Making International Connections
Allison Powell ’06 and Bill MacEwen M’10 joined forces in Vancouver.
Landing a job—especially in an unfamiliar city—is a big win for anyone. Never one to shy away from adventure, Allison Powell ’06 immediately began exploring after moving to Vancouver with her Canadian fiancé in 2011. The couple chose Western Canada to be on the same coast as Allison’s family, and after the move she started an aggressive job search. Allison’s resume included a PR and marketing background from stints at firms in Boston and California, as well as two years spent traveling and exploring in Thailand.
“I literally knew nobody in Vancouver, and didn’t have the proper work status yet as an American in Canada. I knew I’d have to do consulting or volunteer work initially until I could be hired by a Canadian company,” Allison said. It seemed to her that Babson alumni would be accepting and open to that strategy, so she assembled a list of people in the Vancouver area using the online directory and began sending introductory emails. “Literally every single Babson alum I reached out to emailed me back; it was such a comfort to know that I wasn’t completely alone all by myself in Canada!”
A handful of lunches, coffees, and conversations later, Allison met with Bill MacEwen M’10. The two were fairly close in age, liked to surf, and had both chosen Babson for similar reasons. “At the time, his startup SpaceList was brand new and he thought he could use an outgoing person like me,” said Allison. Bill asked her to contribute as much as possible to the commercial real estate firm, eventually hiring Allison full time as their second employee. Now, two and a half years later, SpaceList is up to a team of seven. “I’ve learned so much from Bill,” says Allison. “He is very understanding, and a helpful teacher.”
For Allison, the best part of being a Beaver is the opportunities that have unfolded thanks to the alumni network. “My first boss specifically told me that I was hired because of my Babson degree and our reputation for being driven and well educated,” she said. “My undergrad professors helped ingrain that sense of preparation for the working world, and it played a big part in getting that first job.”
Allison credits that early professional success with giving her the confidence to strike out on her own later in her career. “Amazing opportunities have come my way for the sole reason that I went to school at Babson,” she says. Now that she’s putting down roots in Vancouver, her next adventure is helping to start the official alumni club. “There are about 20 of us here, and we’re excited about the opportunity to all get together face-to-face!”