Alumni Council Career and Employment Services Committee

The Alumni Council Career and Employment Services Committee (CESC) fosters a culture in which alumni are readily available to assist current students with career issues, supplementing and complementing the CES Office with resources to support students as they align with and compete for opportunities leading to satisfying professional lives.

Connect with CESC members, and hundreds of other Loggers—join Puget Sound's ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) Network group on LinkedIn.

Meet the CESC

Chair
Joe Kurtis '87: Russell Investments | Director, Partner Services

Committee Members
Steven Aliment '79: Boeing | Director of Engine Management
Erin Carlson '04: Peace Corps
Taylor Cassell '13: POSSIBLE | Associate Project Manager
Ray Conner '88: Microsoft | Director, Sales Excellence—US SMS&P
Andrea Davis '02: Coordinated Care Health Plan | Director of Government Relations & External Affairs
Meghann Edwards '07: Russell Investments | Talent Acquisition Partner
Jessica Isaacs '05: Correct Care Solutions | Registered Nurse 
Eric Kenji Lee '15: Allen Institute for Brain Science | Research Associate I
Renee Meschi '15: Pierce Conservation District | Program Specialist
Thomas Moore '84: Amazon | Sr. Software Development Manager
Margaret Nordstrom '02: Swedish Medical Center | Quality Consultant
Thang Nguyen '13: Northwestern Mutual | Financial Advisor
Brooke Rapf '02: Nike | Sr. Footwear Developer
Betsy Stone '79: Independent | Consultant, Strategy and Marketing Capability Development
Kato Wade '04: Ascent Private Capital Management of U.S. Bank | Director, Client Experience

Former Members


Joe Kurtis '87: Russell Investments | Director, Partner Services
Puget Sound: Business Administration/Accounting major
Graduate Institution: Fielding Graduate University

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?

JK: Executive leader associated with Russell Investments' $38 billion U.S. retail mutual fund business. Responsible for retail distribution strategy and broker-dealer governance. Accountable for retail asset management contract negotiations and administration, mutual fund and corporate board reporting, due diligence reporting to securities analysts, business development, and a bunch of black ops stuff that I can't talk about.

CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?

JK: During my freshman and sophomore years in college, I commercially fished in the Gulf of Alaska. For a short time, I was on one of the boats from the Deadliest Catch. I learned a great deal about team work under pressure and what it means to work hard. We would often fish for 36 hours straight in rough seas and I learned a lot about physical and mental resilience. And, I learned that I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life. One of the boats I was on went to the bottom two seasons after I left. I worked at Nordstrom for the rest of college. It was much drier and I didn't smell like diesel and fish.

CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?

JK: The best piece of advice I received early on was "be nice to everyone, you never know who your next boss is going to be." That advice was all about humility and a willingness to learn which are invaluable traits early in your career. Working well with others is often the key to success.

CES: What advice do you have for students as they consider their future?

JK: I would think about what you are passionate about and explore career paths in that area. Your career will be a big part of your life for a long time and you should do something that you love. Take time to meet people who have careers in areas that interested you. ASK Night is a perfect place to learn about career paths and to discover options that you may not have considered. The alumni are out there to help you—take the time to have some conversations so that you can build the career and life you want. 

CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"

JK: I wanted to be happy. So far, its worked out pretty well.


Steven Aliment '79: Boeing | Director of Engine Management
Puget Sound: Business/Marketing major; English Lit minor
Graduate Institution: Harvard Business School

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?

SA: Engine Supply Chain, Negotiation, Dispute Resolution

CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?

SA: Marketing at Boeing Aerospace. This and other experiences got me on the track to Airplane Salesman.

CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?

SA: Show up early. Stay late. Have a vivid picture of what you want to happen in your mind and align all your preparation and activities toward manifesting it. You need to want it more than the other guy.

CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?

SA: Work on communication skills. Dress the part. Fake it until you make it.

CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"

SA: Veterinarian. Later, when I was 19 or so, Advertising copywriter.


Erin Carlson '04: Peace Corps
Puget Sound: Psychology major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"

 

 

 


 Taylor Cassell '13: POSSIBLE | Associate Project Manager
Puget Sound: Business major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"

 

 

 


Ray Conner '88: Microsoft | Director, Sales Excellence—US SMS&P
Puget Sound: Foreign Language/International Affairs major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"


Andrea Davis '02: Coordinated Care Health Plan | Director of Government Relations & External Affairs
Puget Sound: Politics & Government major

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?

AD: Oversee all public policy and regulatory analysis for my company—reviewing all legislation and regulation, providing feedback to government entities, and keeping our Executive Team updated with legislative and government relations issues.

Maintain and build relationships with local, state, and federal elected officials as well as external, community partners.

Develop and execute business development and communication strategies on behalf of my company.

CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?

AD: The summer between my junior and senior year of college I interned in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill as a Congressional intern, and had the time of my life. It was during this experience that I realized I wanted to pursue a career in public policy. Until then, I had never considered that career.

CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?

AD: Listen first, speak last. It is always tempting to be the first to raise your hand in a meeting, especially since that is what is encouraged (and rewarded) in the college classroom. However, in the business setting it is not always best to be the first person to voice your opinion. In fact, I have found it is more useful to listen to others first, as it can help inform and shape your opinion. Especially when you are early in your career, eagerness to vocalize your opinion can be perceived negatively. I am not suggesting to stay quiet, but understand that sometimes listening first is a great way to gauge the meeting and learn from others.

CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?

AD: Be willing to do an internship or two, even unpaid, to test out whether you enjoy the career field. It is also a great opportunity to build a network of professional contacts who can help you find a job post-college.

CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"

AD: I wanted to be a culinary chef when I was little. Who knows...I might still try that career out later in life.  :)


Meghann Edwards '07: Russell Investments | Talent Acquisition Partner
Puget Sound: Business major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"

 

 

 


Jessica Isaacs '05: Correct Care Solutions | Registered Nurse 
Puget Sound: Natural Science/Physics major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"


Eric Kenji Lee '15: Allen Institute for Brain Science | Research Associate I
Puget Sound: Mathematics major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"

 

 

 


Renee Meschi '15: Pierce Conservation District | Program Specialist
Puget Sound: Science, Technology, and Society major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"


Thomas Moore '84: Amazon | Sr. Software Development Manager
Puget Sound: Computer Information Systems major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"

 

 

 


Margaret Nordstrom '02: Swedish Medical Center | Quality Consultant
Puget Sound: Psychology major
Graduate Institution: The George Washington University

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?

MN: I serve as a system resource who collaborates with Swedish teams, departments, enterprises, and institutes to help clarify goals, analyze information, navigate resources, and identify opportunities to improve and sustain quality. I help align quality work with organizational goals, support a shared language around quality and connect groups to improve quality and safety across the Swedish system. I work to empower Swedish caregivers to deliver high quality care for our patients.

CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?

MN: One of my first jobs in high school/college was a sales representative at the Gap. I learned all about customer service and developed skills that helped me when directly interfacing with customers: clear verbal communication, rapport building, listening, flexibility, questioning, attention to details, and patience. I still call on these same skills today as a consultant when I'm working with new groups.

CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?

MN: It's not about a career ladder, it's about a career lattice.

CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?

MN: For students interested in pursuing healthcare administration, I would suggest getting some exposure to or experience with the direct delivery of care to patients. Whether it's working or volunteering in a small clinic or lager hospital system, it's key to get an understanding of the various processes involved with healthcare delivery. It would also be useful to gain some exposure or understanding of the different domains of hospital administration and begin to build skills in each area while starting to identify your own favorites. These are areas such as leadership, government affairs, data analysis, data visualization, informatics, operations, quality improvement, safety, accreditation, change management, business development, program or project management, etc.  

CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"

MN: Park Ranger in a National Park.


Thang Nguyen '13: Northwestern Mutual | Financial Advisor
Puget Sound: Mathematics major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"


Brooke Rapf '02: Nike | Senior Footwear Developer
Puget Sound: Foreign Language/International Affairs major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"


Betsy Stone '79: Independent | Consultant, Strategy and Marketing Capability Development
Puget Sound: Interdisciplinary Studies major
Graduate Institution:

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?
CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?
CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?
CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?
CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"


Kato Wade '04: Ascent Private Capital Management of U.S. Bank | Director, Client Experience
Puget Sound: Psychology major
Graduate Institution: University of Washington, Foster School of Business

CES: What are the top duties and responsibilities in your current role?

KW: 1) Serve and delight existing client families in the Pacific Northwest
2) Grow our brand, clientele, and connections throughout my spheres of influence
3) Support my team and all operational aspects of our business

CES: What was an early job or experience that shaped your career development?

KW: I had many manual labor jobs in high school, the hardest of which was in a factory. It reminded me how lucky I was to have an opportunity to go to college and that I should never take my good fortune for granted, as many people have it much harder than I do.

CES: What is the best piece of advice you received early in your career?

KW: Treat everyone, be it a mail-room worker, CEO, or laborer with the utmost respect and dignity, because for all you know, that person could be your manager some time in the future, or hold significant influence over your success on a given venture.

CES: What advice do you have for students hoping to break into your career field?

KW: Be willing to start at the bottom. Work harder than everyone around you. Continue to learn and improve with every role.

CES: When you were a kid, what did you want to do or be "when you grew up?"

KW: For many years, my original career aspiration was to become a clinical psychologist. I went to UPS to begin this academic pursuit, but my extracurricular experiences led me to the business world.


Former CES Committee Members:
Ben Bradley '08
Arthur Campbell '50
Lael Carlson '02
Steven Harvey '84
Shannon Hughes '92 (Chair)
Wes Jordan '74
Ted Meriam '05
Pauline Seng '84
Callie (Snyder) Bruhn '08
Lacey (Leffler) Wright '03
Matt Yarkosky '03, '05

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