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Sheridan Curiosities Blog

Elyse Maxwell, a United Way Oakville employee and Sheridan alumna

“Will you need any bags today?” In 2013 I asked this soul-deadening question hundreds of times a day. After spending four grueling years earning my bachelors, I was working at a grocery store. Apparently no one wants to hire someone with a degree in sociology.

I had to go back to school.

I began Sheridan’ Corporate Communications postgraduate diploma, determined to find a career that would combine my passion for philanthropy, background in sociology and communications skills. This program turned out to be the most valuable part of my career path. It’s where I gained the skills and connections that propelled me into the best start to my career I could hope for: marketing and communications at United Way Oakville.

I started with United Way after a ‘mock’ interview, set up as part of my career management course. It may seem bizarre to call this first meeting with my bosses ‘a match made in heaven’, but it felt like it.

Since then I have had the good fortune to remain on staff through a patchwork of contracts and have taken on responsibilities ranging from graphic design, to writing news releases to helping with event management, and everything in between. I am now working at United Way as a Sheridan Sponsored Employee and I have just recruited a student research team from the Sheridan communications program.

“Sheridan’s connections allowed me to get my foot in the door where I may not have otherwise” – Elyse Maxwell

Since starting at Sheridan and, subsequently, United Way Oakville, I have realized that few people are successful without community support. This notion provides, in my experience, the basis for both United Way’s and Sheridan College’s missions. Sheridan’s connections allowed me to get my foot in the door where I may not have otherwise.

United Way supports the town of Oakville in a similarly interconnected, holistic, and long-term way that Sheridan supported me and all of its students; directing people to the resources they need, not for handouts, but to provide them with the tools to make themselves successful. United Way plays an indispensable role in the town of Oakville, as does Sheridan. It is perhaps this understanding that has led to a historically strong relationship between the two, and creates a powerful network of people who can address the often invisible needs of many people here.

I owe a lot to Sheridan because it has been in integral part of my journey to an indescribably fulfilling job, with people who are driven, kind, and dynamic in a way that I only thought happened on television shows. I have the privilege—and it is a privilege—of knowing that every hour I spend with United Way Oakville is helping to promote inclusion and support the often silent sufferers in our town, and I have Sheridan to thank for it.

Pictured at top of page: Elyse Maxwell at the United Way Oakville office

Written by: Elyse Maxwell, a 2013 Sheridan Corporate Communications alumnus.


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