Mary Fernandes, DMSB'83, reflects on her time at D'Amore-McKim and how it shaped her career. Fernandes is an entrepreneur and owner of Vermajé Tea Co., a tea and teaware company.
Q: When did you graduate from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business and with what degree?
I graduated in 1983 with a B.A. in Human Resource Management.
Q: What’s your most interesting memory from your time at Northeastern?
Although it was challenging at times being a mom and a full-time student, with my husband also attending NU’s MBA program, I found my time at NU inspiring and rewarding. My most interesting memory was working in study groups and presenting case studies to the class. It was also an honor to have received the Northeastern Sojourner Truth Award..
Q: What is your current profession and what led you there?
I am currently the owner of Vermarjé Tea Co. (formerly Vermarje′ International) ) – a business that brings comfort, calm, and relaxation through the enjoyment of making and drinking tea. I encourage everyone to slow down, pause, sip and enjoy the moments that make up life’s journey. I come from a family of business owners, and I always had a desire to be an entrepreneur.
Q: What have you learned becoming an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, I learned that you must believe in your success and your product. I learn that persistence is key, but you can’t go it alone and do everything all at once. I enjoy sharing my knowledge of tea, and the benefits and joy that come from the rituals of making and drinking tea.
Q: How did D’Amore-McKim prepare you for your career?
The knowledge and skills gained from my studies at Northeastern, especially Organizational Behavior classes, group studies, and team presentations not only prepared me in becoming a successful executive in the public sector, but also as an entrepreneur. Although my plan upon graduation was to enter the private sector, I landed a position in HR at the Department of Personal Administration and remained in the public sector, managing at each level of government; executive offices, line, and quasi agencies. The one thing that was constant in the public sector was change and the knowledge, ability, and skill to manage in change was the key to my success. Working with students from diverse backgrounds and experiences was a major factor in my learning.
Q: Any additional insight for the D’Amore-McKim community?
I would advise student and faculty to learn from one another. Students: take your studies seriously, but have fun. Recognize, embrace, value, and respect the diversity of NU students, and remember diversity is more than one’s background, but one’s experience and thought. Studying at a university with the diversity of NU provides you with a lifelong advantage and a compass to success.
On Thursday, May 4, 2017, we are giving graduating seniors a chance to win their own Vermajé Tea at Commencement Fest. Find us at D'Amore-McKim's College Corner! For more details, please visit the Commencement Fest website.