The intensity of ski racing prepared Luke Giordano ’01 to work in the competitive finance industry, but Westmont helped him understand the value of networking. After a year on a skiing scholarship at the University of Nevada, Reno, Luke was tired of being cold and transferred to Westmont. He switched to tennis and took up surfing. Used to notoriety as a UNR ski racer, he found it difficult at first to meet people at Westmont. “I had to work at it, and my confidence grew as a result,” he says. “The friends I made are just amazing; I still keep in touch with them.” Pursuing a double major in philosophy and economics and business also stretched him. He especially enjoyed the entrepreneurship classes.
But Luke had a hard time figuring out what to do after graduation. “I would have been happy staying in school,” he says. Doing an internship or networking with alumni would have helped, but he didn’t understand their value at the time. A desire to work in finance and investments (his family didn’t have much understanding of money throughout his youth) led him to a job as an operations and portfolio manager in the hedge fund industry. “It was very intense,” he says, “but it prepared me for anything I’d face in business, especially rejection. I loved the experience, but I never took a day off.” His next position, with ETrade Financial in Sacramento, allowed him a more balanced life, and he became involved with Rotary and their Computers for Children project. He met and married, Erin, an exercise physiologist. And he began doing something he should have done at Westmont: networking. “It’s the most underrated and best thing you can do,” he says. “Most people get jobs because of who they know.”
So Luke was excited to hear that Westmont has started sponsoring alumni networking events and has established a Westmont College Alumni Group on LinkedIn, a site where professionals can connect. “I love helping people through my contacts,” he says. “Connecting with fellow Westmont alumni has opened my eyes to the bigger picture of networking. We share a unique experience — we have a lot in common.” He’s also anxious to reach out to students interested in exploring careers and connecting them with people who can support them.
Luke now has his own financial planning business through Signature Resources and John Hancock. He lives in Sacramento, volunteers with the Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Rotary board in West Sacramento. “Working for myself is the best decision I ever made.” he says. “It’s up to me to make things happen. But I know the connections I have made through networking will help — and will give me a chance to help others.”