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Jennifer Manolakis Unconventional Journey in Education and Business

At Financial Aid Services (FAS) and Genesis Software, we are known for our industry expertise with decades worth of experience. But how did our experts first begin their journey in the world of Higher Education and Financial Aid?

This month we are hearing from Jennifer Manolakis, a Client Relations Specialist here at FAS. Read on to find out for yourself how her journey in the Financial Aid Industry began!


From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a strong desire to teach. Initially when I went to college, it was to become a teacher. The field of education always interested me.

During my junior year of college in 2004, I began working at a gym called Curves. At the time, Curves was extremely popular. It was a franchise that required an initial investment of $30,000 but offered a substantial return on investment. The gym was owned by two sisters who were business savvy, and I started to become really interested in their approach to managing the gym’s operations. I was so intrigued that I decided to switch my college major during my junior year to Business Management. This change set me back a semester, but I decided that I still wanted to move forward with getting my Business Management Degree.

January 2006, I graduated with my Business Management Degree as well as a Minor in Education.

The first company I worked for was Fidelity Investments, where I served as a Benefits Specialist and a 401K Operations Specialist. I thoroughly enjoyed my role at the time, but about two years later I received news that my division would be relocating to Texas. They offered me a job in Texas and gave me great incentives to move. However, I had just met Jonathan, who is now my husband. We have been married for 12 years now and have 3 beautiful daughters together. It was a very tough decision at that time, but I believe everything always happens for a reason!

Ultimately, I chose to remain in my current location and explore opportunities in both the Education and Business fields.

Since then, I have worked in various roles, including Admissions Counselor, Academic Advisor, and Director of Financial Planning at Boston University Center for Digital Arts. Unfortunately, the location I was working at decided to close after many years. I was pregnant with my second daughter at the time and decided to hold off until she was born to return to work. I cherished my time with her, and always look back on that time and remind myself, “everything happens for a reason!”

Soon after my daughter was born, I found myself needing to rejoin the workforce. I came across a job posting for a Direct Loan Specialist at FAS and applied right away. I was so interested, I decided to message the Vice President on LinkedIn. We both agreed that this opportunity had the potential to be a great fit, and I was scheduled for an interview just two days later.

The interview went well, the only issue was that the Direct Loan Position had been filled by an internal member. The opportunity for Front Desk Reception was open and I decided to go for it. I am happy I did, because it allowed me to connect with clients on a personal level.

Two months later I joined our Client Relations Team and I have been with the same team for almost 9 years! My current role as a Client Success Manager incorporates elements of both Business and Teaching, and I couldn’t be happier.

1 Comment

  1. Sandi O'Connell

    October 2, 2023 at 3:44 pm

    Thankyou Jen for sharing your gift of teaching and guiding so many of our client friends. I know they would be lost without you in the complex world of financial aid. FAS is lucky to have you as part of its family. Everything really does happen for a reason.

    Reply

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