reviewed rental orders, organized logistics of our pack-out and team responsibilities, and when on-site I directed the team in set-up, food service, and break down. I loved so much about this job, but with the event season being so short in Vermont due to our long winters, I sought other event-related part-time positions to make ends meet. I worked for caterers, stationers, entertainment & lighting companies, and even a dress store all at once, often working 6 or 7 days a week. This taught me quite a bit about organizing my time and keeping track of clients & accounts, but also taught me about burnout.
From all of this experience, I realized that I’m a self-motivated multi-tasker and chief organizer, and that my strengths lie in strong communication, problem-solving,
efficiency, and leadership. The common thread in the jobs that I enjoyed the most was project management. This led me to Dealer.com. I am a Digital Campaign Coordinator on the Content & Creative team and work directly with 30 clients to create and implement digital assets, advertising OEM incentives, dealership events, and special promotions in addition to building webpages to support these initiatives. I facilitate the dealers’ requests, coordinating with our in-house Design and Specialist teams to develop these campaigns.
What is your favorite thing about your current profession?
My current role is a far cry from working weddings, but the project management aspects remain the same. I really enjoy finding efficiencies in how a team works together and seeing a project through to completion. The consistency of a 9-5 work week isn’t bad, either.
Was there a person, faculty or staff member at St. Mike’s during your time here who was influential to you?
There were many standout faculty members that I am extremely grateful to have worked with and learned from. Patrick Standen fostered in me a true desire to never stop learning, questioning, solving problems, and leading, which are some of my most important duties as a student, employee, friend, and citizen. Molly Millwood held very high expectations for our work, as she should, and called us to rise to our highest potential. Valerie Bang-Jensen surprised me with a proposal for my first of two independent research projects, challenging me to grow in my professional development outside of my comfort zone. Reza Ramazani never let us leave the room without a smile, though Economics wasn’t the most “fun” topic. There are countless others who touched my heart at St. Mikes.
How does what you learned at St. Mike’s apply to your post-graduate life and what you are doing now?
I always had an interest in Psychology, and knew that it was the subject I wanted to study even though a Psychologist position would likely not be the right fit for me. In my opinion, the Psychology program is one of the most “Liberal Arts,” well-rounded majors one can take. What I mean is, the knowledge I gained in those classes would help anyone, anytime. I knew that the lessons I learned would benefit me in any job that I held, in interacting with co-workers, delivering and receiving tough feedback, navigating relationships with clients, and so on. These lessons consist of useful “life knowledge” and guide my thoughts and actions in and out of the workplace.
Is there anything you learned during your St. Mike’s experience, in an academic setting or otherwise, that had a particular impact or influence on you?
I learned many things at St. Mike’s, but I believe my personal development was the most surprising. Being given opportunities to challenge myself outside of the curriculum, and often outside of my comfort zone, was the greatest gift. Being asked to Peer Tutor, to hold a weekly Study Session in a subject I didn’t consider myself an expert in, to be a Writing Coach, to guest perform in the Dance Team Spring Performance, and to not once, but twice, be asked to consider independent research with my professors, gave me an incredible confidence boost. I have since sometimes said yes to opportunities I would have normally declined, which have led to wonderful experiences.
Do you have any advice for current students?
I would suggest studying abroad. I was nervous about submitting an application for a semester away and chose not to, despite the fact that nearly all of my friends were going. By the time everyone was leaving for their programs, I felt confident enough to go but had missed my chance. Luckily, there are many smaller trips offered throughout the year and I was selected for the Medieval Burgundy trip to Pontigny, France during the summer. It was one of the major highlights from my time at St. Mike’s.
What was it like adjusting to the ‘real world’ after graduating?
Considering that I was expecting to move home to save money and get a great job in Boston, leaving school without a job offer in hand was an eye opener. I ended up moving back to Burlington that same summer because so many of my personal and professional connections resided there. As a creature of habit, going to a job that was not the typical 9-5 schedule, but rather off-hours, nights and weekends, I found that I really needed to stick to a routine or I would lose focus on other important personal tasks like laundry, exercising, or making sure I had enough groceries. With the convenience of having everything at most a five minute walk away on campus at St. Mike’s, and a schedule to follow, it was easy to take for granted how well organized our lives were there. That was my major hurdle, aside from learning to live on my own for the first time.
What was your favorite thing about St. Mike’s?
It’s hard to pin down my favorite thing about St. Mike’s. I liked its proximity to Burlington, commitment to Edmundite traditions, and class offerings, but I loved its tight-knit community and the warmth you can feel emanating from the students, faculty, and staff. It truly felt like home to me.