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Toni Borchelt Olsen

Field Representative and Catalog Subject Matter Expert

Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement

Graduated in 1994

Explain your career path

Started as a private investigator which then transitioned into an Assistant Store Manager job (more pay) at a major department store on the east coast. I then started a family and took 5 years off of work and then volunteered at my daughter’s school and started back to work at a Hallmark store in Carbondale, IL. Because of my volunteer work with the book fairs and my retail experience, Scholastic offered me a part time field position that later turned into full time and then was offered the catalog position on top of that.

What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?

Criminal justice/law enforcement-I chose this because, at the time, it was the only field that interested me. I knew I didn’t want a desk job and I wanted to be active in the community.

Why did you choose to attend Southeast?

My grandfather and father graduated from here and I could live with my grandparents while attending school.

What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?

If you are interested in something other than your major, try it out.

Describe Southeast in three words.

Beautiful, progressive, diverse

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Bringing my Scholastic region to the number 1 position in Catalog sales.

How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?

Work hard at what you want even if your path changes from where you started from.

What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?

Treat others with respect and how you would like to be treated no matter what. It’s hard but you don’t know what the other person is going through...and listen not just with your ears but with your eyes.

What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?

You can always change your mind; you don’t have to stick with your first decision or what others think is best for you. Change can be good.


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