Joe '13 and Mackenzie '11 Watroba
M: Manager of Operations, Make-A-Wish Northeast New York
J: Senior Accountant, Teal Becker & Chiaramonte CPAs, P.C.
M: Rotterdam, NY
J: Castleton, NY
J: B.S., Accounting and M.S., Accounting
Involvement while at Siena:
M: I was a Pathfinder (student tour guide)
J: Men's Basketball Manager
How do you involve yourself in your community?
M: My family and I established our own non profit called Play It Foreward 518 where we raise funds to support diversion activities for local children and their families receiving treatment at the Melodies Center at Albany Medical Center, as well as sponsoring a wish for a child through Make-A-Wish Northeast New York.
J: Through the work of Play It Foreward 518, my family and I have the privilege to interact with patients and their families from the Melodies Center at Albany Med as well as Make-A-Wish Northeast New York. Our predominant goal is to provide diversion activities to these families as they are going through challenging times.
Describe a typical day in your life.
M: My day consists of working with a team of individuals to grant heartfelt wishes for children with a life-threatening medical condition. It is such a meaningful job that empowers these children to keep fighting, truly brings families closer, and rallies communities to help others. When I am not creating magical moments, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, attending local sporting events, and eating at some of the best restaurants the Capital Region has to offer.
J: My typical work week varies with the busy seasons of public accounting. I try to fit in coffee or lunch meetings with my mentors, Play It Foreward supporters, and colleagues. In my spare time I enjoy exploring with my wife Michaela, golfing with family and friends, and attending Siena Men’s Basketball games.
How did your Siena education prepare you for the work you’re doing today?
M: My education at Siena opened many doors for me. As a liberal arts college and the broad range of topics I studied, I feel like I am a well-rounded individual in the workplace. Each of my internships provided me with not only real-world experience, but connections and the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve my professional goals. Furthermore, the Franciscan values instilled through my education at Siena inspired me to not only want to work in the nonprofit sector, but was also motivation for starting a nonprofit with my family to help others.
J: Completing a Masters in Accounting from Siena allowed me to obtain a full time position at an accounting firm prior to graduation and provided me with the knowledge to begin my career in the workforce. The Franciscan values instilled through my education at Siena motivated me to start a not-for-profit that helps those in need during a tough time in their lives.
The people we've met and the relationships that we've been able to form through Siena have been imperative to the growth of both our careers and Play It Foreward 518.
Describe your professional progression since leaving Siena.
M: Following graduation, I worked in higher education for a couple years. However, I soon transitioned to the nonprofit sector and have been there ever since. I started as an Administrative Assistant and currently am the Manager of Operations for the local Make-A-Wish chapter in Albany. Working here I’ve met so many incredible, inspiring children and their families and having the opportunity to work for an organization that has personally impacted my entire family is even more special!
J: I started my career at UHY Advisors as a Tax Associate. I recently took a new position at Teal Becker & Chiaramonte as a Senior Accountant. I enjoy the diversity of the work and the clients that I am able to interact with on a daily basis in public accounting. I am grateful for the loyalty and support that my post graduate employers give to both Siena and Play It Foreward 518.
Advice for current students:
M: Don’t take the supportive and positive environment for granted at Siena. Step out of your comfort zone. Enjoy every minute because four years will be over in a flash, but really embrace the sense of community. This will not only help you academically, but as an individual too.
J: Current Saints want to make sure that they become an active member in at least one organization and meet as many people as possible. Forming strong relationships will take you to great places.
Career advice for Saints:
M: Use your interests as a tool to find the right career path and secure internships to help you find out if a specific field is something you could see yourself doing full-time. Most importantly, do what you’re passionate about and embrace it…don’t wait for opportunities, create them!
J: Work hard to obtain at least one internship during your time at Siena. Work with the career center to finish school with a solid resume to show to future employers.