Alumni Connections Lead to Unexpected Career Turns
By Victoria Kidd, editor
When Colleen Sullivan ’85 Trevisan landed a job at Vogue magazine fresh out of college, she had no idea her good fortune would start a chain reaction that would ripple through the lives of two other Susquehanna alumnae, too.
Although she was an economics major, Trevisan says she always wanted to work in magazines. “I was very lucky to land a job at Vogue right out of Susquehanna. At the time, you needed a degree from one of the seven sister colleges or be related to a famous fashion designer to get a job at Vogue. I’m still not sure how I squeaked in there,” says the Upper Saddle River, N.J., native.
Trevisan worked for legendary editor Shirley Lord, who became a dedicated mentor. “Although,”Trevisan quips, “my first task on Day One was to buy Barbara Walters a birthday present. Believe everything you saw in The Devil Wears Prada.” After six years at Vogue, Trevisan moved on to Working Woman for two years, then McCall’s for four years. When Trevisan had her first child in 1997, she quickly realized a full-time job wasn’t going to work. “I was commuting three hours a day and my life-work balance was off,” she says. “I put the word on the street that I was looking for a more flexible situation, and luckily Time Inc. called with a three-day position at Health.”
As Health’s beauty and fashion director, Trevisan soon needed assistants of her own. In 2000, she contacted Susquehanna after hearing the university was looking to place students from the graduating class. “Truthfully, I had always hired assistants with past magazine experience,” Trevisan says. “But Leah and I shared a lot of the same experiences at Susquehanna, and her résumé caught my eye.”
The Leah to whom she refers, is Leah Wyar-Romito ’00 who had graduate school in her sights until Trevisan gave the inexperienced 22-year-old a shot in the commercial magazine industry. This year, Wyar-Romito, now at Cosmopolitan magazine, had the opportunity to mentor her own newly minted Susquehanna alumna, Kellie Nebiker ’12, who did an internship with her at Cosmopolitan before landing a full-time job at Oprah magazine, nearly a month before having her degree in hand.