On Thursday, Jan. 24, three Denison trustees dedicated their afternoon to hold a discussion about their experiences with transitioning into life off the Hill. James Anderson ‘85, Cynthia Booth ‘79, and RoNita Hawes-Saunders ‘73 spoke in Talbot Hall to provide insights about the process.
Anderson was a theatre major during his years at Denison. “I always knew I wanted to be in entertainment in some form or fashion. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew that was the area I wanted to be in,” said Anderson. Today, he is working as the senior vice president of communications for Turner Broadcasting System’s Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media group. His job includes supporting Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and Adult Swim. “They said, ‘We think you’ve grown in this. Here’s another title for you, you can now build yourself a department.’ So I stayed 20 years”. Anderson went on to launch approximately 40 shows for TBS.
Booth told students about her history with Denison and her experiences in New York after she graduated. “I went to New York and did some research in Black Theatre, and really found out that the career I wanted in terms of theatre was not what I really wanted to do after graduation”. Booth went on to become a Vice President in the banking industry, and later became the President/CEO and Owner of COBCO Enterprises, a privately held company that owns six McDonald’s franchises. Booth told students, “what I learned about myself, what I learned about my Denison education, and what I learned about what the resources here brought me, was the opportunity to be able to think outside the box.” She went on to talk about what students should look for when trying to launch their career after graduating. “The best starting job is the one in which you will be worked very hard by managers with high standards, taught up-to-date, transferrable skills, and given a chance to show your worth.”
Hawes-Saunders reflected on her experiences in the business world as a female African-American. “The challenge of being able to listen, have your voice heard, when it is something that is important to the topic, to the career, to whatever it is that you’re responsible for, that was challenging.” As someone who was in a job position which was usually otherwise taken on by older, white males, she found herself facing challenges many of those around her could not relate to. To make one’s voice heard and respected, she tells students it is important to use their voice with style, clarity, and composure. “You are there to do a job, and whatever you’re communicating, making sure that you’re communicating something that will help the job you’re doing.”
Anderson, Booth, and Hawes-Saunders advise students to take advantage of the opportunities available on campus, saying “it really helps to round you out and make you a great person”.