Interesting Alumni

Lauren Piro

That liberal arts major you love getting you down? Not sure if the Villanova School of Business should be your business? Worried about ending up in a pigeon hole? On a one way street? Or trapped inside a box? Snap out of it. Take a lesson from these Villanova alums who chose the major they wanted and landed themselves on a path to interesting – and sometimes unexpected – careers. Here are their stories of aspiration, exploration and success, and their answers to that age-old question asked by relatives every Thanksgiving: “Well, what are you going to do with that?”

Megan Hansler and Lauren Piro

Erin McCloskey, ’02

Major: Marketing

Current Job: Medical devices therapy development specialist

When many marketing majors picture their future place of business, they may picture gleaming office buildings, conference rooms and cubicles. And while such may have been the case for Villanova grad Erin McCloskey, her workplace is now an operating room, complete with scrubs as the required uniform.

As a sales representative for a large medical devices company, McCloskey not only sells but instructs physicians during surgery how to use her wares.

“I’m in a sales position, but my responsibilities include a high level of clinical involvement in procedures,” McCloskey says. “It’s different in that I’m not just presenting and selling; I’m clinically involved. It’s not your typical sales job.”

Upon finishing up her last year as an undergraduate, McCloskey used Villanova’s career resources to look for a job and fell into the field of pharmaceutical sales – an area she had not considered before, but was excited at the prospect of being a part of, even without education in science or medicine. Before long, McCloskey was recruited and extensively trained by the company she is with now to be as knowledgeable and natural as possible within an operating room and with the devices she demonstrates and sells.

“I get asked all the time about my major,” she says. “People assume I have a medical background. It’s really not a career path I even knew about.”

McCloskey says she loves that her job is more than about “just making a sale,” but rather that she has the opportunity to be involved in a high level of patient care and educating physicians on her areas of medical device expertise, which lies mainly within endovascular procedures. She has also embraced the opportunities the job gives her to increase her own personal life-long education.

While first being presented to this type of career at Villanova, McCloskey also credits Villanova’s reputation in helping her land her current – and at the time unfamiliar – position.

“Having come from Villanova, employers see it as a safe assumption that I’d be able to figure things out,” McCloskey says. “Go to a school like this, and they trust you have the capacity to get up and go quickly.”

As for the future, McCloskey is keeping her options open. She is presently enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Villanova, sees opportunity for promotion within her current company and hopes one day to start her own business. And if that isn’t enough, she hopes to educate her peers and those younger than her on lessons she’s learned as a woman in business.

Advice to Villanovans: McCloskey would want up-and-comers in any field to note the importance of persistence, as well as thinking outside the box when it comes to their career. “Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone or explore outside your major,” she says. “These days, it’s just not a restriction.”

Frank Boulton, ’73

Major: Finance

Current Job: Owner and CEO of the Long Island Ducks and Founder and CEO of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs

After 23 years of success working on Wall Street, Boulton found his way back to his true passion: baseball. 

Boulton had always had an interest in business, and after graduating from Villanova, he followed many of his classmates to work on Wall Street.  He worked in the U.S. Treasury and Mortgage industry as a bond trader and eventually became the senior managing director of the Government Bond Department for Smith Barney.  One day at work, Boulton got a call from one of his Villanova roommates about a baseball team that was for sale.  Boulton considered the opportunity and decided not to purchase the team, but the idea got him interested in becoming involved in the baseball industry. As a former baseball player and someone who was still passionate about the game, Boulton felt that the business of baseball was the perfect way to combine his two interests. 

Boulton began by founding the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a minor league team affiliated with the Kansas City Royals.  Since then he has owned several minor league teams, giving him the experience to start the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs.  Today, Boulton’s primary focus is the team he has owned for almost nine seasons, the Long Island Ducks.  Boulton says that the best part about his job is providing the people of Long Island with affordable family entertainment. “It’s all about people having a good time,” he says. Boulton has been successful in creating this fun and welcoming atmosphere, considering the Long Island Ducks have sold out every game for the past nine years. 

Boulton believes that he owes many of his accomplishments to the valuable lessons he learned at Villanova. Boulton says that in high school, he didn’t know the importance of education but that Villanova changed his outlook. For Boulton, being at Villanova “opened his eyes to education and made him want to learn.” He says, “At Villanova, the big thing is learning how to learn.” Boulton also said that his experience “gave him a great sense of community,” a feeling not unfamiliar to most Villanova students.

According to Boulton, Villanova’s emphasis on community service is the reason for his incredible involvement in charitable efforts throughout his career. Some of these efforts include support for the Great South Bay YMCA and his position as the chairman of the QuackerJack Foundation, the Long Island Ducks’ philanthropic organization. Boulton says that even though he no longer plays baseball, running and operating the Long Island Ducks and the Atlantic League has allowed him to stay in the game he loves.  

Advice for Villanova Students: After having two successful and quite different careers, Boulton believes that life is all about reinvention.  He tells students not to worry so much about what the future will hold and to focus on learning. He says, “Get your education at Villanova. You’ll have plenty of time to figure out who you are and what you want to do later. Even then, you’ll probably reinvent yourself many times after that. It’s good to reinvent yourself every once in a while.”

Anthony Giacchino, ’92

Majors: History and German

Current Job: Documentary filmmaker

Giacchino began his Villanova experience in 1988 with plans to become a history teacher. Now, 20 years later, he is an Emmy-winning filmmaker.

It all started when Giacchino decided to switch his major from education to history so that he could someday teach at the college level. Then, in the summer of his sophomore year, he studied abroad in Germany – an experience that would inspire him to pursue a double major in German. The professors in his history and German courses furthered his interest in these subjects and motivated him to pursue these areas. When Giacchino graduated, he received a Fulbright Grant to study history at the University of Frieburg in Germany. After a year of living in Germany, Giacchino returned to America and interviewed for a job with the newly launched History Channel. He didn’t have any experience with film or production, but in the interview, he stressed his strong background in history and his knowledge of German. The History Channel needed films translated from German, and so Giacchino was hired.  He had always been interested in filmmaking and learned quickly. 

Today, he is an independent filmmaker and still works on projects for the History Channel.  He is currently working on a film for the History Channel and recently won an Emmy for producing a program called “Great Moments from the Campaign Trail.” According to Giacchino, working independently has many advantages. He says that he “would never want to work for a big company” and enjoys the freedom of working from home. However, one of the challenges of being a documentary filmmaker, according to Giacchino, is that “you must always be looking for the next project.”

One of Giacchino’s most famous projects is his documentary “The Camden 28,” a film about anti-war activists protesting in 1971, which he recently presented to a group of history majors at the University of Pennsylvania. The presentation was meant to show the students that majoring in history can lead to many opportunities in diverse careers.

      Giacchino attributes his success to both his dual majors and the experiences he had at Villanova.  He says Villanova gave him a solid foundation in researching and shaped his thinking and attitude.  

Advice for Villanova Students:  Giacchino says, “If you really, really know what you want to do, if you know what excites you, then you need to do it.” He encourages students to be more focused on their education and their passions and less concerned with money.

Cindy (Hoey) Wiseman, ’92 and Ciara (Perotti) Thurlow, ’93

Majors: Economics, Communication

Current Job: Girls’ lacrosse co-coaches at Wilton High School

What is a job if you’re not having fun or if you are not passionate about it? For alumnae Cindy Wiseman and Ciara Thurlow, it’s not a job they would want. Instead, as high school girls’ lacrosse coaches in their now hometown of Wilton, Conn., fate (and a little history) has brought them together to work with passion and enjoyment.

For both women, life after Villanova found them on career tracks in the business world. Before long, however, each of them decided they needed to take their lives in new directions. Wiseman went back to school to receive her master’s degree in education and began a second career teaching and coaching. A short while later, she heard from another Villanova alum – a former Villanova lacrosse player like herself – that Thurlow was also looking to move away from city life and was coming to Connecticut. Jumping at the opportunity to work with an old friend, both decided to team up as coaches.

Seven years (and three sons each, all under the age of 6) later, Wiseman and Thurlow are still at Wilton High School, enjoying their team’s and each other’s company just as they did at the very beginning. When asked if she ever pictured her life going in this direction, Wiseman is quick to respond.

“Oh God, no,” she says. “It’s not something we ever thought about – didn’t major in it, didn’t plan it. It’s just something we came across.”

However, they certainly have come across it in a big way. With only six full seasons behind them, their overall record stands at 105 wins and only 18 losses, with their team making it to the state finals every year they have been coaching. The upcoming year will be an emotional one, as the pair says goodbye to the first group of players they have been coaching at Wilton. Both coaches and teammates have learned and grown together – and have given Wiseman and Thurlow a never-ending supply of eager babysitters to boot.

“They’re out there doing a great job coaching, raising those six little boys, and everyone just loves them,” says Wilton High School Athletics Secretary Claire Camelio.

Plus, Thurlow’s career extends even beyond the lacrosse field, running a part-time fashion consulting and personal shopping business called CPT Styling, following yet another passion of hers.

“Imagine being 35 and having a fun job,” Wiseman says.

Advice for Villanovans: “Don’t feel like you’re locked into your first job for the rest of your life,” Wiseman says. “You can always change your path.”