Grace Vasta, BA Psychology
Kejsi Shkreta's Valedictorian honors at St. Francis College's Winter 2018 Commencement was just one indication of the success in store for the high-achieving Business Management major.
After graduation, Kejsi forged an enviable career in legal recruiting, eventually landing at one of the nation's premier law firms located in midtown Manhattan. She is responsible for finding, screening and hiring some of the top legal talent in the United States.
Kejsi recently reflected on her years at St. Francis College and the professional life she pursued after.
Where did you grow up and attend high school?
I grew up in Albania and went to a private high school that was named after a very famous Albanian poet called Migjeni. In my third year in high school I obtained a scholarship to go to school in New York.
Why did you decide to attend St. Francis College?
I had a few scholarships from prestigious universities in Massachusetts but I wanted to go to school in New York, near the
skyscrapers, to be immersed in a cultural melting pot but also to be part of something that respected tradition and carried an air of respect.
And in my search I found St. Francis. I visited one day for open house and I was mesmerized by the warm welcome of the staff and the exciting things I heard about certain academic programs, numerous clubs and the Resident Advisor (RA) Program. Not to mention I had a full scholarship and later earned an RA role at the St. George Residence. Through this opportunity I was living in the heart of Brooklyn Heights near the beautiful Promenade.
What specific class or professor was instrumental to your success at St. Francis?
There were a few wonderful people that require a special thanks. Specifically Dr. Peter Gomori who was an SFC finance professor for more than 35 years [and is currently Professor Emeritus at the College]. I enjoyed the ideas and experience he shared through our lessons in business and finance over the years. He is a wonderful teacher and an inspiration to future entrepreneurs.
I also hold dear in my memories my public speaking professor, Dr. Augusta Palmer [Associate Professor, Communications Arts], and statistics professor. Dr. Esther Klein [Associate Professor, Management & Information Technology], from whom I learned to have an even stronger work ethic.
Who else in the St. Francis family had an impact on your collegiate career?
In my freshman year, I found out about the Gene and Ginna Donnelly scholarship which was an addition to my academic scholarship. This wasn't just a full scholarship that gave me peace and certainty that I wouldn't start my career with college debt. Gene and Ginna Donnelly became a second family to spend time with during holidays and offered wisdom and guidance throughout the years.
How did Franciscan values factor into your success at St. Francis and your career after?
The Franciscan mission is to commit to academic excellence, spiritual and moral values, social responsibility and life-long learning. During my time at St. Francis I embraced that mission and remained determined and diligent. I was able to graduate with a 4.0 GPA, be part of many clubs and had the responsibility to help my peers as an RA for 3.5 years.
I also continue to embody these principles at my current job in one of the top law firms in the country. My firm is committed to providing exceptional legal work and client service, the highest ethical standards, collaboration and professional growth, and diversity and social responsibility.
You work as an attorney recruiter at a major law firm in midtown Manhattan. How did St. Francis help you launch your career?
Through St. Francis College Career Center I was able to get very good internships which helped build a good resume and a variety of skills learned during these experiences. This and becoming Valedictorian contributed to my success at working for a respected law firm.
Describe what your job entails.
My current job is as a recruiter of attorneys and potential attorneys. Some of them come straight out of law school or from other firms. My focus in this role centers around overseeing the resources used when undergoing this process. Luckily, my firm currently resides in Times Square which makes for a very pleasant commute.
What advice do you have for current SFC students considering getting into your line of work?
Along with a driven desire to succeed, I hope all of you will use the opportunities at St. Francis College to push your education further and reach your greater ambitions. There are ample opportunities for extracurricular activities too. Join and lead many different clubs and groups and keep yourself busy with work outside. Join internships and volunteer programs. And continue relationships with people who have helped you. Find your momentum and keep going. Do not rest easy and keep hustling!