Christopher Stevenson graduated from KSC in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. Stevenson is currently a technology entrepreneur.
“Essentially, this means that I start, operate, advise and/or invest in technology businesses. The businesses I’m currently involved with are focused on I[nformation] T[echnology] consulting and support services, cognitive computing and digital media,” Stevenson said.
He continued, “I often joke with friends that I chose this unorthodox path to avoid getting a ‘real job,’ and frankly, although I’m having a blast, I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.”
Stevenson is a co-founder of iCorps Technologies: IT Services & Consulting in 1995.
He is a current board member and they have offices in various locations including Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
Additionally, he co-founded OnWords Inc in 2010. It is a digital media technology company that provides technology solutions to online publishers and advertisers. Stevenson is the current CEO.
Being a technology entrepreneur wasn’t Stevenson’s intended career path post graduation.
“Honestly, I didn’t have much of a plan [for after graduation]. It was more of a vague idea. I knew, or I thought I knew, I wanted to write for a newspaper or magazine. My girlfriend [now my wife] had graduated KSC a year ahead of me and was living in Boston. So the basic plan was to move to Boston, find a job and figure things out from there,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson enjoys three main things about his career.
He said he enjoys the people. “I get to meet so many talented, intelligent and wonderfully insane people, from investors and fellow entrepreneurs, to customers, employees and strategic partners. I’m addicted to the buzz I get from meeting people and hearing their stories and experiences,” Stevenson said.
He continued by explaining that one of his advisors once told him, “Your network is your net worth,” and with the 30 years he has been in business, he agrees she was spot on.
“The second thing I love is that I get to dance on the edge of innovation and new technologies every day. Working to solve big problems or take something from an idea to a completed project is quite a rush. I don’t think I would be happy at a desk job,” Stevenson said.
Lastly, Stevenson enjoys being the boss within his career.
He said he is unsure if he will ever work for someone else in his lifetime. “I realized a few years ago that I am happier when I have control over the process of making my vision a reality,” Stevenson explained.
As far as the future of Stevenson’s career goes, he said he doesn’t have much of a plan, but rather he will figure it out as he goes, just like after graduating.
He said he would like to get to the point in his career that he “is mainly investing in and advising businesses as opposed to operating them.”
Stevenson said, “Although I enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the challenge of building and running businesses, the grind can wear on you after a few decades. And ideally, I’d like to spend more time supporting and advising some amazing non-profits that strive every day to improve the lives of others both here and around the world. There’s a lot of good work to do and only so many hours in the day.”
According to Stevenson, Keene’s liberal arts program was able to provide him with a well-rounded education and it was eye-opening to various viewpoints and enforced him critical thinking skills in the classroom.
“The school’s modest size allowed me to get involved in numerous organizations, where I was inspired and encouraged to become a leader. As editorial editor of The Equinox, I learned about the power of the pen, and how important it is to use that power wisely, honestly and with integrity. As president of Phi Mu Delta fraternity, I learned the awesome challenges and responsibility that come with leading a national organization,” Stevenson said.
He continued, “In a nutshell, KSC gave me exactly what I needed to achieve success in the world of business and in life. My apologies if that sounds like a commercial for Keene, but it’s just the plain truth as I see it.”
In his personal life, Stevenson has a wife of 26 years, Michele, who graduated from Keene in 1987.
Currently, she works in the senior assisted living industry and intends to complete her masters degree in Gerontology from the University of Massachusetts Boston in May.
Christopher and Michele have two children, Madeline who is 23 years old and graduated from New York University last May and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Thomas, who is a 21-year-old college junior who attends Denison University in Ohio
Stevenson misses Keene State dearly.
He said, “I miss it all. I found KSC to be a warm place, where you could always find a group of folks to sit with in the commons, a completely different group to play hacky sack with on Appian Way and another group to play guitar with on Oya Hill. I know it sounds corny, but I miss the people [and] the communities within the community.” Stevenson joked, “Also, I know this isn’t about the college per se, but I miss Athens Pizza.”
As seniors approach their last few months of college, Stevenson’s word of advice would be to enjoy every remaining second.
“It’s a truly unique experience that you will not be able to replicate in your lifetime. Beyond that, as you enter the workforce, be flexible, open-minded and opportunistic. The world is changing at a frenetic pace. Don’t be afraid to jump in, get your feet wet and learn something new,” Stevenson said.
He continued, “The most important skills in this economy are versatility, adaptability and integrity. If you prove to be reliable, trustworthy and able to handle curve balls, you will quickly become invaluable to virtually any company and opportunities will open up to you faster than you can imagine. If you wait for the ‘perfect job,’ opportunities will quickly pass you by.”
Jason Beckta graduated from KSC in 2008 with an individualized major, behavioral biology.
After graduation, Beckta’s plans included going to Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) MD-PhD program.
The program is a dual-doctorate program and Beckta attended both medical and graduate school there.
Currently, Beckta is a Resident Physician at Yale University.
For the future of Beckta’s career, he has some uncertainty.
He’ll remain at Yale for the next several years as he finishes residency, but is unsure what will come after that.
“Keene State was the basis for my entire career. The resources, people and opportunities available at KSC are the reason I was able to continue on into medical school,” Beckta said.
It’s hard for Beckta to pick a single aspect of his career that he enjoys.
“Something I enjoy very much is teaching the medical students who rotate with our teams and watching them learn and develop as time goes on,” he said.
Beckta has been married to his wife for almost six years. They were dating while he attended Keene State and have known each other since middle school.
The atmosphere at KSC is something Beckta misses.
“Both VCU and Yale are very large universities in very urban areas. Keene State always felt like much more of a community to me. Since moving to much larger institutions, I’ve come to appreciate KSC’s atmosphere more and more,” Beckta said.
Beckta’s advice is something most learn at a very young age.
“Never forget what you learned in kindergarten. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Nothing has consistently helped me achieve more than just trying to follow the Golden Rule,” Beckta said.
Lastly, a recent graduating Owl Gabbie Pace graduated from KSC in 2016 with a Bachelors of Science in Occupational Safety and Health.
Before graduation came in May, Pace knew she would be moving to Orlando, Florida, to pursue an Occupational Safety and Health internship with Walt Disney World.
“My role as an intern transitioned into a salaried full time position with the company. I currently work as an Associate Safety Professional at the Magic Kingdom, supporting Main Street/Park Arrival,” Pace explained.
Pace describes her role as “unique.”
“Typically, a safety professional will be in manufacturing, construction, insurance, etc. Being in entertainment is distinct, but also allows you to learn from a variety of lines of business. Every day, I do something different, which keeps my work interesting and fun. Not many people can say that their boss is a mouse,” Pace said.
She said it’s difficult to see where she’ll be five years down the road with the company, but she does hope to continue to grow within it.
“Safety is definitely a rarity in the industry as whole, but the program at Keene State is very well-known and respected by employers. Getting my degree at KSC helped to set me apart from some of my competitors. Also, being involved with professional development student chapters such as the American Society for Safety Engineers and Rho Sigma Kappa, the safety honor society, allowed me to connect with professionals in the field and have continual growth,” Pace explained.
Pace misses the people at Keene State.
She said she was able to make sincere relationships with not only her peers, but also professors.
Pace continued and said there will always be the feeling of not having them with her daily, but most of them are a phone call away.
Pace said, “The best advice I can give is to go all in. When interviewing for a position as an intern, I was specifically told that full time is near impossible. I could have stayed home and found a great job, but I knew I wanted more. Hard work and perseverance will get you far, especially as a professional up-and-coming in your field.”
She continued, “Anyone can do a great job, but it is the people that go above and beyond that will stand out from their peers. Work hard and don’t doubt your ability to be great.”
Emma Hamilton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org