Published 10/06/14

Wendy Lessard ’07: Lessons learned at Bryant lead to career success

Wendy Lessard “Strong confident women of my generation … are expected to be great mothers, wives, friends, and employees,” says Wendy Lessard ’07. “Sometimes, achieving success at work can take a toll on the personal front.”

Such competing demands haven’t fazed Lessard, now Senior Manager Community Relations for Fidelity Investments in Smithfield. Despite working full-time and studying year-round in evening classes, she was honored as a sophomore by Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society serving business programs, and graduated summa cum laude.

Her experiences at Bryant, where students’ ages and ethnicities are so varied, taught her to recognize and appreciate different perspectives of colleagues and family members. Undergraduate team projects and presentations honed her public speaking skills that have been instrumental to her career advancement.

Her experiences at Bryant, where students’ ages and ethnicities are so varied, taught her to recognize and appreciate different perspectives.

A Leadership Rhode Island graduate, Lessard is a firm believer in learning from professional mentors and career coaches.

After a decade at Hasbro, in market research, community relations, international marketing, and branding, Lessard joined

Fidelity in September 2011. She manages the company’s employee volunteer program, Fidelity Cares, and fosters relationships with Rhode Island’s nonprofit community.

Since she joined Fidelity, the company’s volunteerism in Rhode Island has increased more than 68 percent. Lessard has launched a team service program, established partnerships with several education-focused nonprofit organizations and, in conjunction with the Capital Good Fund, Fidelity employees have been trained to serve as financial coaches for Year Up students and alumni, Teach for America teachers, and other clients.

Even today, she continues the juggling act. Married and the mother of four, Lessard is devoted to her large extended family. In 2006, she received March of Dimes’ Elaine Whitelaw Volunteer Service Award.

Life lessons learned at Bryant still resonate. In one leadership class, where students wanted to vote one underperforming student off their team, she remembers the professor saying, “In the business world … you need to try to work out problems by collaborating and building an environment of trust and respect.”