Sandra Siira ’97 came to Alverno to earn a degree that would allow her to support her family. She got so much more.
“The journey was so challenging. It was a great experience because it took me to a much higher level of life fulfillment and satisfaction, and it enhanced my ability to do so many things in my personal life and my professional life,” she says.
In the 20 years after graduating, Siira has stayed connected to her alma mater as a member of Alverno’s alumnae board, through attending alumnae events and by serving as a volunteer assessor. Now, she’s taking on a new role – in January, she became the new executive director of Alverno’s Career and Professional Development Center.
“I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to re-imagine the Career and Professional Development Center to ensure that we’re meeting the expectations of students, their families, employers and our communities by providing meaningful learning experiences through the internship programs,” she says. “We will also build upon the great reputation that Alverno currently has and become more well-known so that employers are eager for our graduates to join them.”
To connect students and graduates to career opportunities and prepare them for success, Siira will leverage her extensive professional experience and broad community ties. She is involved with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and serves on the board of directors for Easter Seals of Southeast Wisconsin.
As a longtime executive who led human resources departments and oversaw hiring practices at area colleges and major corporations like FedEx and Allen-Edmonds Shoe Corp., Siira knows exactly what employers are looking for. As a result, she’ll be able to help students shine in job interviews and choose the best career path.
“I’m really excited about making connections in the greater Milwaukee area and moving out west and further south to Racine and Kenosha. They’re experiencing such a boom in employment opportunities, so I want to make sure that they know about Alverno and the quality education our students receive,” she says.
Siira, an alum herself, can explain firsthand what makes an Alverno graduate special.
“What first comes to mind is the mastery of the 8 Abilities. As a former human resources executive, I see how important those abilities are in any type of work that an individual performs,” she says. “Many organizations place a high value on the abilities as competencies that they look to instill within their organizations. If those abilities already exist in a new employee, they’re positioned for success much earlier.”
Siira says her education created a ripple effect – not only did it improve her life and her career, but it allowed her to provide for her three young daughters and instill in them the value of higher education. In her new role, she hopes to use her Alverno education and past experiences to continue making an impact, by helping Alverno students and recent graduates successfully navigate into careers where they can not only do meaningful work but also where they can personally and professionally flourish.
“While some of my contribution will be indirect in creating relationships and partnerships with community members, I know that the long-term impact will be on the students and their families,” she says. “Cast a stone in the water and there’s this rippling effect. I think I’ll be able to do that in the years ahead, and that’s very rewarding.”