The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Jill Westerfeld

Jill Westerfeld

Assistant Director, Career Management & Corporate Relations
Fisher College of Business Office of Career Management
Ohio State (MHRM, Human Resources 2004)


What brought you to The Ohio State University?

I was working with a nonprofit organization and one of my main responsibilities included managing volunteer relations. As part of my duties, I was responsible for recruiting, interviewing and onboarding over 100 volunteers on a quarterly basis. Through this role, I discovered I had a passion for developing the professional skills of new employees and helping with their transition into a new organization. I quickly sought avenues to formalize this passion. I began to explore graduate programs and found the MHRM (formerly called the MLHR) program at the Fisher College of Business, to be a perfect fit. It had an outstanding reputation, excellent faculty and great career opportunities.

How did your experience at Ohio State shape your career path?

While a graduate student at Fisher, I had a graduate assistantship advising prospective graduate students in the Graduate Programs Office for 2 years.. As I became more involved with assisting graduate students navigate through the admissions process, I learned how much I truly enjoyed the direct interaction with students on the collegiate level, and assisting them with the transition into graduate school As a result, upon graduation, I decided to pursue a career in higher education, continuing working with grad students on their graduate school search, job search and professional development skills. After working at a private institution for 8 ½ years, I decided to make the transition myself to a role which focuses more on professional development and career search strategies for graduate students. I currently provide individualized career consultation to Master of Finance (SMF) and Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM) students at the Fisher College of Business. I love what I do!

What advice/insight do you have for Ohio State alumni and students interested in your career field?

When considering a career or career transition, it is important to set goals and develop an action plan for achieving them. I’ve learned this from my background in sports. You simply can’t wish it true…develop a process which incorporates strategic thinking, has defined goals and features action steps. No matter how small those steps may be, hold yourself accountable for completing them. Ultimately our achievement is determined by consistent energy and effort. Being intentional can make all the difference.


Jacob Gayle

Dr. Jacob A. Gayle

Vice President (Executive Director) Medtronic Philanthropy at Medtronic, Inc.
Ohio State (M.Sc., M.A., Ph.D.)


What brought you to The Ohio State University?

Having an interest in Preventive Medicine, while considering colleges and universities, I discovered The Ohio State University had one of the few such medical school-based programs in North America at that time. OSU was also known then as the conveyor of more Ph.Ds. to people of African heritage or ancestry than any other university in the United States. OSU spoke to things that were and are important to me both personally and academically. Two other factors—one intellectual the other practical—made The Ohio State University the right choice. From an intellectual perspective, the university’s commitment to education as a means for the greater good resonated with me. From a practical one, the fact I received a graduate assistanceship made it a reality, as my bride and I were juggling graduate school costs and demands at the same time.

How did your experience at The Ohio State University shape your career path?

Undoubtedly the interaction and instruction I received while in graduate school were significant influences, not only regarding my career path, but they also helped me to refine my global perspective regarding health issues. Some of the professors I had are now mentors, colleagues and lifelong friends. The opportunity to learn under the tutelage of some the most accomplished and recognized leaders at The Ohio State University has directly influenced my career to the present day. Many of the critical-thinking abilities I use on a daily basis, in addition to the ability to apply them practically, were fine-tuned while a student at The Ohio State University.

What advice do you have for Ohio State Alumni and students interested in your career field?

The notion of personal health and public health as co-joined global policy/human rights issues is the social and spiritual crossroads of the world. It affects everyone and will remain the overriding issue going forward. "Health" may be, indeed, the universal message, but I encourage everyone to learn to speak it in more than one language. Our thoughts and actions are limited by the extent to which we can conceptualize and articulate them. So, whether it is a foreign tongue or different philosophy or discipline, build multiple options from which you view the world.

This field requires not only passion and commitment but the desire to serve. The practitioners in this field must have the belief that one person can make a difference, then they must set forth to be that difference-maker. Being open to and recognizing opportunities when they occur is also very important. While a graduate student working with the Ohio Department Health, I was entrusted to develop a program regarding AIDS in the minority community. My involvement in that project laid the foundation for much of the global health and diplomacy work I have done to date.


Nate DeMars

Nate DeMars

Founder and CEO PurSuit
Ohio State (MBA 2011)


What brought you to The Ohio State University?

I worked for Whirlpool, and they sent me to Columbus in 2005 to work in sales, marketing and management jobs. After four years of working in the corporate world, I decided that I wanted to pursue my MBA. When Whirlpool wanted me to take a job at the corporate office and move to Michigan, I knew it was time to make my move. I had always admired The Ohio State University, and I lived in Grandview and was always around it. I applied to the Fisher College of Business MBA program—it was a top 25 program—and if they accepted me, it was a no-brainer. I studied real estate and real estate development. I wanted to work in the renovation of buildings in old neighborhoods, which is something I had done in my volunteer life, working with nonprofits.

How did your experience at Ohio State shape your career path?

My business is a direct offshoot of my time at Ohio State. I took an entrepreneurship class the winter quarter of my final year. What originally was to be an idea for a class project became a business plan, and after a quarter of working on it, that idea ultimately became Pur●Suit. I decided it had some potential and it was something I enjoyed. So I spent the next three months determining the feasibility of the business. I graduated in June 2011 and opened the business October of that year.

What advice/insight do you have for Ohio State alumni and students interested in your career field?

I think when people want to become entrepreneurs, they automatically assume they need to start a business right after they graduate. Those four years I spent with a Fortune 500 company gave me invaluable experience—certainly training I would not have gotten if I went out directly on my own. There’s value in getting different experiences and not feeling you need to be locked into one career path simply because that’s where you started.