Tawny Alvarez ’05 was recently named partner at Verrill Dana in Portland, Maine.
As a first-year college student at Thomas College, she never thought this is where she would end up.
“I can’t say where I thought I’d be, but I know that whatever I imagined doesn’t live up to the life experiences and opportunities I’ve had to date,” she said.
At Thomas, Tawny majored in management, with a focus in marketing. She was very involved on campus: peer mentoring, Vice President of Student Senate, student-athlete, and she wrote for the school newspaper.
She found Thomas through former Women’s Basketball coach Chris Aube, who sold her on Thomas through the New England Leadership Scholarship and the Guaranteed Job Placement Program – as well as with several visits to campus.
“I really fell in love with the personal relationships that I saw at Thomas each time I visited,” she said. “I wasn’t used to being ‘just a number’ in high school, and I wanted to make sure that I had a similar experience in college – which I did.”
Tawny grew up in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, a small town with fewer than 5,000 people.
“It is a small town and a place that focuses on community. You know everyone, they know you, and they know your family. There are very few secrets,” she said. “Growing up in a place that small instilled in me a desire to give back.”
Although Tawny is not a first-generation student, neither of her parents received a four-year degree.
“I think the lack of a four-year model in a parent made it harder for me because I was looking at two people who I very much respected and admired, neither of whom had a four-year degree,” she said. “There were multiple moments during college when I questioned whether a college degree was worth it or if I could be just as happy as my parents without one. Ultimately (clearly), I’m glad that I finished college and went on to law school.”
Tawny said Thomas prepared her for her career in both large-picture and small-picture moments.
“Large picture: Thomas taught me the foundations of business,” she said. “The clients I work with are primarily businesses. Some are small, family-owned entities; others are multi-billion-dollar global entities. Foundationally, I know the key concepts of managing a business, which means that I can focus in on things that matter most to a client.”
For the smaller moments, Tawny finds herself thinking of Thomas daily in her work.
“While speaking publicaly, Dog’s voice will randomly run through my head with a reminder; when I write (what I believe to be) an eloquent statement, Ellen McQuiston’s support and guidance rings; a discussion with a difficult client brings me back to pointers and guidance from Pat Karush, regarding responding to such situations; proper business etiquette (including where to stick that silly nametag) always brings me back to Mrs. Meader; and, the psychology of human interaction (especially in the workplace) and the foundations Cindy Lepley shared is something I deal with on a daily basis.”
Tawny still stays in touch with her contacts at Thomas and is very proud to be a Thomas alumna.
“It’s a community. When I meet people in business with a Thomas connection, there is a built-in relationship already,” she said. “We are only a few degrees removed from each other, no matter how broad the timeline is between when we graduated. I’ve met people who have graduated decades before me and a decade after me, and we are still able to identify common experiences.”
Tawny would give this advice to current Thomas students: “You have the power to control your destiny. Thomas has every tool that you need to achieve each goal you have; the question is, ‘Are you going to take advantage of the opportunity and use the tools Thomas has to offer?’”