When Michigan State University alumna Alison Accavitti came to campus, she knew she wanted to be a Computer Science major. However, her first two years of coursework led her on a different path. During her third year, Accavitti switched to Journalism and Communications, combining her natural talent for marketing and her love of technology. Graduating in 2006, Accavitti’s career path would demonstrate the adaptability and growth that sparked in college.
Starting her career as a journalist and correspondent, periodically changing newspapers because of the decline in the print publishing industry, Accavitti discovered her first industry of choice faced difficulties. She migrated to the digital publishing space, adapting her skill-set to succeed. Learning as new opportunities were presented, she expanded into photography, graphic design, story layout, and a variety of other skills.
Her organic skill growth in traditional newspapers facilitated her career in publishing, leading her to work for Ambassador Magazine in Detroit. This position expanded her technical skills, exposing her up to the world of marketing and public relations. She then decided to officially leave journalism for marketing positions.
Accavitti quickly learned that her degree in Journalism was easily applied to marketing opportunities. Using her professional portfolio and explaining her background, she secured a position with a new marketing agency under Bosch Industries. This role exposed her to new people and skills, spurring her to pursue more of her passions. She transitioned into a position with Amatis Controls, combining her love of Detroit with her desire to collaborate with companies with mission and purpose.
As Accavitti grew with Amatis, she noticed a problem. As the world continued to move toward digital, contractors, schools and unions were not utilizing the digital space for workforce management. With pre-seed money from Michigan Rise—supported in part by the Michigan State University Foundation—Accavitti and her partners founded Rivet Work in Detroit, with a mission centered on expanding technological communication and management into trade industries. She serves as the vice president of sales and marketing.
Commenting on her diverse career journey, Accavitti states that “nothing works like pressure.” She quickly learned not to grow complacent in her professional life, constantly expanding her skill set and working outside of her comfort zone. She credits her time at MSU with helping to develop this drive. The environment, according to Accavitti, taught her to have grit and find solutions to challenges. “Success is a lot more than your GPA. It’s about your attitude and communication skills,” she asserts. MSU allowed her the flexibility to change her degree path and set her up for success.
Further, Accavitti finds networking and mentors integral to her continued success. Her mentors have helped her hold herself accountable. Namely, “if you show up for others, you are showing up for yourself.” Accavitti and her Rivet Work co-founders have incorporated mentorship and advising into their company with an advisory board. Not only do the illustrious board members lend her company credibility, but they also encourage personal and professional growth.
Accavitti’s biggest piece of advice for her fellow Spartans is “just because the old way works doesn’t mean it is the only way.” As her journey shows, there are many professional and academic paths to follow, and diverging from the traditional can present unexpected, exciting opportunities.