Exploring the next chapter
After a successful career in publishing, Continuing Education student launches her own interior decorating business.
After more than 20 years in book publishing, MaryLynne Meschino knew it was time for a change.
“I had done every job from editor to product development to manager, so I was ready,” she says. “Through it all, I always enjoyed the design element of my job – the thought of working with layout and colour was definitely appealing.”
Combined with her family history of entrepreneurship (her father ran his own business) and distance education certification in interior decorating, MaryLynne was good to go – or so she thought.
“Through the course of networking during my business setup, I met somebody who finished the Interior Decorating Certificate through Continuing Education at George Brown,” she says. “She couldn’t say enough good things about the program – and really stressed the importance of learning with other people and having direct contact with your instructors. It was a way for me to get as much knowledge as possible.”
In September 2006, after launching her own interior decorating business, Allegro Interiors Inc., MaryLynne returned to school – at George Brown.
“Being over 40 and returning to school can be a daunting task,” she says. “But the classes at George Brown were comfortable – and productive – from the very beginning. Because there were so many others in the class with work experience, my re-entry to life as a student was easy and the learning experience was heightened.”
The classes also proved to be very productive for the new entrepreneur – and offered her an opportunity to build on the knowledge base she acquired during her original certification.
“The range of courses offered is very large and runs from theoretical to practical, but I use them all the time in my work. In fact, I consult all my George Brown notes to this day,” MaryLynne says. “Perhaps the best part of the curriculum is the fact that the program is constantly modified – keeping it both current and relevant.”
For MaryLynne, the people delivering the lessons are the single best strength of the program.
“The fact that the instructors are working in the field and willing to share their experience, talk after class or offer help in any way is an invaluable asset,” she says. “Students get insider knowledge of the industry from those who are working in it – that’s why I recommend the program to anybody who is listening.”