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Lisa Rossi ’09: Business Mogul and Career Guru

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at WPUNJ chapter.

Major: I majored in English (Writing Concentration) and minored in Political Science.

Current Occupation: Business Development Executive with Brazen Careerist.

Fun Fact: So many to choose from! I’m a die-hard Jets & Yankees fan. I have two cats, Pizza & Anchovy. I’m a total wine, scotch, and bourbon enthusiast. And I can recite every single line of Dirty Dancing by heart (I feel like I’m going to regret sharing that last one.)

Hometown: Wayne, NJ

Current Location: New York, NY

Lisa Rossi is a WPUNJ Alumni who graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Writing. She is also the daughter of an Adjunct Professor who was also featured as a Campus Celebrity. She is an accomplished young professional who has advanced herself in the business world and who is rightfully deserving of her own spotlight as this week’s Campus Celebrity.


HC: What made you choose this career?

LR: I wouldn’t say that I chose this career. Rather, I chose to follow the opportunities that ultimately led me here (and might lead me somewhere else in the future). In high school, I wanted to go into politics and dreamed of becoming a political speechwriter. Through college, I became disillusioned with government and changed courses. After college, I began performing stand-up comedy and working for a comedy school, with aspirations of writing for SNL or creating my own TV show. Once I learned that being funny meant struggling (and being broke) for sometimes ten, twenty, even thirty years, I decided to leverage my office experience at the comedy school to change my career trajectory. As they say, one thing led to another, and here I am!


HC: How difficult was it entering a career that is male-dominant?

LR: I worked as the only female (and youngest) employee in a fine dining restaurant through college, which was very difficult. My managers and colleagues set my bar much higher than the men’s for the same recognition. On the one hand, it was frustrating and sometimes downright hurtful. On the other hand, I learned a ton, and in the grand scheme of things, my circumstances forced me to achieve much more. Then I entered the world of comedy, which is arguably the most male-dominant industry in the world.  (Check out this Instagram post from Sarah Silverman—a perfect example!)  I left comedy for a company called Women For Hire, which is all about empowering women in their careers, and Brazen Careerist is a dynamic startup with several amazing women (many of whom are recognized as top performers), so I think I’ve gotten lucky.


HC: What is the hardest part about being a woman in the business world?

LR: When developing business with other companies, I consistently carry a nagging worry that men won’t take me seriously and that women won’t want to work with me.  I combat this worry by acknowledging that it is only the result of societal conditioning, a story I tell myself, and I march forward!


HC: What’s the easiest?

LR: Hands down, confidence. I am proud to be a woman, but it’s me—my personality, intelligence, creativity, and drive that make me successful in any job I take on. In other words, deeply understanding the value I bring to any working situation secondary to my gender has made being a woman in the business world much easier.


HC: What was the most challenging part of college?

LR: Being a full-time commuter and working full-time, the biggest challenges for me were balance and staying focused. And to be honest, nothing’s changed. This still is and will continue to be a challenge throughout every phase of my life.


HC: How was your WPUNJ experience?

LR: Overall, my experience was good. I had some wonderful professors, particularly within my major and minor, who absolutely changed my life. I learned and grew so much during those years. That said, because I commuted, I feel that I missed out on the true “college” experience.


HC: What was your favorite class in college? Why?

LR: Oh goodness. There were so many great teachers, but I think it would have to be Creative Non-Fiction, which I took with Philip Cioffari. Creative Non-Fiction is my favorite genre by far, and Phil Cioffari has a fantastic style that combines the importance of perspective and truth in writing, collaboration and group feedback, and his own impressive critical eye that brought out the best in my writing. His book of short stories, A History of Things Lost or Broken, is still among my favorite collections of all time.


HC: Do you feel that you can set an example for women entering this field?

LR: I most certainly hope so!


HC: I was told you also helped with Resume writing. What is the most common mistake you’ve seen on resumes?

LR: A resume should not be a list of your duties and responsibilities. It should be a 1-2 page representation of your professional reputation. Resumes that come my way are typically flat lists when they should be a dynamic and accomplishment-driven professional snapshot.


HC: What is something everyone should emphasize on a resume?

LR: Along the lines of the most common mistake, each resume should emphasize specific results and accomplishments that set this applicant apart from the others.


HC: What is the most important part of a resume?

LR: Your resume should be organized, clean, concise, and easy to follow, like a professional roadmap to your next job. Employers want to know how you 1) made money, 2) saved money, 3) streamlined processes, 4) mitigated risk, or 5) contributed to culture. Depending on your field, show that you did one or more of these things, and you’ll land the interview for sure.


HC: When it comes to video resumes and electronic portfolios, what should a grad be prepared to say/show?

LR: Everyone, recent graduate or seasoned professional, should have an elevator pitch prepared for any professional networking or interview situation. An elevator pitch is a 2-3 sentence statement that sums up your experience and the value you can bring to an employer/position. The pitch should be short and concise enough to deliver to a high powered CEO during an elevator ride without losing his interest.


HC: Any advice for women entering the business field?

LR: Be confident but humble. Don’t get intimidated easily, and always volunteer. You’ll be surprised at how much more you know than you think you do.

I am a Business Administration student at William Paterson University, graduating in 2015. I am the Social Media Manager at Her Campus WPUNJ. When I'm not working on my assignments, I'm eating food and seeking adventure. I also love to exercise, travel and  spend time with my dog. I try to always enjoy the little things in life, because to me, they are the big things.Be sure to tweet at me! @lalalexiiiii
 Di Onne Agnew "chic, comfy, and stylish"