Student recruiter Marisa Modeski on the art of storytelling and diverse perspectives
Favourite Toronto restaurant: Hands down, the Senator Diner on Victoria Street. I go a few times a week. It’s a 1940s style diner, with kind of jazz theme to it, and the food is fantastic—salads, eggs, and mac ‘n’ cheese.
For Marisa Modeski, assistant director for student recruitment for a Toronto university, her job is often about storytelling. “From my perspective, we tell stories when we’re talking to students, about different programs we offer or what the student experience can be like when you come to the university when you can access different resources and clubs and groups,” she says. “Everyone is coming with a different background and a different story and their motivations for higher education are so diverse. It’s a great privilege to have someone share those stories and those goals with you.”
At home in Toronto, one of Marisa’s favourite destinations is a hot yoga class with friends at one of the city’s Power Yoga locations. “I’m not really great at it but absolutely love it. It’s a place to go to feel very comfortable being vulnerable and we laugh a lot, even though I don’t think you’re supposed to during classes! It’s a really great way to connect with friends, have a workout and decompress. We feel a little bit lighter coming out of those classes.” Afterwards they may head out for coffee at Balzac’s, which she loves for its Parisian vibe in various hip Toronto neighbourhoods, or hunt for vintage mid-century accessories at some cool indie stores in Kensington Market.
Six or seven weeks a year, Marisa travels to speak to students and educators and her work has taken her to the Middle East, Africa, India, Europe and North America. “I think it’s a really profound opportunity to help shape someone’s education and career trajectory. Having that exposure to diversity, it shapes and enriches my personal and professional perspective. It also gives me a great opportunity to share that learning back at my institution.” Her coworkers inspire her too. “I spend my days with really fascinating people and a lot of them are trailblazers within higher education. They are so committed to the work we do; they are always brainstorming, thinking strategically about how we can improve and innovate current processes, how we can achieve and exceed targets. To me that’s really exciting.”
Marisa Modeski, Toronto, Ontario, Assistant director, Student recruitment, Ryerson University