“Work global, stay local”

On Friday afternoon, the Life After Laurier series hosted its third guest speaker, Laurier alumnus Stephanie Ratza.

Ratza graduated from Laurier in 1989 with a bachelor of science degree specializing in mathematics; she is currently the chief financial officer of Descartes Systems Group.

Ratza began her half-hour lecture by listing a few reasons why she chose Laurier to pursue her undergraduate degree.

Alongside a slideshow of photos from her years as a Laurier student, Ratza praised Laurier’s outstanding faculty, its academic excellence and its school spirit.

“Anyone considering Laurier is welcome to the wealth of opportunity here,” said Ratza.

Her speech touched on the social elements of her Laurier experience that she was able to carry forward into her career.

Living with roommates allowed Ratza to learn valuable organizational and teamwork skills that contributed to her ability to foster a positive work environment.

“When you’re in an organization, you need to learn those skills … the learning environment continues outside of the classroom,” said Ratza.

For the second half of her presentation, Ratza detailed her career path since graduation. Once she became a chartered accountant, Ratza worked with a number of reputable companies.

Before becoming the CFO of Descartes Systems Group, Ratza worked at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Intellectual Property and Innovation Company (IPICO) and MKS Inc.

Ratza stressed that no matter what degree one acquires at Laurier, the possibilities for success are endless. “Once you have a really good undergrad degree, you’re trainable,” she said.

“[Employers] love Laurier as a basis … When you wear that graduation cap, the world is yours to make of it. You can do anything with your undergrad degree.”

Ratza ended her lecture by stating that Laurier is still very much a part of her life. “Laurier is still not done for me.”

Ratza is a member of Laurier’s External Science Advisory Committee and sends her children to Laurier’s summer camp programs. “I’ve only lived about five kilometers from Laurier since I went to school here,” she joked.

Though her career has allowed her to travel internationally, she remains community-oriented.

“Work global, stay local,” she said.

The next Life After Laurier presentation will take place on Feb. 26 with guest speaker Paul Smith, a 1975 Laurier graduate.

Ratza is the third guest speaker in the Life after Laurier series, where Laurier alumni address students regarding their experiences at Laurier and how it has helped that afterwards.