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After two co-ops at large corporations, Dayna Scandone, DMSB’17, decided to follow her passion and opted to join a small, Northeastern alumni-led start-up. Now, with the company growing, she’s coming back to the university to update her skills.

When Dayna Scandone, DMSB’17, entered the 88 Acres office for the first time, she was skeptical. The seed-based, healthy snack company was set up in a tiny room, with only four employees. Like most Northeastern students, Scandone was hoping this third co-op would turn into a job. Her previous two co-ops – one at Care.com, and another at TJX retail stores companies – helped narrow down her field of interest to marketing. She also knew she wanted to explore the food industry, but a giant food corporation, “didn’t feel right.” When Scandone came across the 88 Acres listing on the Northeastern co-op job portal, she was intrigued by the start-up feel. But, her father’s voice – he is in HR – kept ringing in her ears: “startups are rewarding, but have risks as well.” Scandone knew she was looking for something different, “something with roots,” but true to her Northeastern training, she was cautiously optimistic.

At the time, Scandone didn’t know that this would be a turning point in her career. Her first meeting with 88 Acres founders, alumnus, Robert Dalton, AS’07, and his wife, Nicole Ledoux, convinced her to join the company. “They blew me away,” remembers Scandone. “They have a deep back story of why they created the brand.” On a date with his wife, Dalton’s food was accidentally contaminated with nuts, which Dalton is allergic to. After their emergency room trip, the couple got the idea for developing allergen-free snacks. “It won my heart,” Scandone said. “I decided then and there, it didn’t matter what they paid me, I’ll take the job if they offered it.”

Two years in, Scandone has risen through the ranks and is now a Marketing Specialist for 88 Acres. “I was thrown into the deep end of startup life. Within my time here, we’ve doubled our employees and bakery teams, we are launching new products, and are going national – and I’m working closely with the founders to lead the marketing team through this. Talk about real-life experience!”

Scandone credits her Northeastern experience for “having the bravery to take the plunge.” Through N.U.in, she travelled to Dublin and later to Barcelona, where she discovered her love for photography, and an appreciation for diverse cultures – both skills she is leveraging in her new position. It also helps to be surrounded by the Northeastern network – Scandone regularly stays in touch with fellow former co-op students.

Scandone has done well for a recent graduate, but she realizes that to make strategic marketing decisions for the company and stay ahead of the curve, she needs to update her skills. Scandone naturally turned to her alma mater to continue her lifelong learning. She is planning to enroll in the MBA program’s marketing concentration at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business beginning in 2019, to become better equipped to support the growing 88 Acres marketing team.

Scandone’s career has taken an unconventional trajectory, and she’s confident that her Northeastern network will help her achieve what’s next. “Northeastern is my lifelong connection. No matter what I need, I know I can always come back to Northeastern to get it.”

published August 2018