Alumna shares career experiences

By Meghan Hurley
October 27, 2006

Don’t be afraid to stray away from a life plan because it probably won’t turn out that way. This advice comes firsthand from a Cabrini alumna and extremely influential woman in the world of politics.

Christy Mason Cox, the current chief-of-staff to the U.S. Ambassador to Canada and a graduate of the class of ’88, spoke to a crowd of over 200 English and communication majors on Thursday, Oct. 19 in the Widener Lecture Hall.

“Have goals, know what you want to do but when opportunity knocks, be ready to throw them out the door,” Cox said. “Go with you’re gut and go where it leads you.”

Cox came to Cabrini to study communications. She took video, radio and journalism classes and was news editor of the Loquitur. She hoped to be an anchorwoman for a major news station in the Philadelphia area. She never thought she would end up in politics, or in Canada.

One of the things that she stressed the most was the importance of internships. “The single most important thing I did at school was internships,” Cox said, “Internships, internships, internships. There is nothing more important to your career than internships.”

Both her internships were learning experiences and she says she wouldn’t change anything about them because she gained so much experience. From taking phone calls to cutting an audition tape, everything she did at her internships was valuable.

“It’s all about what you project.attitude still means a lot.attitude is everything,” Cox said.

Getting into the real world was no easy task for Cox. She couldn’t find a job after graduation so she spent her summer parking boats. She then volunteered to work for free for a local station, just so she “could get her foot in the door.”

After that, she moved to Iowa for her first paying position with a local television station. She managed to “thrive” at this job, even though it was chock full of mistakes, including taping over an exclusive interview with the governor.

“I’m really glad that at points in my life I didn’t say this is what I’m going to be .when opportunity knocks, go for it.I am living proof you can be far from perfect and still make a career for yourself,” Cox said.

Conflicts over her contract and meeting her future husband caused Cox to leave the station and go to work as the secretary to the press secretary of the governor of South Carolina. She worked her way up to head speech writer and communications director for the governor and then became the chief-of-staff for the speaker of the house. The speaker then became the ambassador to Canada and Cox moved her family to Canada to work as his chief-of-staff and head speechwriter there.

Cox never thought she would end up in politics, but that didn’t stop her from taking the positions and being successful.

Cox said, “This was never part of my game plan but I hope you leave here a little bit encouraged about the road ahead because there are a lot of twists and turns.and you have to take risks.”

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Meghan Hurley

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