This election season, we’re profiling past USC executives to see how their career started and where they are today. First up, meet Andrew Forgione a past USC president (2011-12), Social Science Student Council president (2010-11), and Social Science USC councillor (2009-2010). He is currently McKesson Canada’s Senior Director, Public Relations and Communications.
Previously, Andrew worked in various roles in the Government of Ontario since 2012, most recently as the Director of Strategic Communications and Issues Management in the Office of the Premier of Ontario. In this role, he oversaw the response to daily public relations issues impacting the Premier, and provided direct advice and guidance to senior provincial leaders on overcoming them.
What skills and knowledge did you gain from your role with the USC that has helped in your career journey?
Andrew: The USC allowed me to really finesse my public speaking and advocacy skills, which I have used daily in my career journey since. It was my first real exposure to human resources as well, providing an environment where I had to make difficult decisions early in my career.
The USC also taught me commitment – it required a significant amount of time-commitment both during and outside of working hours, leaving me with a passion for the job and for helping the community.
I also, in general, boosted my confidence as USC President – through meetings and presentations with senior administration, public officials, and business executives.
Was there anything unique that you took away from your USC position that you haven’t gained from other jobs?
Andrew: I would say the accountability and public scrutiny that comes with the role is rare, most similar to running for elected office in municipal, provincial or federal politics. Every decision was held to a high degree of scrutiny, which made me make decisions I truly believed in and felt were best for the students.
What advice would you give to a student who is on the fence about running in the USC election
Andrew: The campaign was the most difficult job interview I’ve ever had, but one of the best decisions of my life. Being able to have such a profound impact on student life at Western is a huge honour, and it truly is a once in a lifetime experience. I find myself still meeting people I impacted positively during my time at the USC, the connections are endless and you can absolutely make a difference.
Cathy Clarke, a former GM of the USC when I was president, once taught me to make decisions with my head, my heart, and my gut, and that really stuck with me. Running for USC President was a gut instinct for me, it totally felt right and I’m thrilled I accomplished it and never looked back since.
What’s the one thing you miss most about Western/the USC?
Andrew: I miss going to the office and having an absolutely unique experience day in and day out. You can prepare for the day as best as possible, but at the USC you’re constantly thrown curveballs which is not only the most exciting part of the job, but also the most rewarding and the part filled with the most personal growth.
Stay tuned for more USC alumni profiles!