Western’s Ancell School of Business gave Allie Freitas the skills she needed to climb the corporate ladder
After earning her degree, Freitas realized WCSU also instilled in her the interpersonal skills and drive to make a difference in the lives of others
After earning a marketing degree from Western’s Ancell School of Business, Allie Freitas had her pick of Fortune 500 positions. But instead of climbing the corporate ladder, the 23-year-old New Fairfield native opted to spend her days helping people who cope with rare disease.
When she graduated from WCSU in May 2011, Freitas accepted a position as the online communities coordinator for the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) and works uniting people who share common illnesses.
“I am inspired by people. It’s that human interaction in seeing the effect you can have on someone else,” Freitas said. “I never thought I’d be working for a nonprofit. While it has brought an incredible opportunity to network and travel and work with Fortune 500 companies, it’s that personal satisfaction of helping someone and doing good for someone who is severely affected.”
NORD, a grassroots organization started in 1983 in New Fairfield, has three offices — Washington, D.C., Boston and Danbury — with some 40 employees. Freitas’ role includes managing online global online communities for patients and running patient networking meetings for pharmaceutical companies. Part of her job also includes international travel; she has been to Ireland, Spain and France to partake in a global partnership with a similar European organization. “I work directly with rare disease patients, providing them with resources on their disease and being a rare disease advocate.”
One of Freitas’s most gratifying moments came from a patient who developed a rare blood cancer; he was a first responder at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Through the organization’s online efforts, the first responder met three other first responders with the same illness. Freitas said they were able to share a common bond and reach out to each other.
“The networking facilitates conversations between people and it gives them hope,” Freitas said.
Freitas chose to transfer to Western from a larger university because it was closer to home and to better job opportunities. She was pleased not only with the small classes, but with the caliber of courses offered at the Ancell School.
It was the intimate class setting that allowed Freitas to interact with her professors, something that wasn’t possible at a larger university. The exposure to the corporate environment through her courses also instilled a sense of confidence and gave her the skills she needed to make presentations, communicate effectively and work closely with clients.
The daughter of former Western students Antonio and Sharon Freitas, she commuted to classes from her parents’ home in New Fairfield. “I never regretted leaving a larger institution to come to a university in my community,” Freitas said. “I really polished my corporate skills during my time at Western."
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