A love of the French language, an appreciation for an international atmosphere and a passion for fashion – Effie Katsantonis ’03 found all this and more at Connecticut College.
And now, nearly 10 years after graduation, Effie has combined those interests into one amazing career with Longchamp, a high-quality manufacturer of handbags, luggage, accessories and ready-to-wear clothing.
From Longchamp’s world headquarters in Paris, Effie works with sales managers and staff in boutiques around the globe, training them to effectively represent Longchamp’s luxury brand. She credits her Connecticut College-acquired skills, such as critical thinking and communications, as keys to her continued success.
“The skills I rely on most are those that I use each day without even noticing. The College instilled them in me and now they are a part of my foundation.”
As a student, Effie’s interests drew her to many disciplines. From languages to international affairs to art, she studied each as if it were her first, and only, love.
“The great part about Conn is that they really encourage you to discover and explore and develop all kinds of interests,” she says. “You don’t just specialize in one thing, but you can draw from a vast well of knowledge.”
Effie sees a direct correlation between her professional accomplishments and her work in the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA). One of the College’s five interdisciplinary academic centers, CISLA offers students the opportunity to internationalize their majors through intensive language study and a funded international internship,
Effie completed her internship in Paris, working for the international division of Elle Magazine. She says her time there was instrumental in giving her exposure to different cultures. “I got to experience all these different countries through the magazines themselves. It was like a peek into another way of life every day – Elle India, Elle Japan, Elle Italy, Elle UK – each magazine allowed me to see specifics of the country’s culture,” she says.
The connections she made there helped her secure a job post-graduation working for the New York office of Elle Italy. From there, she worked in public relations while completing a master in business administration in luxury brand management from ESSEC Business School in France.
“The exposure to diverse ways of living that I received at Connecticut College led to my job here at Longchamp,” she says. “Looking back, I can see that each experience you have in life is vital to the next one, like building blocks. You just have to trust that you will eventually find your right place.”