Global Alumni Ambassador
My name is Michelle Mendes. I graduated from Laurier in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a minor in business administration. I also participated in co-op during my undergraduate program. After graduation, I spent five months travelling in South America, Australia and Southeast Asia. When I returned to Canada and has the opportunity to work at the Olympic Village in Vancouver—an experience of a lifetime!
My first job after graduation was working for Hershey’s Canada in various roles, including field sales representative, regional manager and key account manager for various grocery and convenience businesses. I also wanted to gain international work experience, so I made the decision to leave my position at Hershey’s Canada to move to the United Kingdom. Even though I moved to the U.K. with no job prospects, I was able to find a job within two months. Since moving I have worked with several global companies, including Diageo and L’Oreal, in international roles. I am a great example of it doesn’t always have to be a company who moves you with a job in hand!
When I moved to the U.K., I didn’t know a lot about the different charitable organizations, but I knew I wanted to find a way to give back. While working for L’Oreal, I saw an opportunity to get involved with The Prince’s Trust, a charity affiliated with the royal family, where I’m currently mentoring youth who want to become entrepreneurs. I find it extremely rewarding to see young people who have faced various challenges to succeed in starting something of their own! Working with The Prince’s Trust is also a great way for me to feel more connected to my life in the U.K.
One of the most rewarding, but also most challenging, things is the constant push to be outside of my comfort zone! When it comes to working culture, friendships, even how the healthcare system works, all of it can challenging to navigate. But when I look back, I think what an achievement it is to have successfully figured it all out. Whether you choose to live abroad for six months or forever, I truly feel it is an experience that shapes you and builds your resilience.
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