Gabrielle Gjelaj ’18, a sports marketing major on the PLV Campus, will be the third person in her family to graduate from Pace. She’s also an original member of Pace Delivers board, plays lacrosse, and currently interns at Con Ed. Did you know she taught herself how to play two instruments?
Gabrielle Gjelaj ’18 is a sports marketing major on the PLV Campus with a competitive streak on and off the field. Both of her older sisters graduated from Pace, so she hit the ground running when she got to the PLV Campus. Gjelaj has worked as a media assistant for Pace Athletics, currently interns at Con Edison, and even got involved in the early stages of Pace Delivers by heading up their marketing team. Not to mention the fact that she plays for the women’s lacrosse team—a role she takes as seriously as her employment positions.
While most of her successes come from her immense talent and ambition, Gjelaj credits the Career Services team for helping to prepare her for the workforce. For anyone looking to land an internship or a job after graduation, she has plenty of advice. Read on to learn more!
Why did you end up choosing Pace? What set Pace apart from other universities?
There are many reasons why I chose Pace to pursue my undergraduate degree. I originally decided to transfer in my sophomore year because I was interested in being closer to the city in order to have a better chance of networking with professionals. I also transferred to take advantage of Pace’s prestigious Career Services department. What sets Pace apart is the overwhelming support and mentorship from professors, staff, and peers. Pace truly prepares its students for a successful career and life after college.
How did you hear about Career Services?
I first heard about Career Services from my sisters who are Pace alumni. Both have had tremendous success that was facilitated by resume reviews, interview prep, LinkedIn Workshops, and more, which was all provided by Career Services. One of my sisters received her undergraduate degree in accounting at Pace and completed her masters in Real Estate Finance at NYU. She currently works at Point72. My other sister received her undergraduate nursing degree at Pace, just completed her FNP graduate degree at Pace, and is now studying for her doctorate in nursing—also at Pace. She is currently working at Montefiore.
Who worked with you?
I worked with a myriad of Career Services counselors including Jim Davis, Nicole Catalfamo, and Julie Kirshner. All were extremely helpful and a pleasure to work with.
What was the preparation process like?
People can work with Career Services at any level in their job search. From someone who doesn’t even know what a resume is to someone who has extensive experience, Career Services will sit down and assess your needs. Personally, I came in with a very basic resume. By sitting down and going over job descriptions, we were able to edit my resume so that it would be appealing to employers.
Each counselor made me feel extremely comfortable as they provided constructive criticism, suggestions, and support. I was constantly encouraged to network with various industry professionals, which is probably the greatest advice I received. I was told to act confident and not feel awkward when approaching or contacting individuals in positions I found interesting, which is something that continues to help me build my professional network. My network has definitely contributed to my success.
My advice would be to keep in touch with your career counselors because they are always looking to match students with open positions. If you keep your name and your resume fresh in their minds, they will be sure to send you relevant positions pertaining to your experience and major and will recommend you for positions you’re interested in.
Of all your employment positions, which did you like the best? What was a defining moment for you while working there?
Each place of employment is a chance to learn and grow in a variety of fields. It is so important to get out of your comfort zone and intern in positions that have completely different job descriptions. I am a sports marketing major and, believe it or not, my favorite position is my current one at Con Edison. This internship has provided me with hands-on experience in fields such as accounting, finance, management, and even engineering. As an intern, I am assigned projects that actually make a difference for the company and its customers. I am exposed to the operations of the company by actually putting on a hard hat and steel-toed boots to go out into the field.
The defining moment for me was being able to work on a project that helped out with the efforts to restore power in Puerto Rico. My work on that project will have a lasting effect on the circuit maps they will utilize for years to come.
You’re a member of Pace Deliver’s original board. How did it come about? What inspired you to get involved?
Pace Delivers came about when the incredible Paula Castelblanco ’17 and Marcus Solomon ’17 won Pace’s Shark Tank competition by presenting the business model behind Pace Delivers. I was working the front desk at the Goldstein Fitness Center when I had the pleasure of meeting Kathy Winsted, PhD, who heads up the Center for Student Enterprise. We got to talking and she invited me to speak to Paula and Marcus about becoming the head of marketing to help start up the company. I was more than excited to take on this position and work with such an incredible group of students. The team of superheroes included Paula, Marcus, Gabriella Rubin ’18, Malakhi Smith ’19, Brian O’Leary ’19, and the rest of the hired staff truly put in the work to open up Pace Delivers. A huge thanks to all of the investors, Dr. Winsted, and everyone who is currently running the business.
What motivates you?
My motivations include my family, God, and a desire to learn. I am so blessed for the immense support from my parents who push me to be better every single day. My biggest goal in life is to make them proud through higher education and a successful career. I hope to one day give back to them as much as they have given me. My siblings are also my biggest role models as they have all completed their masters and continue to succeed (or maybe it’s the classic competitive sibling in me).
I also believe that God is there in the good times and the bad times, which truly pushes me to be my best self as I try to live every day with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Finally, I have a deep desire to learn. My uncle recently passed away from cancer, which taught me that life is too short to not live every day as a better version of yourself. He truly was a human encyclopedia and always fueled my own desire to learn and expand my horizons.
What do you like about lacrosse? How has it shaped you as a professional?
My favorite aspects of lacrosse include the speed of the sport, my teammates, and the competition that comes with it. The speed of the sport has allowed me to develop an ability to handle a lot of moving parts while maintaining my cool. This has helped me as a professional when many tasks are assigned with a fast-approaching deadline. My teammates have taught me how to work with people of completely different backgrounds to achieve a goal. It is so important to understand that everyone has their own area of expertise and strengths, which means you can learn so much from a diverse group.
Finally, the competition that comes with lacrosse has established a competitive edge in my everyday life. I always strive to outwork the person next to me, and yet I am always excited to celebrate everyone’s successes.
Tell us fun and/or surprising fact about you! What’s something most people don’t know?
I actually play three instruments! I play cello and taught myself how to play piano and guitar.
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