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Alumni Spotlight

Nong Ovathanasin Camile Teresa Betances Josh Borgschulte Kevin Vaughn Michael
 
Sean Rue Sylvester Shamion Romain Regina Jean Gomes Welle Lucas Sommer
 
Nicki Marko Julie Rose Zamora Kristie Rupp Jean Felix LaCroix
 
Carlos Enrique Guzman Matthew Friedmann Karen Shiers Yi Tao
Elizabeth Tauben Andrew J. Gladstone Donaldson  
Chase Hamann Elizabeth Tauben Andrew J. Gladstone Donaldson  
 
Nominate Yourself for the Alumni Spotlight. Spotlight Nomination Form

Nong Ovathanasin

Title/Employer Resident Coordinator, Florida Atlantic University

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current job/employer.
I currently work in the field of student affairs at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. Specifically, I work as a Resident Coordinator, overseeing one of five residence halls on campus. My responsibilities include developing and maintaining a living and learning community of 600 residents, implementing and promoting enforcement of policies and procedures, holding judicial and disciplinary hearings, and supervising a staff of 20+ Resident Assistants (RA) and Desk Assistants in their programming, community development, and engagement with residents. Overall, I love my job and enjoy interacting and working with students every day. 

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school? 
As an undergraduate, I was a double major in Biology and Creative Writing, and a minor in Chemistry. As a graduate student, I received my Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration (concentration in Student Life and Development), and received a Certificate in Enrollment Management. I am currently working on my PhD in Higher Education Leadership at FAU. 

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
Admittedly, like so many other students, I incorrectly thought that the career center was only for juniors and seniors, so I didn’t begin to get involved until my junior year. My first visits to Toppel were for walk-in advising, and they were able to help me edit and improve my resume. They also informed me of the resources available at the career center. Soon after, I attended my first Career Expo and found myself attending many of their workshops, including Interviewing Skills, Networking Made Easy, and several Career Development Series workshops pertaining to my major. And of course, my last involvement with Toppel during my undergrad was when I walked through to get my cap and gown for graduation! 

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful? (if applicable)
All of them! Some of the most helpful resources at Toppel had to be CaneZone, the Career Fairs and Expos, and walk-in advising and resume critiques. CaneZone was extremely helpful because they offered jobs and internships specifically to UM students and alumni, and also had a lot of other useful resources on their site. The Career Fairs and Expos were great opportunities to network, meet, and apply with actual employers within your major or field. When else are you going to find an opportunity where hundreds of employers actually come to you to help you get a job? Finally, walk-in advising was very convenient. No appointments needed to be made, and they were willing to help you with anything – from resumes and cover letters, to graduate school essays and personal statements. The walk-in advisors were always extremely helpful, patient, and informative!

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career? 
It’s never too early to start! Many students incorrectly believe that they should wait until their junior or senior years of college to begin planning for their career. However, students could be doing so many other things before then, such as creating/revising their resumes, researching their career field, inquiring about the resources that Toppel offers, applying for internships, and networking!

Camile Teresa Betances

Title/Employer Language Arts/ Creative Writing Teacher/ Coral Gables High School @ Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current job/employer.
I graduated in May 2007 from UM with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English- Creative Writing and Secondary Education with a Spanish minor. While at UM I was president of the Sugarcanes, the batgirls for the UM Baseball team and held on campus jobs at Toppel Career Center and Canterbury Preschool. 

Currently, I teach 9th grade English I Honors as well as all the Creative Writing classes at Coral Gables High School. This is my 3rd year teaching and I love my job. In addition to my classroom responsibilities, I sponsor the Creative Writing Club and coach Varsity Badminton. I love that I get to be creative and self directed in my work. 

Last May, I finally got to pursue one of my other passions by starting a photography business with one of my best friends. Ex Arte Photography (www.exartephotography.com) is amazing because it allows me to stay active with photography while keeping my career as a teacher. With Ex Arte, I get to work on portraits, weddings, and special events. 

I am also currently getting my Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction from FIU and work as a member of the Junior League of Miami to assist women, children, and families in the Coral Gables area. 

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school? 
Majors: English- Creative Writing and Secondary Education
Minor: Spanish 

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
I worked at Toppel Career Center as a student assistant so I got involved earlier than most. I scheduled a mock interview to help me gain the confidence to land the position as well as attended various seminars on options after graduation. I also went to the education career fair, career EXPO, and the graduate school fair. 

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
The mock interview really helped me to be confident when I went out there to get a job. I landed my DREAM job in my first interview on the first try. That doesn’t happen often. Toppel had a large part in that by not only giving me confidence, but giving me a strong resume and knowledge to go after what I wanted.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career? 
My advice would be to definitely take advantage of the resources that are available to you. I have spoken to so many friends who graduated with me and they didn’t know that Toppel could help them to get a job or apply to graduate school. They didn’t seek out the help and assumed they had to do it all on their own. I’ve edited resumes for lots of my friends, and many of them didn’t know that they could just download a sample resume from Toppel’s website or go in and have one of the GA’s look their resumes over.

Josh Borgschulte

Title/Employer: Interactive Designer at Red Bricks Media in San Francisco

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
After graduating from UM in 2006, I relocated to San Francisco to pursue a career in web and graphic design. I was then brought on at Red Bricks as an intern designer and eventually entered a full-time position at the company. Currently, my main duties involve developing the information architecture and art direction for many of the creative projects at Red Bricks.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and minored in Art History.

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
When I first enrolled at Miami, I was an engineering major. Engineering taught me a lot of great work habits and how to better organize my time and schedule. But I realized that engineering was not for me, so I transferred my interests in creative/creating to the art department. There, I became really inspired by my fellow students, the professors, and the much more experienced graduate students. Just talking and discussing with all of these individuals was really beneficial to my growth as an artist and designer. During my summers, I interned at a small advertising agency in St. Louis, Missouri, and then later at a newspaper publisher in Florida. Both experiences were invaluable and I would highly recommend getting into a real-world position where you're performing the daily tasks you hope to once you graduate. You'll learn a lot from any hands-on experience very quickly.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
Resume critiques, the Career Expo, and all of the many programs that Toppel conducts throughout the year are great resources for picking up solid advice and great tips to help you become much more confident in your job search.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career?
  • Do lots of research and exploration into what career options sound good to you
  • Get real world experience doing the job you think you want to do early on
  • Figure out if you truly enjoy the job
  • Go full speed ahead and find your passion. If you really do like your job, you'll never "work" a day in your life

Kevin Vaughn Michael

Title/Employer: Managing Partner, Invizio LLC

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
I am a native of Antigua & Barbuda currently living in Miami. I am Managing Partner and co-founder of Invizio LLC. We are an IT services company and provide IT outsourcing and support services to small business clients throughout Miami-Dade. In my role as Managing Partner, I am responsible for our overall business development and marketing strategy, as well as client and partner relationship management.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
I was an Information Technology major in the College of Engineering, completed a second major in Computer Science and a minor in Computer Information Systems. I am currently halfway through a dual MBA/MS in Information Technology at the University of Dallas.

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
I first got involved with career development at UM through the National Society of Black Engineers chapter in the College of Engineering. After attending a national convention in Dallas, TX I landed my first internship at the end of my sophomore year. Besides NSBE, I extensively utilized Toppel’s resume critique services and also attended workshops on topics such as networking, etiquette and interviewing techniques.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
I love all of the services at the Toppel Career Center. One program in particular that I found very helpful was the mock interview sessions hosted prior to the Career Fairs. Those interviews allowed me to have first contact with many of the interviewers and establish familiarity with the companies I was interested in, before walking through the Career Fair door.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career?
As students plan their career particularly in this economy, I would encourage them to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competition. They should seek out opportunities in student leadership in clubs that relate to their fields and get started interning early in their college careers. Don’t wait until senior year!!

Sean Rue Sylvester

Title/Employer: Le Boss / Voler La Rue Clothing

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
After Graduating from UM in 2004 I began to develop a streetwear brand that I officially launched in the beginning of 2005. My brand is called Voler La Rue. It's French and literally translated it means "to steal the street". My middle name is Rue, which was given to me by my brother when I was still in my mother's womb because he said I looked like a Kangaroo when she was pregnant. Later on I came to find out the way it was spelled meant "street" in French. I've always been into streetwear fashion and music so I decided to start my own streetwear brand. My story is pretty typical of most young entrepreneurs; I started selling my shirts out of the trunk of my car to friends. I eventually got my brand into a local skate shop after trying for weeks and from there I've grown to selling in 8 stores in Miami and 1 in ATL. My brand consists of men's t-shirts currently and pillows but I have plans to expand it to a full blown lifestyle brand. I've provided several shirts to major hip hop recording artist and producers like, Bun B, The Pack, Pitbull and Cool & Dre for photo shoots and performances. I've also attended several trade shows and video shoots where my brand has been featured. Currently I'm working closely with the University organization The Launch Pad on securing financing to expand my line and get into major retail chains.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
My Major in School was Business Management and my Minor was Business Law I thought of going to law school but didn't do well on my LSAT.

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?

I didn't take full advantage of all the resources available at the University when I was attending. I was just focused on graduating and starting a business but it didn't hit me until right before graduation what I wanted to do. During my senior year I asked a lot of professors for advice and also help with trademarks that I was filing at the time.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
I've always maintained a job while running my business to lighten the burden of start up costs and all the expenses one takes on when starting a business. So I used the Toppel Career center to find my first job upon graduating.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career?
Start early! If you can. If you already know what you really want to do, research it as much as possible and go for it. Don't talk about starting something. Do it.

Do something you enjoy and are willing to try your hardest to accomplish.

Find a Mentor in the field that you want to be in. I've met a few individuals who I've tried to approach as being mentors but they didn't work out for one reason or another but I have learned a lot from meeting with leaders in the industry.

Finally I'd say, if you're deciding to start your own business It's not going to be easy. Someone has to tell you the truth so I'll say it. It's hard to start a business from scratch but if you don't stop you can't fail.

Shamion Romain

Title/Employer: Human Resource Coordinator, Burger King Corporation

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
I was born in Trinidad and moved to Florida at the age of 9. Being the first from my family to graduate from college has been both a fulfilling and challenging experience. Now I look forward to developing my career and assisting others in achieving their dreams of a college education.

I work for Burger King Corporation as a Talent Acquisition Coordinator, with the Human Resource department. In my role, I support the corporate and field recruiting teams with onboarding new employees as well as maintaining our Applicant Tracking System. Additionally I manage all newspaper and job board ad placements for the U.S. and Canada. And last but certainly not least…I get to work with the KING.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and minor in Business Administration.

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
First I would like to say that I am a true product of Toppel's services.

I began by working on my resume and attending Toppel's workshops during my Freshman year. Then as a Sophomore I started going to Toppel's Career Expos to gain confidence in speaking about myself and networking. Following the '06 Spring Career Expo I interviewed for and obtained my first internship with Lennar Corporation, which was my first venture into Human Resources. After my first internship experience I was back at Toppel to spruce up my resume and prepare for the next Career Expo. At my second Career Expo I spoke with representatives from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and attained my second internship at their Regional offices.

After meeting Burger King recruiters at the '07 Spring Career Expo, I knew that BK was the right company for me. I interviewed for their HR summer internship and fortunately was given the opportunity to intern with the Talent Acquisition team. I enjoyed my experience so much that I remained an intern while completing my senior year and started at Burger King full time after graduation.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
All of Toppel’s services were extremely helpful in preparing me for my career. I would encourage every student to take advantage of Toppel’s Library as well as the numerous workshops offered throughout the year.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career?
Start early and don’t be afraid to ask questions or step outside of your comfort zone!

Regina Jean Gomes Welle

Title/Employer: Management Trainee

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current job/employer.
Like most college graduates, my career path started off exactly the way I never expected it to! I moved from Brazil to the United States in 2002 to attain my Bachelors Degree. I graduated from the University of Miami in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Upon graduation, I had no idea of what I was going to do professionally. I hoped to immediately find the perfect career, and even hoped that maybe the perfect career would find me! Unfortunately, my career search did not turn out that way. I had to go through a variety of different opportunities to finally find my passion. I worked in a number of different fields from research to teaching, to working in the restaurant industry. I quickly realized that those fields were not for me, so I became a world traveler for a bit. When I returned from my travels, I decided to buckle down and find a career that would offer me a long term career path. A career that would help me grow personally, professionally, and financially from the ground up. I started attending the University of Miami Toppel Career Center events. After four events, I found Enterprise Holdings at the Tuesday's With Toppel Event. I started with Enterprise in October of 2009 in the Management Trainee Program. The Management Trainee Program is where all Enterprise employees start - including the current President, Pam Nicholson! I am able to learn the business from the inside out. I take care of customers, develop marketing plans, and work with an energetic team of professionals. I found the company that is giving me the opportunity to build a long term career! I am extremely thankful for UM and for the Toppel Career Center. They truly prepared me for my future.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Minors in English and Art

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
I started getting involved early! I transferred to the University of Miami as a Junior, and took advantage of the Toppel Career Center right away. During my Senior year at UM, I landed a job doing research for Neuroimmunology of HIV Aids. After graduating, I relocated to Boston and about a year later, I decided to relocate back to Miami. Once back in Miami I visited Toppel for help with my resume and interviewing techniques. Toppel was able to be there for me, and was able to help me secure a career with Enterprise. I took complete advantage of the resources at UM. The sooner you get started, the more prepared you are for the future job market!

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
The advisors are amazing! They put a vast amount of time and effort into making sure that I was prepared for the future at every angle - from helping with resumes to professional dress. They prepare you for everything you need to know to land a job during an interview. The best part is the convenience! They are right on campus and are always available!

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career?
I have learned that there are two types of students: students that have ten year goals set the day of graduation, and students that freak out because they have no clue as to what they’re going to do after graduation. I fell into the second category. I found the career that I love four months ago, but it took all of the other life experiences to teach me to appreciate what I have now. If I hadn’t experienced all of the other careers, I probably would not have landed where I am now. What I recommend is to take life as it comes. Understand that regardless of how many plans you make (or lack thereof), everything is going to be alright as long as you are willing to work hard, and accept defeat every once in a while. Have a goal, but don’t be disappointed if everything does not turn out exactly as you expected. Sometimes it is better that way! Don't settle for anything in life. Do something you love and are passionate about. Always strive to be better at what you do, and be a better version of yourself. I never thought that I would have so many different experiences to talk about, and guarantee I never thought I’d work for a car rental company! I ended up here because I didn’t settle for a JOB, I wanted a CAREER. It is important to understand that you can always get a job, but a career is something you build. You have to find the right company to do that with. Enterprise has turned out to be the best thing I could have asked for. It’s an amazing company to work for. The thing I like the most is the professionals that I am surrounded by! It’s just fun!

Lucas Sommer

Title/Employer: CEO & Founder of Audimated.com

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current job/employer.
I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and be involved in the music business. As an undergraduate I developed a recording studio and started writing songs for people and began charging them by the hour. Over time my "music business" evolved into what is now www.Audimated.com. Audimated is a social network which helps both artists and their fans make money with their independent music. This business is currently my passion and full time job.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance
Minor in Music Business and Entertainment Industries

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
When I was an undergraduate, The Launch Pad did not exist so there was not a support system in place to help students start a career in entrepreneurship. I started to use Toppel Career Center my sophomore year by attending career fairs and networking with employers.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
I think the career fairs were the most valuable resource. Each and every year I participated, I received chances to interview, internships and job offers. These summer and part time positions laid the foundation for the jobs that were available for me after graduation. In addition to the career fair, the resume critiquing was a big help. Don't expect to just Google how to write a resume, but rather let the experts at Toppel fine tune your message in order to get the most impact with potential employers.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career?
Start early. College is a special time where you get the freedom to explore your options, but if you don't pursue them or make any connections then you are wasting your chance. Don't wait until the pressure of getting a job (or starting your own!) starts to become overwhelming during your senior year. If you wait that long you will have fewer options, less experience and be less attractive to employers. The professionals at Toppel are there to help you and I would suggest taking advantage of that.

Nicki Marko

Title/Employer: Casting/Discovery Studios

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current job/employer.
During my freshman UMX class, Toppel came and gave a presentation on how to best prepare ourselves for our careers after college. I remember the presenter mentioning that most employers like to see at least 2-3 internships on a resume, so I immediately got to work. I interned at a TV production company in DC (Ventana Productions) the summer before my sophomore year, Discovery Communications the summer before my junior year, and then at Miami World Cinema Center during my senior year. During this time I also worked as a peer advisor at Toppel so I made sure I had a killer resume to show off all of my experience. Needless to say I was very disappointed when I was unable to find a job upon graduation, despite my preparation during undergraduate career. My disappointment was intensified as all of my fellow peer advisors had landed amazing, well paying jobs of their choosing. I spent the summer in Japan with my parents to try to decide my next move. I did have a few interviews via Skype but none seemed to work out. I returned to the states and started waitressing, while applying for what seemed like hundreds of jobs online during my free time. Almost six months had passed since graduation and I was still jobless, until one day a contact I had made through my internship at Discovery (2 years prior) called me about a position in casting for TLC. I interviewed on Monday, was offered the job on Tuesday, quit my waitressing job Friday and started that very next week. I am working in casting for TLC's season 3 of "Hoarding: Buried Alive". So, in the end it was thanks to the connections I made (and kept) during my internships that landed me my first job in the biz.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
Majored in Video/Film and Anthropology

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
I focused on landing internships in my field because at the end of the day it’s not what you know it’s who you know, especially in the TV/film industry. Or at least, that has been my experience. I also was a peer advisor, so I saw firsthand the importance of getting internships, interview and networking experience, and being proactive about job searching and career development.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
I think one of the most dreadful, yet a helpful experience is to participate in a mock interview. Especially if you have it recorded.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career?
I think being successful is a combination of being prepared but also being open to opportunities that you may not have planned for. I think one of the most important things I learned while working at Toppel is that every second is an opportunity to network. You never know who you will meet and what opportunity it may lead to.

Julie Rose Zamora

Graduate School/Program: Northwestern University, Doctorate of Physical Therapy

Tell us a little about yourself. What are your plans after graduation?
I just graduated from the University of Miami in May 2011. I have enrolled in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and will begin working toward my doctorate in Physical Therapy this coming fall.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
I was a Health Science major on the pre-Physical Therapy track with a minor in psychology.

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
I was required to attend workshops through the Miami Commitment program ever since freshman year, and this early exposure introduced me to the resources of Toppel very early. I attended the School of Nursing & Health Studies career fair, the pre-Health panel, resume-building and interviewing skills workshops, and any special events that had a healthcare focus. I also worked as an Academic Fellow during my junior year, and I hope my freshmen benefited from the academic resources that I suggested to them.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
It is very unique that a career center coordinates individual career fairs for each school or college on campus. Although Nursing & Health Studies is one of the smaller colleges, there were so many hospitals and care facilities represented at our fair and I really enjoyed speaking with the recruiters regarding possible paths that I can take following graduate school.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career?
Don’t be afraid when your interests change your path! College is the time to discover what intrigues you most, and it’s okay if those interests lead you to a major or even a school/college switch. I changed my major from journalism to health science during my freshman year, and with it changed colleges. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Always remember to make your life’s passion your life’s work.

Kristie Rupp

Title/Employer: Exercise Physiologist for Fit Kids of Arizona

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
I currently work as an Exercise Physiologist for the Fit Kids of Arizona, which is part of Northern Arizona Healthcare. Fit Kids of Arizona is a clinic where obese children are referred to by their physicians. I work one-on-one with patients and their families to develop an exercise program and educate them on the importance of being physically active. In addition, I work throughout the community visiting elementary and middle school classrooms to educate students about the importance of exercise and how it effects our bodies.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
I earned a Bachelor of Science in Education a Master of Science in Education in Exercise Physiology.

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
I originally started working at the Wellness Center as a fitness assistant and eventually became a fitness leader. In my junior year I gained experience at Miami Physical Therapy Associates and during the summers at the Healthy Start Summer Program at UM. As a graduate student, I worked as a kids personal trainer at Precision Personal Training. By experiencing a variety of jobs in my field, I found my passion was working with childhood obesity.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
I found the resume samples and critiques the most useful resource at Toppel. Also the guide to having a successful job interview was a great resource.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career
The best way to prepare for your career is to get your feet wet in the field as early as possible. It was my variety of work experience in the field that really helped me land my job. Also by experiencing different internships and jobs you will really start to get an idea of what kind of job you want within your field. What you learn in the classroom provides all the knowledge you will need for your field, but learning to apply it in the real world is what is most valuable. Make the most of your time at school and do all you can to give yourself the edge in today’s competitive job market!

Jean Felix LaCroix

Title/Employer: Staff Auditor / Crowe Horwath, LLP

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
I reside in Boca Raton, FL with my wife of 14 years and my three wonderful children. After graduating from UM in 2002, I moved to NY for three years for my wife to finish law school. I worked as a staff accountant. We then moved to Atlanta GA where I worked as an internal auditor and later as a pension analyst. While working, I completed additional accounting credits and passed the CPA exam. Last December, I joined one of the Top 10 accounting firms in the US, Crowe Horwath LLP, as a Staff Auditor and currently work in Fort Lauderdale.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
I majored at UM in International Finance and Marketing (IMF).

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
Last October while living in Atlanta, I attended the UM Accounting Fair where I met the Toppel Career Center Staff. The following week, I flew to Miami 4 times for 2 rounds of interviews. The staff was instrumental in effectively scheduling the interviews.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
The online application system was essential for effectively applying to multiple employers. I found the filters particularly important since I was searching strictly for accounting firms. Most of all, it was the people at the Toppel Career Center that made my being employed with Crowe Possible.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career
First thing I can advise students embarking on their careers, is first to think outside the box. Employers are looking for critical thinkers, leaders, and innovators, not robots. Second, be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done; hard work always pays off. Third, in every life altering decision, take the money variable out of the equation. Job Fit is priceless. Lastly, remember persistence beats resistance.

Carlos Enrique Guzman

Title/Employer: Regional Sales Manager - Central America, Citrix Systems

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
I was born in Bogota - Colombia, where I lived for 14 years. In 1999 my family decided to move to Weston Florida, where I attended High School. I graduated in 2003 and began my bachelors in International Relations, graduating in 2007. In 2008, I joined the MAIA program at the University of Miami and graduated in 2010. I was recruited through On-Campus Recruiting by Citrix right before receiving my degree.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and received a Master of Arts in International Administration (MAIA).

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
As graduation day approached, so did the anxiety about finding a job. I decided to leverage the Toppel Center to assist with critiquing my resume, attending the lectures on personal branding, and networking events such as Tuesdays with Toppel and On-Campus Recruiting. Less than two months after I had three offers from different recruiters.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
Mock interviewing - Resume Critiquing - Tuesdays with Toppel

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career
Attend as many job search training sessions as possible and select a recurring networking event such as Tuesdays with Toppel and attend consistently.

Matthew Friedmann

Title/Employer
Sr. Commodities Buyer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
After graduating from UM in May of 09, I began working for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. as an intern in the International Marketing department. Once my internship finished, I was hired full time as a financial analyst in the Revenue Management department, forecasting trends and demand patterns to maximize net ticket revenue yields and profitability as applied to cruise ship bookings. The strong analytical skills that I developed in my business classes at UM were paramount to my success in the RM department. In August of 2011 I was promoted to the position of Sr. Commodities Buyer within the Supply Chain Management department; buying all of the produce for all of the cruise ships in North America and the Caribbean. I chose this position because I wanted to learn a completely new set of skills and see a different side of the business. In the Revenue Management department I often worked closely with the marketing, sales, and deployment departments. In my current role I work closely with the hotel operations, culinary, and legal departments. As a commodity buyer, I am responsible for negotiating multi-million dollar contracts, performing analysis, and traveling on supplier sourcing meetings to the various departure ports.

Since I began working at Royal Caribbean, I have held several information sessions at the Toppel Career Center about Royal Caribbean and the Revenue Management Department. After these info sessions we have been able to hire a number of students from UM who have become great assets to our company. In an effort to hire more Canes, I have attended many career fairs at UM, including the one this past February. I have truly enjoyed my time at Royal Caribbean and believe that this is an excellent place to start a career for students coming out of college or graduate school.

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
I began my career development as a freshman at UM, attending career fairs to network and build a better understanding of the skills and character traits that different types of companies were seeking in candidates they were attempting to hire. Throughout college I was active in the peer counseling program, helping to mentor and develop young leaders within the School of Business.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
While in school I attended many events at the Toppel Career, such as the networking and etiquette dinners, resume critiques, mock interviews, and company info sessions. The on-campus interviews were very helpful, as well as Toppel’s career website (HireACane Account). The skills I learned at UM and at Toppel allowed me to obtain great internships during my college experience with Merrill Lynch and then with Goldman Sachs in New York.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career
It is important to get involved with networking events at UM and build relationships with companies from the time you begin your college or graduate school career. This will enable you to learn about different industries and help you decide where you may want to work when you graduate based on the corporate cultures of different organizations. It will also give you a better understanding of the skills you may need to further develop in order to work for these organizations. It is important to have an open mind when it comes to searching for jobs, keep a positive attitude, and do not get discouraged if you do not get your dream job at first.

Karen Shiers

Title/Employer
Merlin Entertainments Group

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
I graduated from the UM School of Business Administration in 2011 with a degree in Marketing. While at UM, I participated in the School of Business Peer Mentor/TA program, the Wakeboard club, and Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. I had an amazing four years during school, and at the time, could not imagine life after Miami. Fortunately, though, I got the job of my dreams, which is why I am here writing to you today, I actually found my current position through my HireACane account. I saw the posting and immediately knew that it was the job for me. Moments later an email appeared in my inbox from Toppel, and I found out that the company would be on campus. It was FATE! So, now, nearly one year later, I sit at my desk in Las Vegas, Nevada, typing this bio. I currently work for Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, as a guest experience manager. In a few weeks I will be on my way back to the Sunshine State, to start work at LEGOLAND Florida. So what exactly do I do? Well, I am a Merlin Entertainments Group Graduate. Merlin is an international company that owns attractions all over the world. From New York to London; Shanghai to Australia, we own and operate brands like Madame Tussauds, Legoland, Sea Life, and the London Eye. And we are only growing. As a graduate, I am on the "fast track" to running my very own attraction one day. So, for the next one and a half years it is my job to travel the country, maybe even the world, and spend 6 months at a time at these attractions, learning everything that I can while contributing to the growth and success of the business. After that, I apply to a permanent position at the location of my choice. It has been one heck of a ride so far, and it is only getting better!

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
I received a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Marketing and minors in Economics and Fine Arts.

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?

I started freshman year. I didn't want to waste any time, so I immediately got involved. I attended the fall Career Expo my freshman year. I was so intimated, but in the end, had great opportunity to give my networking skills a shot and speak with employers - something that I had never really done.

Next, I started to familiarize myself with Toppel and HireACane.com. I was always on the site browsing for positions and reviewing the provided resources. And when it came time to apply for my first ever internship, you better believe I took advantage of HireACane! I can still remember my first ever phone interview - sitting on the floor in the hallway of Walsh 6 (the quietest place that I managed to find). I then started seeking opportunities on campus to fill up my time as well as aid my in class learning. HireACane, again, was definitely a great resource for this. There were so many brand ambassador positions available. I mean, it makes sense, who would not want to have a presence on our lovely campus? I was able to secure a part time internship every single year, working for companies like Victoria's Secret, Green Monkey Yoga, and Procter and Gamble.

My senior year, I even got an internship with Pask Productions, an events company that put on events at Art Basel, the Sony Ericsson Open, and the Miami Beach Polo World Cup! My internships during the school year helped me to gain such valuable experience while also enabling me to interact with all of the students on campus. Furthermore, they taught me the crucial time management and work balance skills that continue to help me every day.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
The career fair immediately comes to mind. Like I said, I attended my first career fair during the fall of my freshman year. I remember attending as a senior and thinking back to that very first time- realizing how far I had truly come. It was crazy. I mean back then my resume was a list of activities that I took part of in high school. However, over time it grew into a diverse portfolio of experiences, skills, and activities - opportunities that I gained through my tenure at University of Miami.

Besides the fair, I would say the top three resources that Toppel provided me was HireACane website, the resume writing skills workshops, and company information sessions. First off, I was on HireACane at least once a day senior year. I used the thing more than Facebook- and that says a lot! But there was always something new popping up, and I surely did not want to miss it. I interviewed for a handful of jobs and my past two jobs actually were a direct result of applying through the site. Besides this, the info sessions were also amazingly helpful. I truly believe that the information session on Merlin Entertainments Group is the reason that I have my current job. With over 3000 applicants, the Merlin graduate program is extremely competitive. The information session was the perfect opportunity for me to make a name for myself early on, and put a face to my application and resume. I ended up meeting someone directly in HR at the session, and well, the rest is history.

Finally, I have the resume writing and critiquing workshops to thank for my resume. As a freshman, my resume consisted of a mash up of activities and interests from high school; it was disorganized and hard to read. The transformation over the years was remarkable.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career
Start as early as possible! In the words of Justin Bieber, "Never Say Never" always believe in yourself. Treat every application as it is "the one." It definitely becomes tough taking the time to fill out applications, especially when no response is received, but do not get yourself down about it! In the end, know that everything happens for a reason and everything falls into place. I have a wooden sign above my mirror that I look at every day- it reads; "Don't dream your life, Live your dreams." Take that and run with it.

Yi Tao

Title/Employer: Chinese Translation Coordinator, Miami HEAT

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
I work for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami HEAT as a Chinese Translation Coordinator. My responsibilities include managing the official Chinese website HEAT.com/CHINA, organizing media production and overseeing the online marketing for the Chinese market.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
I graduated with a Master of Arts in Public Relations from the School of Communication in May 2011.

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
I actually started planning my career as soon as I came to UM for my Master's degree. I began utilizing the Toppel Career Center to learn about career development and also attended many of the Launch Pad programs whenever possible to harness my entrepreneurial spirit. My internship with the Miami HEAT began during my second year of my program and after graduating, I was hired on as a full-time staff member.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
I took advantage of the variety of lectures and networking events available to me as a graduate student. Many of the programs events are useful at all stages of an internship and career search. The programs also addressed different types of needs a student may have. The Toppel Career Center was definitely beneficial for my career development and the cultivation of my personality.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career
When you want to achieve something, create solid plan and be brave!

Chase Hamann

Title/Employer: Business Development Analyst / City of Coral Gables

Tell us about yourself and your current job/employer.
I recently started working for the City of Coral Gables Economic Sustainability Department as a Business Development Analyst. This position is exciting and is a great fit for my interests and personal background. One day I'll be meeting with international diplomats and prominent business leaders, and the next day I'll be helping locally with Coral Gables Gallery Night or attending ribbon cuttings to welcome businesses to our city. It is a fun, rewarding job with a lot of unique tasks. I started at UM in 2006. I loved the international environment and the amazing facilities from the start. I eventually decided to study abroad in the Spring of 2009 in Granada, Spain for a semester. I graduated in December of 2009 as an honors student. After, I chose that continuing education would be the right path, I packed up and moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a master’s degree. This helped me acquire a very strong level of French and a strong understanding of different cultures. I also had an internship experience in strategic business planning in Liechtenstein. After graduating with my master’s degree, I immediately started my current job with the City of Coral Gables. It's funny to think that I went overseas to then return to back to Coral Gables for my first position.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
While at UM I double majored in Public Relations and Spanish and earned a minor in Marketing. I then received a master’s degree from the University of Geneva in International Relations and Political Science, which I did primarily in French. I graduated Summa Cum Laude in both my bachelor and master programs.

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
While I was at UM, I started early on trying to form relationships with some of my favorite professors. I would speak with them and ask their advice on various topics, and this proved very useful. I was recommended for activities such as being an Orientation Advisor, a peer mentor for School of Communication underclassmen, and a peer mentor for study abroad students at UM. I was never certain that something beneficial would come from these activities, but it did. I formed a great relationship with great professors, especially my thesis advisor in the School of Communication. The career advice I received from this professor was invaluable, and it is the reason I am where I currently am today.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
I attended the Toppel Career Fair my junior and senior years, and I ended up having a few interviews as a result. While I ultimately chose to pursue graduate school, this was great practice for interviews later down the road. I also attended the resume and cover letter writing workshops and used walk-in advising to have my documents critiqued. Another useful resource was using the HireACane account to get ideas of positions that appealed to me. Utilizing HireACane was a great way to start identifying relevant positions that I found interesting. I would recommend to students to begin their search earlier rather than later!

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career
One of my professors at UM once told me that the best plumber will be successful. While I didn't especially want to be a plumber, I understood the message: If you do what you love and become an expert at it, you will find success.

Elizabeth Tauben

Elizabeth TaubenTitle/Employer Management Trainee at Norwegian Cruise Line

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current job/employer.
I am from St. Louis, MO, where I lived until I began my undergraduate career at the University of Miami in 2008. While studying at U.M., I was a cheerleader for one year, and was also able to study abroad three times – two semesters in London and Milan, and a Winter Break Student Ambassador trip to Abruzzo, Italy. After graduating, I went on to graduate business school in a unique three continent program, where I spent one year studying international business all over the world. I then returned to Miami to seek employment, where Norwegian Cruise Line hired me as a Management Trainee. For the next year, I will work in every major department of the company for six-week rotations, as well as six weeks of training on a cruise ship. At the end of the program, I will be placed in a position in one of the departments that I enjoyed working in the most.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school? 
Major at UM for my Bachelor's: International Studies Minors: Spanish, Italian and Political Science Master's Degree from Fordham University Graduate School of Business Administration, Antwerp Management School in Belgium and Xavier Institute of Management in Bhubaneswar India called Three Continent Master of Global Management

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
As I completed my master’s degree at Fordham, I decided I would prefer to move back to Miami rather than stay in New York.  I put a lot of effort into utilizing the connections available to me as a University of Miami graduate.  Shortly before returning to Miami in August, I started applying to jobs primarily through HireACane.  I also attended Tuesday With Toppel networking events and the Fall Career Expo. I found all of these resources very helpful in finding a job and received various interviews and three job offers, all through Toppel Career Center activities and job postings.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful? (if applicable)
I found HireACane very useful, and found my current job on their job posting list. However, I believe the most helpful resources were networking events where students/alumni could meet employers face to face.  After attending Tuesdays with Toppel events, I consistently made connections with employers.  The Fall Career Expo was also enormously helpful, and I was able to collect various business cards, company brochures, scheduled interviews, and ultimately received job offers from companies we met there.  The company information sessions were also really interesting for me.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career? 
I never had success finding a good job until I made career searching a top priority of mine, almost as if it was my job.  I also have found that it is much easier to advance in the application and interview process if you are permanently stationed in the city where you are applying for jobs. In my experience, many employers were apprehensive to interview candidates from out of the state for entry-level positions.

Andrew J. Gladstone Donaldson (referred as A.J.)

Andrew J. Gladstone Donaldson

Title/Employer:
President & CEO of United Mentors, LLC

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current job/employer:
I graduated from the University of Miami with a dual Engineering degree while participating on our proud Division I football team as a linebacker turned bone-crushing fullback. I came into U.M. as a well-rounded student-athlete. Classically trained in piano from the age of 3; an aspiring jazz saxophonist; Excelled in sports like football, track, etc.; Not to mention participating in enough community services to which my transcript is as long and wide as my current 6 foot 225 pound frame. Before I completed my degree, it became very clear I would NOT use it on my career path. As crazy as not utilizing a well over $100,000 degree was, it is more moving the reason why; my story. I have dedicated the rest of my life to making sure children do not feel the level of neglect I did as a transitioning freshman. Our company mission is to develop complete, result-based solutions to support the needs of children in any community.         

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
Audio-Electrical Engineer

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
The tremendous growth of my company (higher demand than supply) caused for us to need a source for recruiting part-time tutors and interns. What better place than my home, The U!

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful? Currently HireACane.com but we’ve yet to take full advantage to ALL the resources at our disposal. That will change VERY SOON.   

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career?  
Don’t let ANYONE put you in a box! With where the economy is today, being an entrepreneur is the only real “job security” that exists. The employee quadrant should be a means to an end; not THE END!

 
Toppel Career Center
 
Physical Address:
5225 Ponce De Leon Blvd.
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Phone: 305-284-5451
Fax: 305-284-3668
Mailing Address:
PO Box 249175
Coral Gables, FL 33124-5610