WIC News

Beyond WIC: Stories of Success from WIC Alums

Embarking on the journey beyond high school is a pivotal moment for every student, brimming with excitement, uncertainty, and boundless possibilities. On April 30th, 2024, West Island College (WIC) hosted its annual Alums Career Panel, allowing secondary 4 and 5 students to hear about diverse career journeys from individuals who once stood in their position.

WIC’s Alums Career Panel is an enlightening event where former students return to campus to share their post-graduation experiences with current secondary 4 and 5 students. With Mr. Steve Leroux, assistant head of WIC’s senior school, moderating the discussion, this year’s panel showcased a distinguished lineup of alums, offering insights into their high school experience, transition to post-secondary choices, and current work life. Among the featured panelists were Judy Saltarelli ’07, Tyler Wajcman ’07, Erica Kader ’05, and Josh Fagen ’13. Following the panel, students were also given the opportunity to pose their own questions to the visiting alums. The event was a resounding success, with panelists providing helpful answers that are sure to have a lasting impact on students as they prepare for life after WIC.

Tyler Wajcman ‘07, owner of the Tyler Anne Center, shared her unique perspective on success, highlighting the importance of forging one’s own path. Tyler’s entrepreneurial journey provided a compelling example for students of what is achievable through hard work. Tyler’s career path, which led to her establishing her own business at 22, reinforced the message that success comes in many forms. As she reflected on her experience, Tyler emphasized, “The foundation you build and tools you acquire at this time [of your life] will help you as a person later on. It’s important not to lose focus on yourself and your growth. Invest in you, no matter what that means or looks like.”

Josh Fagen ‘13, sound engineer at Premium Sound, highlighted the power of passion and the importance of adaptability. From excelling in the sciences during high school to discovering his true passion for the creative arts in cegep, Josh provided an important lesson to the audience. His willingness to pivot his academic path after taking an elective course in film taught by a very passionate professor shows the importance of exploring diverse interests and embracing change. Reflecting on his journey, Josh shared invaluable advice, stating, “Don’t be afraid to lean on the support that you have around you. Some of the best teachers you will have are in this school. Don’t be afraid to ask them for advice and their wisdom. The same applies for the teachers you will encounter in cegep and university.” 

Dr. Erica Kader ‘05, orthodontist and owner of Beaconsfield Orthodontiste, shared her multifaceted journey with the audience, touching on the importance of well-being in pursuit of professional fulfillment. Throughout her academic journey, Erica demonstrated a commitment to exploration and personal growth. Starting with her studies in health sciences in cegep, she progressively moved forward, completing a bachelor’s degree at McGill before pursuing her studies in dentistry and residency in orthodontics. Alongside her professional pursuits, Erica maintained a deep passion for the arts, a facet of her life that she actively nurtures to this day, and encouraged students to continue nurturing their interests outside of work as well. She reminded students to “Find ways to keep doing what you love outside of work, a passion for yourself. It’s important to enjoy many different experiences.”

Judy Saltarelli ‘07, notary, legal advisor and CEO of Notarial Office Saltarelli Inc., underscored the significance of experiential learning and self-discovery in shaping one’s career path. Despite her early interest in law, Judy’s journey was marked by a willingness to explore various avenues within the legal field. Through her experiences in cegep and university, Judy discovered the significance of trying out different courses and job opportunities to uncover her true passions that led to her opening her own practice as a notary. Judy’s advice to students echoed this sentiment, as she emphasized,  “It’s important to enjoy the experiences and freedom that come with going to cegep and university. Take courses outside of what you may already know you want to do. Try out different jobs to see what you actually like doing.”

As the panel concluded, one message was clear: there is no one-size-fits-all approach to success. Whether following a conventional path or carving out a new trail, the journey is as unique as the individual. The knowledge shared by our esteemed panelists have undoubtedly provided the future generation of WIC alums with invaluable wisdom, equipping them with valuable insight as they journey beyond high school.