| September 18, 2016

Julie Perrone, Senior Advisor, Communications for SNC-Lavalin

Julie Perrone, Senior Advisor, Communications for SNC-Lavalin

BY: as told by Julie Perrone / as written by Catherine Nygren

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For my PhD, I researched cancer politics, masculinity, and Canadian identity in the construction of Terry Fox as a national hero. Other than a small travel bursary and several RAships, I didn’t receive any funding. Instead, during my PhD I held a full-time job as Executive Director at the Association of Canadian Studies, which involved tasks like editing, writing articles, and organizing conferences; my PhD research complemented the subject work of my job.

My supervisor was attentive and checked that I was on track, but allowed me to work independently without pressuring me. Other than my supervisor, I didn’t seek out mentoring, preferring to figure out things on my own, particularly since some resources, especially in getting a job, were lacking at the time. In my first year, we still had seminars to provide a sense of community, but afterwards we ended up working independently; there weren’t really any events, lunch-and-learns, or other ways to easily keep in touch.

I completed my degree in five years, in 2013; my supervisor’s impending sabbatical was a motivation to move things more quickly. After graduation, I received a teaching contract and a postdoctoral fellowship at Concordia. By then, I was still working at the Association for Canadian Studies and in that context I worked on a social research project for VIA Rail. After this one contract, the person who commissioned the project recognized that an expertise like mine could be an asset for the organization. He asked me, “How can I use your knowledge at VIA Rail?” and, when he rose in the corporation, he hired me as Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications. Since then, I’ve moved to working as Senior Advisor, Communications for SNC-Lavalin, using the writing, analytical and research skills I’ve learned throughout my studies.

In these positions, I don’t draw on my PhD research topic, but the skills I acquired as part of my PhD training are very relevant and useful. Being able to analyze and synthesize large amounts of data, to research credible sources, and to compose high-quality documents much more quickly than other people is a significant advantage. I use these skills every day, and I require minimal direction from my superiors to understand complex tasks. In some ways, I wish I had known earlier that how capable I was at handling the type of work carried out by academics: perhaps I would have opted for an academic career earlier.

 


POLL – Supplementary skills

For my PhD, I researched cancer politics, masculinity, and Canadian identity in the construction of Terry Fox as a national hero. Other than a small travel bursary and several RAships, I didn’t receive any funding. Instead, during my PhD I held a full-time job as Executive Director at the Association of Canadian Studies, which involved tasks like editing, writing articles, and organizing conferences; my PhD research complemented the subject work of my job.

My supervisor was attentive and checked that I was on track, but allowed me to work independently without pressuring me. Other than my supervisor, I didn’t seek out mentoring, preferring to figure out things on my own, particularly since some resources, especially in getting a job, were lacking at the time. In my first year, we still had seminars to provide a sense of community, but afterwards we ended up working independently; there weren’t really any events, lunch-and-learns, or other ways to easily keep in touch.

I completed my degree in five years, in 2013; my supervisor’s impending sabbatical was a motivation to move things more quickly. After graduation, I received a teaching contract and a postdoctoral fellowship at Concordia. By then, I was still working at the Association for Canadian Studies and in that context I worked on a social research project for VIA Rail. After this one contract, the person who commissioned the project recognized that an expertise like mine could be an asset for the organization. He asked me, “How can I use your knowledge at VIA Rail?” and, when he rose in the corporation, he hired me as Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications. Since then, I’ve moved to working as Senior Advisor, Communications for SNC-Lavalin, using the writing, analytical and research skills I’ve learned throughout my studies.

In these positions, I don’t draw on my PhD research topic, but the skills I acquired as part of my PhD training are very relevant and useful. Being able to analyze and synthesize large amounts of data, to research credible sources, and to compose high-quality documents much more quickly than other people is a significant advantage. I use these skills every day, and I require minimal direction from my superiors to understand complex tasks. In some ways, I wish I had known earlier that how capable I was at handling the type of work carried out by academics: perhaps I would have opted for an academic career earlier.

 


POLL – Supplementary skills

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