When Mary Canales told family members she was thinking about quitting college and going to cooking school they discouraged her, saying she couldn’t make a career out of cooking.
So, Canales continued on the traditional path, earning degrees in audiology and American Sign Language, with minors in French and Philosophy. She planned to pursue a career as an American Sign Language interpreter.
Canales remained keenly interested in cooking, though, and throughout her college years worked in a number of restaurants as a busser, hostess, wine steward and waitress.
One day, she was offered the opportunity to help in the kitchen. “It was really a turning point. I loved it so much and decided that was what I wanted to do,” she said.
So she took a leap of faith, changed career paths, and began cooking. After many years working in professional kitchens, including a nine year tenure as pastry chef at the legendary Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, Canales opened Ici Ice Cream in 2006.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else. I still love making ice cream and dessert. I love that it makes people happy,” she said. “The road is long and you may change your career two, or three, or more times and that’s normal. You’ve got to follow your passion.”
Canales, an O’Dowd parent, was one of nearly 40 professionals who participated in O’Dowd’s Career Day, held on March 17.
Junior students were able to choose from various presentations by alumni, parents and members of the community who discussed careers in many fields, including architecture, engineering, business, finance, health care, technology, law enforcement, journalism and marketing.
Justin Hartung ’90 and Amy Hyde ’93 teamed together to present on web content and digital publishing.
Hartung specializes in bringing concepts to life across multiple platforms – from articles and newsletters to viral social campaigns – as well as offers editorial expertise for marketing partnerships and development.
Hyde is a digital product consultant who has worked with publishers including AOL, HOB, Turner and the New York Times. Her focus is video strategy, advertising and content marketing across various platforms.
The pair talked about content strategy, the various roles one could have in the industry, what it takes to be successful, and various challenges in the field – such as audience fragmentation due to increased targeting of content.
“This election cycle was a perfect example of that. A lot of people were really surprised at the outcome of the election. And a reason for that is because we have this fragmentation and we see the news (targeted for us) and we see the reinforcement from our peer network, and we’re not always getting the other side and what different points of view might be,” Hyde said.
Students were appreciative of the opportunity to hear from the professionals.
Stephan Loukianoff ’18 is interested in starting his own clothing company and wanted to learn about effective ways to spread information broadly, whether it’s via website, social media, or other avenues. “It’s great to hear from people in different fields about their experiences,” he said.
After their presentations, the Career Day speakers were invited to join faculty members and staff for lunch in the theater lobby.
Career Day speakers included:
Tom Abdenour (athletic training)
Adele Moore Berry ’89 (marketing and branding)
Mary Canales (culinary)
Al Carrasco ’76 (finance and accounting)
Cara Conley ’10 (nursing)
Damon Covington ’91 (firefighter/paramedic)
Bob Cross (law)
James Cunningham ’09 (computer science)
Shana Daum (public relations)
Niccolo De Luca ’92 (politics, government and change making)
Annie Eagan ’89 (politics, government and change making)
Christopher Fee, M.D., ’89 (emergency medicine)
Cynthia Ferrari (psychology – marriage and family therapist)
Peter French ’84 (law enforcement-FBI)
Joe Garofoli (journalism)
Justin Hartung ’90 (web content and digital publishing)
Kevin Hester ’88 (building and construction management)
Jacelynn Hill ’01 (social work)
Amy Hyde ’93 (web content and digital publishing)
Lora Johnson, RN, MS, PNP (medicine)
Joel Julien ’87 (education)
Dr. Annie Kersting (research scientist)
Charles Lau, MD (medicine – radiology)
R. Patrick Malkassian ’89 (international business)
Susi Marzuola, AIA, LEED BD+C (architecture)
Lorenzo Manag ’11 (electrical engineering)
Sherri McMullen (fashion entrepreneur)
Dan Oppenheimer (biotech/business)
Meredith Parry (corporate law)
Charles Peoples III ’08 (stage and film)
Jodi Pincus (nonprofit management and sustainability)
Starr Saunders ’98 (music)
Steve Sciamanna ’74 (chemical engineering)
Rose Tandeta ’01 (child social services)
Ken Vierra Jr. (sports law)
Sgt. Richard Vierra ’85 (law enforcement)
Michael Wallman (engineer-Google)
Debra Waterhouse (nutrition and counseling)
Mark Wayland ’88 (business-corporate sales)