Profile by Queen-Nzinga Alfred (’19)
Who is Gianna Sandri Antolos?
Gianna Sandri Antolos is an alumna of Pace University who grew up in a rural town in New Jersey. She decided to attend Pace because she wanted to be in New York but wasn’t ready to take on the big city.
Gianna came to Pace undecided, but English was her first choice, and she made her decision freshman year after loving her English courses. She worked hard in college in order to achieve her goals. While she had some obstacles finding a job, she never gave up.
She is an author for Booksforbetterliving.com and Readitforward.com and is also a freelance marketer and writer employed by Penguin Random House. She was previously a Marketing Manager for celebrity books with Crown Publishing. A year ago she gave birth to her daughter and was fortunate enough to continue working for her previous boss as a freelance marketer from home, and she also writes weekly articles for Books for Better Living.
Opportunities of an English Major
Gianna made it clear that being an English major has many opportunities if you’re willing to work hard and seek them out. She told me,
“The doors will only open if you pry them open and demand to be looked at for positions that you wouldn’t normally think you’d fit the bill for.”
Gianna applied everywhere she could for an internship to gain in-office experience before she graduated. Due to her determination, she received many internships with different companies such as a Sales Intern at Pearson, a PR Intern for Viacom’s channel LOGO, and a casting internship at ABC’s One Life to Live. These internships would open many more doors for her in the future. Because they were so different she learned many different applicable skills from each one.
Being an English major is important because companies want employees who can communicate well and edit carefully.
“Being an English major makes you desirable because you have fundamental skills that many lack. Put the management major and the English major side by side in an entry-level job interview at advertising agency and I guarantee you the English major has a leg up.”
While attending Pace University, Gianna Sandri Antolos received many awards such as the Jean Bueti Award for Academic and Extra Curricular Excellence and the Career Services Experiential Award. She was also Vice President of Programming and Administration for the Student Government while at Pace.
Although she had a job prospect upon graduation, she learned a very difficult lesson regarding the corporate world from the beginning, and she lost her job offer due to the ill advice of a mentor. While she had landed a Marketing Assistant position at Pearson, she received the ill advice of a previously respected Vice President who told her to interview for a higher level job she knew she didn’t have the experience for. Needless to say, she did not get the higher-level job despite the promises of the Vice President, and she also lost her opportunity as a Marketing Assistant. Upset, but determined, Gianna applied everywhere and decided that the best decision at that time was to go back to school and get her Master’s in English Literature at Centenary University, where she earned her degree for free while she worked as a Resident Director on campus. While she had a bad experience with one individual, she kept in touch with the wonderful people she met at Pearson through her internship. Keeping in touch with them paid off, because after receiving her Master’s degree, they asked her if she would like to interview for a job in the Marketing department again. She did, and became a Marketing Assistant for Business and Communications textbooks at Pearson Education.
After working at Pearson for nearly two years, an HR rep from Random House found Gianna on LinkedIn and asked if she’d like to interview for a position as Marketing Associate for the business division of Crown Publishing. This position opened more doors for her, when she was reassigned from business books to celebrity books, and began working on the marketing plans for numerous memoirs and nonfiction books. Some of the most notable books she worked on are Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele, Neil Patrick Harris’ Autobiography, Billy Joel, Gotta Give the People What They Want by Jalen Rose, and books by Mindy Kaling. After about two years she was promoted to Associate Marketing Manager.
While working at Penguin Random House, Gianna began writing for Read It Forward, and published an article about her favorite childhood author Sharon Creech and her book Walk Two Moons. Sharon Creech actually read Gianna’s article, responded to it, and sent her a signed copy of the book.
Gianna’s mentor was Dr. Rebecca Martin, who gave Gianna both support and motivation. Gianna said,
“She really gave me the confidence I needed to stick to my guns and follow through with what I wanted, not what was easy to settle for.”
This is the drive that forced her to keep apply for internships and jobs even when it felt like nothing was going to progress for her.
More Words of Advice from Gianna Sandri Antolos
“You have to recognize where your talents are, then what makes you happy. When you figure out what you excel at and what gives you joy, you’ve found your passion.”
“Your passion is whatever you naturally gravitate towards, whether you realize it or not- you don’t choose it—it chooses you.”
“At any moment, you may run into someone who could become a vital connection in your career advancement. I got my internship at Pearson because I met the VP on a trip in Florida and struck up a friendly conversation. So be kind to everyone you meet.”