When Cheryl (Wakeham) Flewelling ’95, M.B.A. ’09 came to Maine in 1985 for her cousin Diane Pepin’s graduation, she remembers liking the school and the Waterville area. Nearly ten years later, when looking at colleges to attend, she thought of Thomas College.
“At the time, Thomas was primarily a business school, and that appealed to me as I knew that was the field I wanted to go into but didn’t know what my focus would be,” said Cheryl. “I was able to get a sampling of marketing, finance, management, and accounting before I committed to a focus area. The fact that Thomas was a small school also appealed to me.”
While studying finance and economics at Thomas College, Cheryl worked part-time for A.G. Edwards.
“While my friends were prepping for interviews and polishing their resumes, I had arranged to work full time for A.G. Edwards after graduation and began studying for the Series 7 Registered Representative Exam that summer.”
Cheryl worked for AGE (and its successor, Wells Fargo Advisors) for 17 years. Then, she moved to Kennebec Wealth Management, before she landed at her current employer Raymond James Financial Services.
“I have been able to enhance my career by continuously growing my position and responsibilities,” said Cheryl. “Twenty-five years in the investment industry has provided me with vast experience in the financial markets, which can only be learned hands-on.”
Now, Cheryl is a financial advisor at Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.
“With a very strong background in operations and compliance, my current position of financial advisor has allowed me to come full circle and be well-rounded,” she said. “Many financial advisors don’t have the benefit of being ‘behind the scenes.’ Often, I am able to quickly provide an answer to a client’s question because I have the background to understand a particular function. Even better, I can often anticipate their questions before they even know to ask.”
Cheryl said that Thomas helped her with her career by helping change her perspective.
“Thomas set up realistic expectations for me of what types of jobs were available in the finance field,” she said. “Particularly the master’s program helped me to think outside the box, and outside of my zip code.”
Cheryl’s best memory at Thomas College during her undergraduate degree was creating a Finance Club with a few of her fellow classmates. Their goal: raise enough money to travel to New York City and visit the Federal Reserve Bank, New York Stock Exchange, United Nations, and the World Trade Center.
“The whole experience was rewarding, from putting the trip together (before webpages and cellphones) to visiting the finance capital of the world,” she said.
It was experiences like this that illustrated her tenacity and commitment to the finance world for the rest of her career.
Later, Cheryl decided to study for her master’s degree at Thomas College. She graduated in 2009.
“When I went back to Thomas for my graduate degree, Thomas was very accommodating with the class schedule,” she said. “It made it ‘easy’ to complete my degree while working full time and raising a family. Thomas has developed a niche for working with complexities and figuring out how to help people who want to succeed.”
Cheryl is proud to be a Thomas College alumna and loves running into fellow alums.
“Thomas gave me a great foundation to continue to grow upon. Learning is a lifelong pursuit, and it energizes me to take on a new hobby where I can expand my horizons,” she said. “Because of my positive experience at Thomas, I have been able to recommend Thomas to many area high school students.”
“The focus of Thomas has changed dramatically as demands have changed; the leadership has recognized the changing needs and evolved so that they are not only a sustainable entity, but a thriving one.”