Stefanie Keyte Goes Local to Global
Lebanon Valley College alumna Stefanie Keyte’s educational and professional career can be characterized by continued movement from the local sphere to the international realm.
“Your initial job choices do not limit the kinds of roles available to you later in your career,” she advises students, with her own career serving as a testament.
Keyte ’90 started her education at The Valley in 1986, where she majored in business administration. She cites her internship experience as one of the most valuable pieces of her education, but is also grateful for the sound foundation and corporate knowledge that her LVC degree provided her.
“The variety of business classes helped me to decipher my likes and dislikes. For instance, I enjoyed Marketing and Business Law but Accounting, not so much,” she added.
Keyte was fortunate to begin her career at Keating Fibre Inc., the same company where she completed her internship while at LVC. She worked for four years as the assistant to the president of this small, paper broker company where she obtained a great deal of valuable experience and exposure to many facets of business.
“The president and owner served as an incredible mentor for me and gave me a foundation in business, for which I will forever be grateful,” Keyte explained.
Keyte is a big believer in continuing education. Even while working, Keyte returned to school at the Pennsylvania State University Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies, where she received her M.Ed. in instructional systems. Later, she also pursued additional certifications in the human resources field.
“I would encourage students to keep learning even after leaving LVC. Although the road wasn’t easy while balancing work, my growing family, and continuing my education, the payoff, personally and professionally, was beyond my expectations,” she affirmed.
While taking classes, Keyte spent time working in a variety of human resources positions in assorted companies before settling with her current employer, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, in 2006. It was at this point that her career began heading in a truly global direction. At Pfizer, she is responsible, on a global scale, for the compensation strategy and alignment of all compensation-related business processes and operations, while simultaneously managing various international processes and systems, with a goal to streamline and continuously improve practices across a vast range of areas.
“I can’t say that any one thing sparked my interest in working with the international aspect of Pfizer,” Keyte confessed. “I have worked for four different corporations in my career and all of them operated globally to some degree, which just naturally complimented my education and personal life.”
As a professional in the field, she has observed and reinforced the importance of a global perspective.
“I think you would be hard pressed to find a business that doesn’t have some degree of international involvement—economic globalization has a completely different look from when I graduated LVC in 1990,” she outlines. “Therefore, I see firsthand the importance of studying and understanding globalization for today’s business students.”
While some may cite the negatives of the greater international interconnectivity that globalization has brought, Keyte disagrees: “The growth in globalization has enabled Pfizer to bring medicines to parts of the world that desperately need it to save and improve lives. We have more than 77,000 employees located in more than 93 countries that come to work every day knowing that the power of our company, our global operation, can improve and enhance lives by reaching the patients who need medicines.”
For those students interested in pursuing a career in international business, Keyte suggests learning and reading as much as possible about other cultures and business practices, and if possible, to study abroad for a semester. Beyond this, she stresses the importance of all students learning and pursuing what they are good at, taking risks, and ultimately, owning their career decisions.
“I am fortunate to work for a company where every day, every person, everywhere is working together for a healthier world,” Keyte iterates. “To be a part of that and knowing whether you work in research & development, manufacturing, finance, or human resources, we all have the same goal, and when a new drug is launched that will save or improve lives, it is an amazing feeling.”