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Taking a Chance

Lauren Mariani-Ryan

I never thought I would work in finance. I thought it was boring. I didn’t think I would like the people. And yet, here I am.

My path to Prosek was unusual: I took a chance on Prosek, and Prosek took a chance on me. Nearly three years later, it seems to be working out for both of us.

By the time I was finished interviewing for an entry level position at the firm, I must have met with 15 different people, many of whom asked me the same questions: “Why do you want to work at Prosek?; why finance?; what do you know about finance?” I certainly wasn't passionate about finance at the time, and I didn't have a great answer, so I was honest. While I knew very little about finance, I wanted to give it a shot. The truth, in response to my interviewers’ questions, was that I was only sure of one thing: I didn’t want to continue working in consumer PR.

With a BA in English and an MA in public communications, I was working in-house at a small luxury foods company where my job consisted of pitching products to consumer/lifestyle magazines and food writers. I got my first taste of PR in this role, where I was able to secure placements in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for a line of luxury jams. The success was a great feeling, but there was a void where I wished that I had been responsible for something more impactful. Surely, the jams and other edibles were delectable, but I was feeling unfulfilled and not mentally stimulated after about a year of pitching food products.

I wanted the chance to work in a more academic, fast-paced environment, where I could apply my smarts, intuitiveness, and resourcefulness. I wanted to work with clients who were affected by the news of the day and to be confronted with crisis communications scenarios, just like I had practiced in my master’s program. I wanted to be challenged, to learn, and to grow every day. There was a chance that I wouldn’t end up being happy working in finance, but I was confident that I could pick it up quickly and do the job well.

I’m still convinced that only a slim majority of the people who interviewed me thought I could do the job—but it was enough to get offered the position. The catch was, because Prosek was taking a risk on me, that I’d be hired on a temp-to-perm, 3-month trial basis until I could prove my aptitude. While I was nervous about it at the time, I trusted myself and took the offer. The learning curve was steep at the onset, but I ended up getting hired on full-time a month ahead of schedule.

I’m now an Account Supervisor at Prosek, a reliable counselor to my clients, and a loyal team member to my colleagues. I’ve had the opportunity to grow by being tasked with overcoming new challenges every day, but equally as important, I’ve had access to a network of collaborative colleagues who are always willing to lend their expertise in these scenarios. Because I love the people I work with, I have fun even when I’m stressed. I feel smarter today than I was yesterday, and I know I’ll learn something new tomorrow. The best part about working here is that every day feels a little different than the last.

My path to Prosek might have been a gamble for both parties, but I like to think that both of us came out on top. 

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