This year as I turned 31, I declared 2018 to be my year of “winning.” And a 3-won year it has already been!

Over the weekend, I experienced a tremendous win that I’m humbly proud of. My Iona College family blessed me with the exceptional “Rising Star,” alumni award.

The Brother Robert A. Durning Rising Star Award is given to an Iona College alum, whom in a short amount of time has brought acclaim to the College through achievements in their respective fields.

The award is particularly special for me as it is named in honor of Brother Durning, a dynamic and gifted teacher who touched the lives of many students during his time at Iona, including myself. The “Rising Star” award honors Br. Durning’s commitment to excellence and the pursuit of lifelong learning by recognizing young professionals.

To be called a “Rising Star” – by the college that’s responsible for my rise – is beyond humbling.

Iona College was my home away from home as I left Los Angeles at the impressionable age of 17. Not knowing anyone outside of my hometown, the Iona family greeted me with open arms in the fall of 2004, and they supported me tremendously in working three different jobs on and off campus, while heading toward graduating in three years, at the age of 20.

It’s only because of Iona that I was able to join media superpower Disney ABC after an internship in 2007, and went on to serve leading media and entertainment companies CBS and Comcast NBCUniversal. The college did what it was supposed to do, give me confidence to move the world, equip me with experience and skills to progress in the real world and help me to build tenacity like never before.

Confidence, is something that colleges should strive to empower their students with. It’s obviously not easy, but absolutely needed to compete against top job candidates and in particular to know your valuable and moreover to be paid what you’re worth.

Iona truly prepared me for my current worldwide role, as Director of Communications and Public Relations at FCB Global, where I work among a handful of brilliant and innovative Iona alums on a daily basis.

Focusing on the rise, I cannot wait to move higher and to lead upward in all that I do. I am reminded that I’m on my way, but not there yet, and that’s exciting. My Godmother would always tell me, “You’re going places!” I cannot wait to go to each and every place that she knew I would go.

I am forever grateful to Iona College. I am relentlessly committed to excellence and bringing further acclaim to my illustrious college. Here’s to more mentorship, teaching, and most important moving the world.