All three panelists believe their liberal arts education, in particular their studies in the humanities, fostered soft skills such as writing, speaking, analysis, complex problem organization which have been indispensable in their respective careers. Anna Coon is a project manager for the Banking and Asset Finance practice group of K&L Gates, an international law firm; Zana Shaban, CPA, is a senior tax advisor for Ernst and Young; and Cristina Wilson, former Charlotte Agenda President and COO and now founder and owner of Mood House, a popular massage and meditation spa.
The panelists believe when starting a new job, the ability to learn is more critical than knowledge retained from college classes given the need to learn so much.
“I did an individualized major in Gender Studies, Literature and Film, so in essence, my specific studies do not pertain directly to my current work,” said Wilson. “But, to start Mood House, I had to become knowledgeable about corporate real estate, leases, and other contracts, construction, building codes, and the recruitment and management of numerous employees.”
All three also participated in study abroad during college and highly recommend it to broaden perspectives.
The panel ended with Shaban reminding the students “The company you work for doesn’t own you. Be sure as you progress in your work that your needs are being met. Even if it is hard, you have to learn to tell your managers what you need to find satisfaction and fulfillment.”