Never Stop Learning

She says an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. It’s the reason why after earning her BA in communications from Canisius in 2003, Kristin Van Dewater returned and earned her MS in Communication & Leadership in 2007. Her investment has paid off.

As senior account coordinator in marketing for Independent Health, she leans on skills she developed in leadership and conflict facilitation. Simply having the knowledge that there are different personalities helps me step back and ask why things aren’t working, she says. When a meeting gets detailed, unclear or contentious, Van Dewater steps in to clarify with one magical phrase that sets the right tone, “So what I heard you say was…”

Transitioning is her specialty. She went from Delaware North to Independent Health, knowing she wanted a new challenge. Her work experience had given her the knowledge and confidence to challenge herself with some finance courses while she was earning her MS. Dabbling in the MBA offerings, Van Dewater learned some valuable lessons, most notably – how to think from the business perspective. And at Independent Health, that training has been important. Van Dewater provides advertising and marketing planning for the company’s business to business accounts. 

Her philosophy is simple: never stop learning. “Have a constant desire to keep learning new things. Keep furthering yourself. Take every opportunity you can,” she says. That, and build strong relationships. In her MS program and later, Van Dewater learned something invaluable, “There’s nothing stronger than the Canisius network.”