By Elizabeth Thompson ’21

Gateway Career Center recently hosted a fashion and beauty event for students interested in learning about careers in those industries.

Alumni returned to campus to participate in a panel talk followed by a networking reception in Oechsle Global Education Center. The fashion and beauty professionals covered topics including marketing, pricing, branding, product management, research/development, and styling. Co-sponsors of the event were the Dyer Center, Lafayette Fashion Society, CEO, International Students Association, and Grossman House. 

students and staff gather to listen to alumni in the fashion and beauty industries speak about their careers

Jenna Firshein ’08, Elizabeth Rentschler ’13, Clarissa Lerch Louw ’94 (left to right) participated in the panel.

Here are insights from each of the panelists:

“The Lafayette Alumni Network is such a generous and amazing opportunity, because a lot of schools don’t have such a strong network. I always take the call and make the time when students reach out to me through the Career Center, because of how unique our network is, and I want to give back what was once given to me.” Jenna Firshein ’08 (comparative religion), price operations manager, Macy’s

“What I studied in college is not related to what I do now, but the important part is that I got an education at Lafayette. My advice is to take classes, apply yourself, and learn all sorts of things, regardless if they apply to your major or future career or not, because what you are truly learning is life lessons and how to deal with people, which is what is most important. Now is the time you can pivot without consequence; you can try out different majors, different clubs. There is nothing stopping you from trying different things, so challenge yourself in any and every way you can and take advantage of everything that Lafayette has to offer because it has a lot.” –Amy Friedland Fisher ’90 (government/law and Spanish), chief marketing officer, Stila Cosmetics

“My English/French liberal arts degree from Lafayette empowered me with the ability to multi-task and juggle so many different skills at once. My career as an in independent cabi stylist allows me to use my strength in multi-tasking by helping women bring out their true personalities through clothing.” –Clarissa Lerch Louw ’94 (English/French), independent cabi fashion stylist; owner and educator, The Meandering Monarch    

students and staff gather to listen to alumni in the fashion and beauty industries speak about their careers

Amy Friedland Fisher ’90 (left) and Aleni Mackarey ’16 (right) spoke about their careers.

“Two pieces of advice I’d offer to students would be: Say yes to side hustles! Every opportunity provides you with experience for your next job interview, your next job, your next candid conversation, or an opportunity to help someone else. Instead of finding the dream job right away, try everything … you never know what you’ll love! Secondly, challenge yourself to try some form of theater while at Lafayette. Try public speaking, College Theater, open mic—any form of presentation-based activity that forces you to be the best version of yourself, which I have found is the secret to being in the workplace.” —Aleni Mackarey ’16 (English and theater), chief operating officer, Base Beauty Creative Agency; executive producer, Where Brains Meet Beauty podcast

“You have to be fearless when it comes to reaching out to Lafayette alumni, because you never know what is going to lead where. Get your foot in the door, and the rest will follow. It’s also completely OK not to know what you want to do right now. Test out the waters, and see where the journey takes you.”Katie Martinides ’18 (economics and international affairs), allocation assistant, Macy’s

“You will fail at some point. Self-reflection is critical during those failures because those moments are your biggest opportunities for growth. Pick yourself back up, look at what you could do differently or better, and keep going. Keep trying because if it doesn’t work out the first time, or the second, or the third, you’ll still be learning. Don’t give up and remain persistent—that is what Lafayette taught me.”–Elizabeth Rentschler ’13 (biology), director of global marketing and product development, Bastide

“My Lafayette education gave me curiosity, and curiosity is 90% of what your job will be. My curiosity is what has made me more successful than people who had really specific majors at big universities. My curiosity allowed me to network the hell out of Lafayette alumni and broaden my horizons, which is what got me where I am today. Be so shameless in your networking, make the time to network, because Lafayette is such a small community that people truly want to and will return the favor by networking back.” –Abigail Donohoe ’04 (art), product manager, Gap Inc. (appeared virtually)

Categorized in: Alumni, Alumni Success Stories, Careers, Featured News, News and Features