Sigrid Valentin, class of 2010, spent her entire school career at St. John’s. We spoke to her about her experience and about life after St. John’s.
Please tell us about your life after St. John’s?
Life after St. John’s started with moving to beautiful Montreal where I received my Bachelor of Commerce at McGill University. I personally don’t think I could have ended up in a better place to do my undergrad. McGill is an eclectic school with people from all walks of life who come together in an incredibly creative and supportive community.
This type of environment really fed my sense of adventure and inspired me to seek out a variety of different experiences; I worked two internships in China, spent a summer in Berlin studying German and was heavily involved in the Management Undergraduate Society, among many other things. A few years later I came out on the other end with a job offer, a degree and a first-class ticket to adulthood (Toronto) where I happily find myself today.
What do you currently do?
Today I am working at WESCO International, within their telecom division, as a Project Manager. In this role, I lead a team in creating and running multi-million dollar specialised supply chain solutions for the large Canadian telecom companies. We have doubled our sales in the last year, and my team is growing rapidly as we receive more projects to handle. I am constantly being kept on my toes and travel extensively
throughout the year across Canada and the U.S. Recently I have been working heavily in the emergency restoration of fiber optic networks where wildfires have shut down communications due to large-scale damage.
How did St. John’s prepare you for adulthood?
Being a third culture kid and having experienced so much diversity early on makes it
easier to step into adulthood and face the reality of the “real world.” There is no shock factor experience once you have to start working with other people.
Students from international schools as a whole tend to be more accepting of different
perspectives and keep their minds open to things that the average person might not, which means you will most likely always be able to take learning lessons out of both good and less good experiences.
What did you learn at St. John’s that has proven helpful in your career?
If I were to choose one key thing about St. John’s that prepared me for adulthood it would be the ability to communicate. Working at a Fortune 500 company, where most of my work is done over e-mail and the phone and the slightest miscommunication can cause a snowball of problems, the ability to clearly and concisely communicate with key players and build your network has been one of the best things that I take away.
What makes St. John’s special?
The beauty of St. John’s is its community and how every person tied to St. John’s works so hard to make it as great as it is. Whether it be the turnout to a basketball game, a packed PAC theater with a weekend full of performances, family day and international festival—everyone works hard to make it what it is. Having been at St. John’s since I was a toddler,
it was a very comfortable way to grow up. It instills a focus and calm so you can work on your tasks in a secure environment where every kid has the possibility to thrive no matter how different they all are.
What advice do you have for current St. John’s students with big dreams?
Whatever you end up doing, do it with 100% full-steam-ahead attitude and be confident in your ability to do and handle anything that comes your way. You are always stronger and more capable than you might think. Be proud of yourself, your achievements and
always remember to thank the people who have helped get you to where you are.