The College of Charleston Office of Media Relations has been interviewing our alumni who have envious jobs that we all want! This series is called “I Want Your Job” and is a short Q&A to see what these alumni are up to, and how the College of Charleston has influenced their careers.
Here is a recent entry, but make sure you visit the archives to see many more of our alumni in exciting and enviable jobs.
republished with permission from College of Charleston Office of Media Relations
Lucy Lesniak ’10 followed her instincts from Lancashire, England to the College of Charleston, then New York, N.Y. and finally, for now, to Bangkok, Thailand.
She trusted those instincts when she decided to double major in business administration and hospitality and tourism management instead of studio art as she’d planned, and when she decided to join the Schottland Scholar Program while also working full-time during her senior year at the College.
Now, after moving up the ranks through four positions at fine jewelry designer David Yurman, Lesniak’s instincts have led her to become senior manager of operations at the new David Yurman corporate location in Bangkok.
Lesniak welcomes current students to reach out to her for advice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with a message to be forwarded.
Q: What do you do as senior manager of operations?
A: I work in the back-end of the company, on the corporate side. Basically my job begins after the design team, headed by David, Sybil and Evan Yurman, come up with designs for a new collection. Then the design goes to the engineering, project development and procurement teams, which will turn the design into something that can be manufactured. The engineers will develop components like clasps and hinges while the procurement team will buy the diamonds and gemstones, everything that goes into making jewelry. I oversee the office operations supporting that process in Thailand. As this is a new office, though, I’ve been doing everything from recruiting, interviewing and hiring for the office to managing the office construction, building a benefits package comparable to those of other Thai businesses, establishing relationships with payroll, accounting, banking, customs, and legal firms, leasing a company car, building and managing the budget, ensuring invoices and office rent gets paid, training employees and attending to their needs. Each day is vastly different from the last.
Q: What is it like doing all those things in a country with a language barrier?
A: The culture and language barrier make day-to-day processes quite challenging here. For instance, Thailand is exceptionally document intensive, so something that might take half an hour in the U.S., like preparing social security paperwork for a new employee, will take three hours here because of all the documents required. Establishing the office here is similar to what I imagine starting a business would be like. There is no typical day, I’m often working until 11 p.m. or later. There are a lot of responsibilities and while there are challenges, I love it here. I can imagine spending the next few years here in Southeast Asia.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The opportunity to travel. Being in Thailand is amazing, and David Yurman has offices in Hong Kong, New York and Switzerland; next month I’ll head to Hong Kong. I think the travel part is pretty awesome, but I also love being a part of a family-run company that’s based on design. David Yurman is a sculptor by training and his wife, Sybil, is an artist, so we always say our job is to make their designs come to life. It’s always interesting.
Q: How did you get started at David Yurman?
A: I moved to New York in fall of 2011 and applied for a receptionist position at David Yurman. I had worked at Louis Vuitton in Charleston, and had gone from a sales associate to accessories specialist and then customer relationship management specialist, so I was hesitant to take a job as a receptionist after that. I did decide to take the job, and about six months later I was promoted to executive assistant, and then a year after that I became a product development and procurement project manager. All in all I’ve been with the company for almost three years, and here in Thailand for a little over a month.
Q: How did you hear about the receptionist position and what was the interview process like?
A: A friend of mine in New York put me in touch with a recruiter. The best way to find jobs in New York is via recruiters, there are good ones and bad ones and I was fortunate enough to work with a good one. The recruiter encouraged me to interview for the receptionist position, despite my hesitance. The interview process was very simple: I went in for a standard interview and was offered the job very quickly thereafter.
Q: What does the next year hold in store for you?
A: I signed a two-year contract here, so I’ll be in Thailand for two more years. I look forward to growing with the role – by the end of this year we’ll have 12 employees in the office and by the end of next year we’ll have 20, so growing my role with the office will be tremendous for me. I imagine the role and scope will change a lot between now and the end of 2015.
Q: How did your time at the College help you prepare for your positions at David Yurman?
A: My concentration in business administration was leadership, change and social responsibility; I believe that helped enable me to assume a leadership role, take initiative and advance quite quickly in my career thus far. In addition, being a double major, working part- and then full-time for Louis Vuitton and becoming a Schottland Scholar forced me to become very organized and learn to manage my time effectively. The Schottland Scholar program also gave me great hands-on experience. I felt like it provided real-life insight into the world of business by allowing us to speak with people who are in the field. It’s very different than being in a classroom. Finally, participating in a liberal arts school where the curricula are very broad helped me to be able to handle diverse tasks.
Q: What advice would you give to current students interested in working for an international brand, or in a foreign country?
A: I took a lot of big risks. For example, I decided on a Tuesday that I wanted to move to New York, packed my belongings on Wednesday and drove to the City on Thursday. In December last year, David Yurman asked if I would move to Thailand, when I said yes they gave me a month to pack up my life and move. Of course setting goals for yourself is immensely important, but I think it’s just as vital to be flexible with your planning and goals – have an outline for where you want to be and what you want your life to look like, but be open minded. Then, you will be able to take opportunities that present themselves. For those interested in international business, I absolutely recommend studying abroad. David Yurman knew I was from England but had gone to school in the States and moved to New York, so they knew I had international experience. I think that made them feel more at ease sending me to Thailand. If you’re interested in working abroad after college, consider doing an extended study abroad, or see if you can get an international summer job. Your company will feel more confident in your ability to adapt and to not feel culture shock knowing you have that experience.
This month, Clyde chatted with John and Melinda Ladyzinski, parents of Max class of 2016, about their Top Ten list of favorite CofC and Charleston activities and moments.
Here is John and Melinda’s top ten list of Charleston favorites:
- Charleston is just two hours away by plane so Max can come home and we can visit a lot!
- The guidance Max gets from his advisor, and his professors [who] are so available and know his name.
- CVS is open 24 hours and provides anything a college student could want.
- CofC has such a beautiful, historic campus in the middle of one of the most enchanting cities in the country.
- Our son has made good friends that will last a lifetime, and he always has something to do and somewhere to go.
- CofC offers so many opportunities for students to engage in campus life away from the classroom – work, philanthropy, student government, clubs, sports, and the list goes on….
- Charleston is a vibrant, growing city that offers valuable internship opportunities and real world experiences for CofC students and great restaurants for us!
- We love our favorite spots on campus – Cistern Yard, the library, Starbucks, the student center, and King Street.
- The weather.
- We love the people and energy at CofC most of all. Everyone is welcoming, helpful, and devoted to the students. We are very proud of the decision our family made to be a part of this great school.
Focus on Faculty
When College of Charleston moved to the Colonial Athletic Association in 2013, it also meant we became part of the Colonial Academic Alliance, which offers vast opportunities for our students and campus. Our undergraduates have always had great opportunities to do research with our faculty members, and some recently presented as part of the Colonial Academic Alliance.
Ten College of Charleston students presented research April 11-12, 2014 at the annual Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference in Towson, Md. These scholars represent the best research papers submitted by students from all majors. The conference is the signature academic and outreach event sponsored by the Alliance, under the auspices of the Colonial Athletic Association, of which the College is a new member in 2013-14.
The conference included a keynote presentation by Don Thomas, a former NASA astronaut who now heads the Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science at Towson University
“The Colonial Academic Alliance Research Conference provided an excellent opportunity for us to showcase the different types of research and creative projects on which College of Charleston students and faculty collaborate,” said Dr. Trisha Folds-Bennett, dean of the Honors College. “The group of students chosen to represent us were energetic, engaged, and professional. Professor Andrea DeMaria and I were both impressed with their contribution to the conference, and thank the Office of Academic Affairs for funding the trip.”
Student presenters from the College of Charleston included:
- Jami Baxley (classics and archaeology; James Newhard, faculty adviser)
- Alexandra Cattran (physics and astronomy; Linda Jones, faculty advisers)
- Lance Cooper (political science; Gibbs Knotts, faculty adviser)
- Colin Cotter (chemistry & biochemistry; Gamil Guirgis, faculty adviser)
- Hannah Evans (English & African studies; Simon Lewis, faculty adviser)
- Grace Moxley (chemistry and biochemistry; Andrea DeMaria and Beth Sundstrom, faculty advisers)
- Jackelyn Payne (health and human performance and communication; Andrea DeMaria and Beth Sundstrom, faculty advisers)
- Sarah Turner (biology; Allison Welch, faculty adviser)
- Aleisha Walker (teacher education and sociology and anthropology; Christine Finnan, faculty adviser)
- John Wise (religious studies; Katie Hladky, faculty adviser
College of Charleston Events
- June 30: Marks the end of our fiscal year. Make your gift to the Parents’ Fund today!
- June-August: We can’t wait to meet the Class of 2018! They will be here for orientation throughout the summer
- August 19: Fall classes start! Visit the Registrar to see the academic calendars for the year
- September 26-28: Mark your calendars to visit campus and your student for Family Weekend
- All summer: Check out our local minor league baseball team the Charleston River Dogs
- August 28-31: Lowcountry Jazz Festival
- All summer Check out our local professional soccer team, the Charleston Battery
- Second Sunday of each month-Check out Second Sunday on King Street: the street is closed to cars, and King Street becomes a street fair with outdoor dining, live music, and a fun time enjoyed by all.
CofC and MUSC have been granted $100,000 to conduct a 12 month genomics project, which is a special opportunity to train some of our undergraduate students. Our undergraduates often have the opportunity for unique research experiences, but this one is exceptional because of how collaborative it is. Our students are being exposed to people, ideas, and research that will train them to be the future of this scientific field.
This project will go across schools-as labs from CofC and MUSC labs work together. The project also works across disciplines-bringing students and professors together from computer science, biology, genomics, data science, and bioengineering.
Did you know that starting July 1, 2014 the College of Charleston campus is going tobacco-free? This policy was approved by our Board of Trustees last October. The delay in implementation was meant to give our campus community time to end their use of tobacco products, if they so desire.
This new policy is an effort to support a healthy environment for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The College wants to encourage a healthy life style, and joins other campuses across the country going tobacco-free. Our neighbors down the street at the Medical University of South Carolina went tobacco-free in 2012. The College is excited about this healthy step in the right direction. Visit the tobacco free website for information on the policy as well as resources and tips for going tobacco-free.
The Parents’ Fund supports scholarships, networking opportunities, and exceptional faculty focused on your student’s success. For more information, visit the the Parents’ Fund webpage.