Passionate about both education and the beauty industry, Aleni Mackarey '17, higher education administration graduate and current doctoral candidate in the Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies program at Marywood University, is taking on both fields and finding true career fulfillment. She currently serves as a faculty member at a local college and as chief operating officer at Base Beauty Creative Agency, New York, N.Y.
Aleni grew up in Scranton, even attending Marywood’s Early Childhood Center when she was younger. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in English and theatre with a minor in Italian studies from Lafayette College. Following graduation, and after a period of time working remotely for a creative agency and teaching as an adjunct professor at Lackawanna College, Aleni wanted to teach full time. She explored her opportunities at Marywood, where she found that she loved the education program, its director, and the overall feel of the campus.
While pursuing her graduate degree, Aleni most enjoyed her program evaluation and human resources classes. She said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the real-world experience that was introduced in my program evaluation and human resources courses. I felt that I was learning skills that would help me to manage projects and people as a result of those classes.”
In addition to her courses, Aleni served as a graduate assistant in the Career Development Center at Marywood. There she was able to explore career processes with undergraduate students, provide leadership opportunities, and interact with students on a one-on-one basis. In addition to her graduate assistantship, she also worked with the theatre department for several productions.
Beyond her degree courses, Aleni found her core classes, those that were focused on writing specifically, to be the basis of one’s professionalism and intelligence. “Those classes [Core classes] help one to be more confident, as they also provide one with the expertise in different areas that transpire across all levels of one’s career.”
As a faculty member, Aleni said, “Those are the classes [Core classes] that I tell my students that will help them the most in their professional careers—effective speaking, critical reading, college writing—those are the classes I teach and the ones that I know will serve my students the best following graduation,” she continued.
Aleni feels that her professional successes can be attributed to having had so many different experiences in education and in the workforce—working through internships, serving as a graduate assistant, along with the real-world experiences helped her be more creative, and thus by trying so many different things, she was able to make herself more marketable in the professional world.
In her role as COO for Base Beauty Creative Agency (BBCA), a full-service creative agency dedicated to the beauty industry, a typical work day for Aleni involves new business development, marketing, helping businesses and brands launch by working with them to create a program that her team helps them build, collaborating, agency operations, team oversight, client servicing, as well as sharing BBCA stories—its clients’ successes and helping brands grow.
What Aleni likes most about her career is “the beauty industry itself. It provides people with confidence and empowers people to feel beautiful in their own way by giving them the tools to highlight their strengths and features and the encouragement they need to feel like they are their best selves. I also enjoy that it’s a female-focused group,” she said. As a teacher, Aleni’s most rewarding moments are, “those moments when you can see students grow in their writing, public speaking—there’s nothing better than that feeling when you can see your students’ successes and how they have grown through their academic careers.”
Even though she loved her Marywood University master’s degree experience, following graduation, Aleni wanted to explore other options for her doctoral degree pursuits. In the process, however, she found that Marywood offered her the flexibility that was needed to be able to continue to both work at BBCA and teach.
Aleni said, “I love Marywood’s campus, I love how friendly people are within the department, and on campus overall, and, although the doctoral program is more rigid, it’s the perfect fit for someone who works full time, but who also wants to take classes.”
Prior to moving to New York City, Aleni volunteered at Cinderella’s Closet of NEPA, an organization of community volunteers committed to fostering the self-esteem of young women and to providing them with an opportunity to discover an affordable dress through a positive boutique experience. She writes articles for Happenings Magazine and continues to be a big supporter of local businesses, noting that she and her sister (Marala), Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship alumni, are an acoustic duo, called Siis Jams who perform at various local businesses.