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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Suffolk alums share career journeys and advice at Women In Media panel

Grace MacDonald
Morgan Austin, Samiha Al-Sabbagh, Angela Christoforos, Elainy Mata and Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber pose for a picture at the Women In Media panel.

Three Suffolk University alumnae returned to campus Nov. 9 as panelists for the Women In Media event hosted by the Career Center. 

The panel, moderated by Morgan Austin, the assistant director of the journalism, media and communication career community, and Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber, associate professor and chair of the department of communication and journalism, featured alumnae Elainy Mata, Angela Christoforos and Samiha Al-Sabbagh.

Mata graduated in 2017 with both a bachelor’s in political science with a broadcast journalism minor and a master’s in political science. Christoforos received her journalism degree in 2012. Al-Sabbagh is a 2011 graduate with a degree in communications with a focus in public relations.

In an event that was conversational, personal and relaxed, the women shared their career journeys, each one emphasizing that journeys aren’t linear and one can pivot anytime they want.

Christoforos and Mata recounted how their time at Suffolk was instrumental in starting their careers and getting to where they are now. Christoforos said the Career Center connected her with her first internships and allowed her to shadow a broadcast news reporter, solidifying her desire to pursue broadcast journalism. Mata was a Suffolk in the City reporter for NECN during her senior year, an opportunity that’s exclusive to Suffolk.

Christoforos started as an intern at Channel 7 WHDH in Boston, then became a production assistant and a news writer before moving to a small town in Maine to begin her career as an on-air reporter. She eventually worked a morning show in Buffalo, New York. In 2019, she pivoted to the public relations industry and now works as a senior specialist of external communications for Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“That was not part of my plan, but I’m really happy where I am now,” Christoforos said. “You kind of just have to trust the process … If I could talk to myself back then, I would be like ‘Don’t worry about it.’”

After graduating, Mata was supposed to go to New York to be in an off-Broadway show. 

“Everything I had planned for after graduation didn’t work out, so I worked at the YMCA for about a year,” Mata said. “Then someone came to me looking for field organizers for a campaign, and since it was in my field, I decided to try it, and I hated it. I didn’t mix well with that crowd. I got fired from the job.”

Mata, however, is grateful she was fired.

“If something doesn’t work out, take it as ‘this is a blessing in disguise,’” Mata told the audience.

Being fired allowed her to work full-time for the Greater Boston Stage Company, working her first professional show. Additionally, she had an opportunity to become a production assistant for a film at the same time, which led to more doors opening in the industry, including Netflix, where Mata was a production assistant for the film “Spenser Confidential,” and 20th Century Fox, where she was the visual effects production assistant for “Free Guy.”

Now, Mata is a multimedia producer at Harvard Business Publishing, and she recently launched “New Here,” a Harvard Business Publishing podcast for people early in their careers.

Al-Sabbagh wanted to work in public relations after college and did a few internships post-grad to get experience. She recalled being disappointed after finally landing a temporary position at a firm but not getting hired full-time.

“Along the way, I realized, is this really what I want to be doing? I kind of missed that face-to-face interaction,” Al-Sabbagh said.

Al-Sabbagh worked in many different fields, from insurance to the tech industry. She ultimately discovered her love for community management after getting a job at a coworking space. Al-Sabbagh is now a community manager for the real estate company JLL, where she develops and plans programming and events for office tenants.

Starting a career can be daunting and the panelists acknowledged the fears and anxieties that come after graduating, with many of them having experienced the same feelings. Ultimately, they wanted students to know that they’re never “stuck” in their careers.

“Say you do find that job in your field and you’re like, ‘This isn’t it, I’m not fulfilled in this,’ you can just close that door and look for another one. There’s always endless opportunities,” said Al-Sabbagh.

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About the Contributor
Grace MacDonald, Graduate Copy Editor | she/her
Grace is a graduate student from Seekonk, Mass., majoring in communication with an integrated marketing communication concentration. Besides having a passion for writing, she enjoys listening to Taylor Swift, watching movies and exploring the city. She loves to travel and rock climbs in her free time. After graduating, she hopes to work in corporate communications. Follow Grace on Twitter @GraceM123456

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