Name: Lainey Titus
Class of: 1999
Position: Chief of Staff
Employer: Representative Steve Walsh, State of Massachusetts
Summary: While attending Rivier College, Lainey became actively involved in a variety of college activities. As a member of the Student Government Association, she was nominated for Class President her sophomore, junior, and senior years. During that same period she worked for the Rivier Community Chronicles as Opinions Editor and Assistant Editor-in Chief. Lainey continued to demonstrate her leadership abilities through her role as an Orientation Leader for Freshmen Orientation Week.
How has your experience as Class President helped you in your career choice or with your ability to get a successful position upon graduation?
I think that being a Class President teaches you transferable skills that would be helpful in many professions. However, being Class President involved me with SGA, which definitely increased my interest in governing and service. In the case of Rivier the service was to my school, while my current job allows me to serve my community and state. I find that some of the skills I learned as class president and as an SGA member, such as the ability to speak in front of a group, run meetings, and plan events, assist me in my current position as Chief of Staff. Staff meetings and delegation of work to my staff is not very different from Rivier Executive Board meetings and assigning jobs or roles to different committee members. In addition, I believe that student leadership gives you self-confidence, which in general makes it easier to interview and to make a positive impression when meeting a future employer.
How did your internship experience help to prepare you for your current position with Representative Steve Walsh?
My internship was in a different field than my chosen career. However, I learned some skills that helped prepare me for the workforce in general, as well as my current position. My internship was at Media One Metro News in Lowell, MA. I was a production assistant for the daily evening news cast, which meant I helped prepare stories, edited video, and operated the camera during the newscast. Having worked in a small office with a boss and managers has made me familiar with working in an office environment. While I don’t have to operate a news camera for my current position, having familiarity with the other side of the media is helpful and allows me to work with the press more comfortably. Understanding what information is necessary and that strict deadlines exist, has helped me work with the press on news stories involving my State Representative. Any workplace setting will give valuable experience to an intern, from understanding the dynamics of different work environments to working as a member of a team.
How has your college experience helped you with your current career?
The most important skill in any field is the ability to write well. A liberal arts education teaches clear and concise writing techniques to convey a message. The requirement to write papers in almost all classes, from English to Psychology to History, has prepared me for the extensive writing I am required to do as a Chief of Staff.
I am proud of many of my accomplishments involving student government while at Rivier. However, the one I feel to be the most important was organizing a vigil in honor of victims of hate crimes. This was not done as part of an organized group but in response to the murder of a gay college student from Wyoming. Some of my fellow students and I were horrified that such hatred could exist on other campuses and organized a vigil, which was attended by several hundred students. We were able to raise awareness on campus about being accepting of others and had extensive involvement throughout the college community.
Based on your experience what advice would you give our current students to better prepare them for their careers?
I am a strong supporter of having an internship during your college career. Generally, if students do work as interns, they do so somewhere near Rivier College. However, if they don't plan on living in Nashua following graduation, those internships only serve as something to add to their resume and not as a good networking tool. I know that those who intern at the State House are seen as more qualified to work there when a job opportunity arises because they have real work experience. Therefore, I would suggest that students seek out internships close to their homes during the summer if that is where they plan to settle after graduation. Or, if they plan to live in Boston or New York after graduation, they should apply for internships in that city. The contacts you make while interning are invaluable in helping to secure a full-time position, especially when the job market is bad. If an internship isn't available or is limited in the field the student is interested in pursuing, try to arrange an informational meeting with someone who works in that field. I know that if a student were interested in government, any number of people in the House of Representatives would be willing to share their experiences and insight through a conversation, even if actual internship positions are limited.
What job search techniques did you find most valuable?
I find internships in the student’s chosen field very helpful. Networking is also a good tool. Most major cities have young professional networking groups students could get involved with before or right after graduation. In my field, student involvement is key. Students who are interested in government or politics should get involved with political campaigns or advocacy groups during their college career. This will expose them to the issues currently facing their state or nation while also introducing them to others who are interested in the same career path.