3/29/2022 Chris Karlesky

‘Take Risks and Explore Every Opportunity’

Vanessa Gonzalez ’21, an economics major and international studies minor at F&M, took on leadership roles in student government, alumni engagement, and with the Posse Foundation. Her wide-ranging activities helped sharpen her skills as a public speaker, data analyst and communicator while she learned to collaborate with a diverse group of people.

F&M: Where are you working?

Vanessa: I began a job with Prudential Financial in Newark, N.J., in July 2021. I’m a senior finance associate as part of the three-year rotational “Financial Leadership Development Program.” My first and current rotation is in a controllership function as part of the Financial Shared Services-Financial Reporting team (a shared accounting group that prepares financial packages to be reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission).

F&M: How has your liberal arts education prepared you for what you are currently doing?

Vanessa: It taught me how to solve problems, think creatively and challenge ideas for data efficiency.

F&M: Tell us about a person or experience at F&M that you've drawn on to help you succeed when presented with a challenge.

Vanessa: Serving as class president and helping to organize our Sophomore Declaration Dinner was a challenging yet tremendously rewarding experience. In this role, I led a group of my peers while working alongside staff from the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD) and members of the F&M Alumni Association. It taught me how to delegate tasks, present confidently and fine-tune my problem-solving skills. This skill set has come into play in my current role of managing relationships across business groups and fine-tuning my time-management and niche technical training.

F&M: What brief advice would you give an admitted student who is considering attending F&M?

Vanessa: Take risks and explore every opportunity! With a diverse set of classes, clubs and individuals, F&M pushed me to grow as an intellectual, a friend, a social citizen and a successful individual.

  • Vanessa Gonzalez ’21 developed wide-ranging abilities at F&M, including public speaking, data analysis and communication skills. Vanessa Gonzalez ’21 developed wide-ranging abilities at F&M, including public speaking, data analysis and communication skills.

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