Where are they now? Marianne (Brigola) Gissane | 2011-2012

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By: Ross Wade, Director of Career Development

This academic year we’ll be checking in with some of our past Career Advising Fellows (CAFs) to find out where they are now, how they are doing, and any advice they have for current and prospective CAFs. Check out our brief Q&A with Marianne below.

What are you doing now? Where? 

I’m the Talent Acquisition Specialist for the Global Talent Acquisition Team at Patheon, in the Research Triangle Park (Durham, NC). I work with the executive recruiting team for a contract pharmaceutical manufacturing company that has over 8,000 employees across 25 international sites. I manage the candidate experience for senior and executive level candidates interviewing for positions at our sites (this means everything from coordinating interviews, travel logistics and managing day-of execution of the meetings). Additionally, I’m newly in charge of reporting for our team, which includes everything from requisition requests for new positions to global talent metrics for the CEO and Executive Board. I also have additional projects including developing a university relations strategy and executive on-boarding.

What led you to your current position? Discuss your career path post the SPDC Career Advising Fellowship.

The summer after my Fellowship, I worked with the Elon in LA Program / Bridges in LA Program as a program coordinator and internship supervisor. Following that, I spent a year at the University of Virginia as a Career Advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences, and then returned to Elon as the Assistant Director of Career Services for the School of Communications. The students and faculty were amazing (of course!) I had the opportunity to get involved in so many things including conference presentations, ELP classes and employer relations.

However at that point, I had about 4-5 years of post-grad experience only in higher education and I was itching to do something different. I wanted some experience in corporate organizations and recruiting. An advertising agency in Durham had an opening for a Talent Coordinator. The position was working with their recruiter and managing their 3 internship programs. It seemed like a great opportunity that would allow me to still be involved with college students, but also gain experience on the recruiting side and help me build additional skills. I applied and landed the job at the ad agency. My experience in the School of Communications had given me knowledge of advertising and my experiences as a Fellow and with the Elon in LA programs had helped me gain experience in building programs and internships. I was at the agency for almost a year when they went through some downsizing (ah corporate!) which led my to current role at Patheon.

How did your time as a Career Advising Fellow impact your professional life?

I don’t think I’d be where I’m at if it wasn’t for the Career Advising Fellowship. In addition to experience in career advising, I learned so much, so quickly. Time management, public speaking, program development and coordination – I pull on all of those skills on a daily basis. The ability to juggle multiple hats and projects in particular is one that I’ve taken with me from role to role.

The Fellowship gave me such a strong foundation for my career within career advising. I had far more experience than other candidates who had just completed a traditional internship – in addition to meeting with students, I developed & taught classes and programs, worked with student organizations, collaborated with faculty etc. – I felt confident in my abilities as a career advisor.

Even now, a little over a year out of higher ed, it’s been reassuring that so many of the things I shared with students about professional development (resume formatting, the importance of LinkedIn, etc.) definitely speak true for recruiting from the employer’s perspective, whether it’s at the internship level or executive level.

What is one thing you know now, you wish you had known during your time as a Career Advising Fellow?

Appreciate how invested and open faculty members are to collaborating w/ Career Services! When I left Elon, I was struck by how difficult it was to engage faculty in career development for their students – some didn’t want to give up class time, others didn’t think it was relevant for students at that stage of their academic career.

At times it may feel overwhelming (particularly when you started with an 8AM appointment and now you’re running to a 6:30 presentation) but it’s worth it. You’ll be working hard throughout the year and honestly, everything afterwards will seem like a cakewalk compared to your 10 months at Elon. At the end of your Fellowship, you’ve have learned more in those 10 months than you would have thought possible.

Also, College Coffee typically only has half and half – if you’re like me and prefer your coffee  w/ milk, be sure to bring your own 🙂


What emoticon would you use to summarize your time with the SPDC as a fellow?

As a Fellow, you’re constantly on the go – from one appointment to a classroom to another academic building to a student org meeting… plus, those 10 months fly by!

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Author: rwade2

Director of Career Development at Elon University

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