Alumna Lauren York Puts Liberal Arts Degree to Work in IT Sector
Lauren York didn’t plan to end up in the IT sector after she graduated with a BA in Psychology and Gerontology, but she said the interpersonal skills she gained at STU were an asset in a field dominated by Business and Engineering degrees.
She works as an Enterprise Account Executive at the Toronto office of TIBCO, a global software company based out of Silicon Valley. Many of the skills she acquired during her degree have helped her become a top performer within her region.
“Psychology is what helped me to understand how people behave, what motivates them, and what drives those behaviours. Those interpersonal skills have been valuable in a business and technology environment when engaging with executives and high-stake negotiations. STU did a great job at fostering those skills.”
After her graduation in 2013, York worked with Shannex, a long-term care company, until she decided to see what else life had to offer.
“I wanted to have a bigger impact and explore new opportunities for my career. Once I made the decision, I moved to Toronto in March of 2015, and I had a friend at TIBCO that referred me.”
“I applied for a High-Performance Entry Level program, I took an aptitude test and personality profile to see if I had the acumen for the job. Those skill sets from STU helped me through this process.“
“TIBCO’s High-Performance Entry Level program is designed to take smart, motivated graduates and mold them into top performers of tomorrow. I flew to Denver for two weeks of intensive sales training and was then assigned a mentor who had a strong track record of success. I was given one year to learn as much as I could about corporate sales, the capabilities of our software and how to navigate the complex organization structure of our company. What made me excited about this opportunity was the investment TIBCO was looking to make in my professional development.
“At the end of one year, I was given the opportunity to begin selling to Fortune 500 companies. My role largely consists of engaging executives to solve complex business problems and provide solutions to drive innovation and change how they do business.”
York’s liberal arts background makes her unique among her colleagues, and it allows her to offer a different perspective with her customers.
“Software sales is a high-stake world where effective communication is an absolutely critical skill, and this is a skill that is seldom taught outside of Liberal Arts degrees. My degree gave me a strong understanding of people, interpersonal relationships and helped me to succeed in this role.”
York encourages people to be open to opportunities that arise, and embrace a new direction.
“I realized that having a degree, gave me the opportunity to apply for many different jobs. What helped me accelerate in those roles, were the soft skills I learned while at STU.”
“For students currently in school, there is more to university than your major – learn as many soft skills as possible that make you better at engaging with your peers. I would encourage students to consider electives that take them out of their comfort zones, enjoy every experience and keep an open mind.’’
Despite how much she enjoys the challenges of the IT sector, York thinks she will end up back in long-term care eventually.
“It’s challenging in different ways than what I am currently doing, but I love working with people. It is incredibly rewarding when you go to work every day and have an opportunity to work with people in a meaningful way and see those efforts are making a difference.”