Career Profile: Business Executive

business executive typing on laptop
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Name: Sandra Rayner

Career/Title: Vice President, Digital Services, Studentawards

Education: Bachelor of Arts, History (York University/University of Waterloo); MBA (Laurier)

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Airline Pilot

What was the first thing that you were ever paid to do?

Milk cows

What was your favourite subject in high school? Did you study it in post-secondary school?

Math. No, my guidance counsellor in high school told me I wouldn’t need it in the future … that was bad advice.

Which post-secondary school did you attend? How many years did it take you to complete it?

York University / the University of Waterloo: Bachelor of Arts (History), a long time 🙂

Laurier: Masters in Business, 3 years

Did you ever change (or consider changing) programs?

I started as an Economics major and moved to History so I could pursue a law degree.

When you think about your college/university experience, is there a particular memory that comes to mind?

Being on student council, I loved being involved with school events.

What was your favourite part about your post-secondary experience? Least favourite?

Favourite: all the people I met.

Least Favourite: struggling through first year.

When you graduated, did you receive a job right away?

I continued to work through most of my school, so there was never a first job, although I never had a job that was related to History.

Did you pursue another degree?

I completed my MBA in 2007 so that I had credentials in the business world, and to get some solid marketing training.

Was your first job out of school related to your degree?

I worked in marketing at Coca Cola after graduating MBA, and it exceeded my expectations.

Which of your skills do you find to be the most helpful in your line of work?

Empathy, communication, analysis.

What is one skill that you wish you possessed?

The ability to be awake 24 hours a day.

How far would you travel for a job?

As far as I needed and could within my family’s requirements.

What advice would you give to students who are interested in pursuing similar opportunities?

Take every opportunity that you can get and never think it’s too late to start something new.

Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t gotten around to it yet?

Take a culinary course.

If you could go back to the end of high school and do things over again, would you change anything?

Yes, I would have listened to all the advice given to me, but done exactly what I thought I should have, not what I was told to do.

What do you wish you had known in high school before you pursued your career?

Things are always changing and getting out of your comfort zone leads to some of the best experiences in life.