Katlin Fox ’09

Like many new grads entering the job market in the first years of the recession, Katlin Fox knew she might need to re-adjust her immediate expectations. Graduating in 2009 with a B.A. in Public Relations, she had hoped to find a marketing position, but her first post-URI job was as an executive assistant in a construction company. She made the most of it, and her success jumping into middle management even landed her in the pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Although she knew little about construction, Fox visited building sites and asked for new assignments, including those no one else wanted. Along the way, she discovered an interest in human resources, and thanks to a boss who knew she had high aspirations, she quickly took on added responsibilities.

But it was her performance at just one meeting that changed her outlook and the trajectory of her career. When she was asked at the last minute to present the recommendations of an employee-work-life committee to top executives, she shined.

“It was very, very intimidating,” Fox told The Wall Street Journal. But she gave herself a pep talk in the restroom moments before the meeting, telling herself “I can do this. This is not the time to be scared.”

Today she holds a human resources management position as manager of people and culture in Suffolk Construction’s Los Angeles office, and although she needed to take some professional courses to get up to speed, she has found her place. She even started a women’s network to support those, like her, who are seeking advancement. Sometimes, she says, “you have to take the initiative to find new opportunities for yourself.”