Eastern inducted its fifth class of Alumni Fellows on March 6 in the Paul E. Johnson Community Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. Inductees included Kathleen Kennedy '74, executive director, America's Head-Recruiting Delivery with UBS Financial Services, and Kathy Gentilozzi '81, senior vice president of human resources for Aeropostale, a specialty clothing retailer.
Kennedy '74 earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Applied Social Relations at Eastern, and master's degrees in counseling psychology and education from Columbia University's Teachers College. She is also a graduate of the Executive Program in Strategic Human Resources at the University of Michigan's School of Business. Today she supervises more than 50 recruiting and human resource professionals at three locations to support UBS Financial Services' investment bank, wealth management, asset management, and corporate center businesses in the United States.
Gentilozzi '81 earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. When she graduated during the recession in 1981, there were virtually no jobs for teachers, so she took a part-time job in retail at The Limited, where she quickly moved into management, and later, human resources management.
Kennedy and Gentilozzi gave students tips on making it in the real world. "When you go on interview, make sure you do your homework on the companies that you are going to be speaking to, because that's a sign of respect, and you should be able to ask questions about their business," said Gentilozzi. "Don't be caught off guard by that."
Both women discussed how they switched jobs often, starting over from scratch, learning something new each time. "When windows of opportunities open, jump on them," said Kennedy. "Trust your instinct. Gather courage. Go forward. Take the risk and use the resources within that company to leverage and support you in being successful in the next step."
Both alumnae gave insight on their experiences with Eastern's liberal arts education. "When I think back to the impact that Eastern had on my life, I wouldn't be here without two individuals believing in me." Kennedy said. She owes her college career to Betty Tipton, dean of students, and Sociology Professor Jean Thoresen. "Jean was a person who really inspired me and made my brain hurt." Because of Thoresen, she decided to become a Sociology major, realizing she was really good at working with people.
Gentilozzi, who also wanted to be a teacher, said, "even though I didn't get to do what I thought I was going to do, I wouldn't trade my experience at Eastern for anything. You will have fabulous experiences and you will have experiences that aren't so pleasant, and put them in your tool kit and move on from there."
The Eastern Fellows program was established in 2008 to recognize and engage distinguished Eastern alumni in the life of the University. This program is a means of enriching the educational experience of current Eastern undergraduates by exposing them to alumni who are able to share their work experiences with students.