Did you know that the CEO of Wawa went to Villanova? Or that NASA astronaut Andrew M. Allen is a Villanovan? Villanova has a network of more than 123,000 alumni, many of whom have gone on to do incredible things. They have stories to tell, advice to share and amazing memories of their own Villanova experiences.
In this column, we will share their stories, both of their time here at Villanova and beyond. This week, we feature Katie Kokol, who graduated from Villanova’s School of Business in 2005 with a double major in Accounting and Finance. Katie went on to earn her Masters in Accounting and Professional Consultancy at Villanova. In addition, she serves as a member of the board of directors for Villanova’s Alumni Association. Currently, she is a Corporate Finance Director at Johnson & Johnson.
The Villanovan (TV): How has Villanova helped shape your career?
Katie Kokol (KK): My Villanova education gave me the foundation to be successful in a career in business, and I was very fortunate to be able to experience both an internship and a co-op while in school. Those opportunities allowed me to start to build my professional resume and my network, and they ultimately shaped my career path. I started my career in public accounting at Deloitte in Philadelphia and have been at Johnson & Johnson, working in Corporate Finance, for the last 11 years.
TV: Where do you work now and what do you do?
KK: I have been with Johnson & Johnson for 11 years with varying accounting and finance related roles during that time. I spent 10 years supporting our Pharmaceutical business (R&D, Commercial and Supply Chain Finance) and am currently a Corporate Finance Director leading a team that drives global standardization for accounting processes and technology. I’m also a member of the Villanova Alumni Board of Directors and a mom to three, soon to be four, awesome kids!
TV: What is your favorite Villanova memory?
KK: Trick question. It’s impossible to pick just one! I think I have to say that my favorite Villanova memory is made up of a collection of many small memories…the memorable laughs and little moments with new friends who became lifelong friends. Well that and the time that I represented Villanova on the College Edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire when I was a freshman. Let’s just say I’m not a millionaire, but I have some pretty cool memories!
TV: What is your best piece of advice for a current Villanova student?
KK: Work hard, but don’t forget to have fun. Your time at Villanova is precious...maximize it in the classroom and outside of the classroom too.
TV: Do you have a life motto?
KK: There are a few tenets that I strive to live by: Be present, be grateful, be sincere, and be willing to ask for help when you need it.
TV: What is the best connection you made during your time at Villanova?
KK: My classmates and my professors who are now part of an amazing network of close friends and professional resources.
TV: What’s the most surprising thing you learned after you graduated?
KK: Education doesn’t end when you graduate from college. It’s so important to continue to learn and to develop yourself, personally and professionally, to stay on top of your game. Ask questions and stay curious, and you’ll never stop learning and growing.