Our alumni have tucked a wealth of wisdom into the stories written about them over the years. With Commencement on May 11 approaching faster than can be believed, we mined some nuggets of advice from our archives that may apply to anyone, but especially to the Class of 2019 as they prepare to graduate and put their education into action.

Lisa Hogarty ’81

How to Start a New Job & Build Trust

Theater major Lisa Hogarty ’81 is senior vice president of real estate planning and development at Boston Children’s Hospital. With her experience as a Broadway stage manager and high positions at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Mount Sinai Hospital, Columbia University and Columbia University Medical Center, Harvard University and Dartmouth College, she knows a thing or two about entering a new workplace. Here’s her tactic:

“When I start a new position, I just walk around and listen. I don’t say a word, because who am I? I’m coming into their place, their family, so for the first year, I spend a lot of time walking around with my team. I ask them to tell me about things. They have to be able to trust that I’m going to be able to help them, and vice versa. And so I sit with our clients, whether it’s the clinicians, the nurses or the engineers who have to make the building work. I try to know the place as much as I can so that when I do have an idea or say, ‘No, we’re not going to do it that way,’ there is understanding and trust in place. You have to take time to do that. If I don’t open my mouth, it’s for a good reason. I never want to have people react like, ‘How dare she come into our place and tell us what to do?’ That’s the worst feeling, although nothing turns people off faster than hearing, ‘This is how we did it at my old place …’ You’re just not going to get anything done if you turn people off that way. It’s so basic, but egos get in the way. Just be quiet and listen.”

Read more at colby-sawyer.edu/stories/world-stage.

Aaron Fan Feng ’14

Do Your Best & Never Give Up

Graphic designer Aaron Fan Feng ’14 overcame familial and cultural expectations to pursue a career in graphic design instead of business.

“Colby-Sawyer was the turning point of my life. I realized who I really am and what I really should be. I found the real me at Colby-Sawyer,” Feng said. “You never know what you’re going to do in your life until you explore all the options. This is one of the benefits of a liberal arts education: It’s full of surprises, and you only understand it when you get to experience it. But it’s important to do your best and never give up. Eventually, there’ll be something that’ll match with you.”

Read about his first job in Manhattan at colby-sawyer.edu/stories/dream-big.

David Rosso ’10

Be Ready & Talk to Everyone

David Rosso ’10 is vice president of Wholesale Compliance at Wells Fargo. Ask him what his Colby-Sawyer education means to him, and he has a simple answer: “It means everything.”

“Every professor knew my name and wanted me to succeed. If I needed extra help, they’d welcome me into their offices any time,” he said. “I wasn’t just a number. I formed all these relationships with professors and students; we were so interactive, and that built the foundation of how I interact with people, how I got this opportunity. I can definitely thank Colby-Sawyer for my business foundation. I learned you never know who you’re going to meet, so always be ready to present yourself in a professional manner. Shake people’s hands, look them in the eyes, have your elevator speech ready. That’s how I fell into the banking world.”

Read about Rosso’s previous experience as an assistant vice president with Credit Suisse’s Finance Busi­ness and Project Management Group at colby-sawyer.edu/stories/solid-foundations.

Meghan Andersen ’03

Trust Your Gut & Speak Up

Studio art major Meghan Andersen ’03 is creative director at The Boston Beer Company, parent company of Sam Adams, Twisted Tea and Angry Orchard brands. Reaching her ultimate professional dream, she said, was “a very cool progression.”

A long time ago, she learned how to use fear to her advantage. “Honestly, the fear fuels me,” she said. “People undervalue what they’re able to do. The fear of failing makes you work so much harder that you’re almost destined to succeed.”

The key to her move into leadership? Having huge opinions and trusting her gut. “It’s worked out, luckily,” she said. “I feel like that’s my upbringing and my education.”

Read more at colby-sawyer.edu/stories/finding-her-passion.

Peter Sula ’03

Meet People & Follow Up

Sport management major Peter Sula ’03 is the general manager at Boston’s Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel. He was catapulted from a career in sports sales to hospitality by the rare act of actually following up on a chance encounter.

After graduation, he met an early goal of working in the NBA, but after two years in group sales with the Atlanta Hawks, he wanted to get back to New England. He sold a package to the Hyatt in Atlanta for a manager’s outing and met the hotel’s general manager, who was a fan of Dominic Wilkins. “I was able to introduce him to Wilkins and this 70-year-old, who runs one of the largest hotels in the country, basically turned into a kid,” Sula said. “He got very excited and said, ‘If you ever need anything, please let me know. This is the best day of my life.’”

A few days later, Sula took him up on the offer with a phone call. He explained he wanted to move back to Boston and inquired about what kind of position there might be in a hotel that matched his skillset. “An hour after we talked, both Hyatt hotels in Boston called,” Sula said. “They flew me up the next day, took me out to a Red Sox game, and wined and dined me. So I just kind of fell into the industry. It’s really about who you know and who you meet. Just get out there and meet as many people as you can. You never know where your career is going to go.”

Read about Sula’s previous experience as general manager of Battery Wharf Hotel at colby-sawyer.edu/stories/top-charger.

Ethan Casson ’96

Be Bold & Never Forget Your Roots

Today, Ethan Casson ’96 is the CEO of the Minnesota Timberwolves, but to break into the industry, he had to have the gumption to cold call every single NBA team.

“More than 20 years ago, it began with a question: Do I have what it takes to work in professional sports? It manifested itself in the classroom, the library, during summer internships, and amongst my friends and teammates. So more than ever, I have nostalgia for Colby-Sawyer,” Casson said. “I take a great deal of pride in where I went to school, and if I can contribute to the education of students who have a dream and put their plans in place — if I can participate indirectly, directly, financially, with a call, with an internship, whatever it might be, I want to be involved in that. None of us should forget or take for granted where our journeys began.”

Read more about Casson’s journey and previous experience as chief revenue officer at the San Francisco 49ers at colby-sawyer.edu/stories/where-it-began.