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Nomadic Soul Goes Around the Globe: Diana Doddrell (nee Sigona) '08

By Kenneth Stratton '19 MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2019 - 1:00 PM WNE100

From Springfield, to Florence, Italy, to New York City, and Sydney Australia. To say Diana Doddrell (nee Sigona) ' '08 has done some traveling in her life would be an understatement. But for someone with what she calls, a “nomadic soul,” that’s exactly what she wants.

Originally from White Plains, New York, Doddrell was enticed by Western New England for its unique sport management program at the College of Business. Sports were a big part of her college experience, not only in the classroom, but on the field as well.

“It was pretty important for me,” to play college sports, Doddrell said, “because being a student athlete was all I knew.” She had been a three-sport athlete in high school, so playing field hockey at the college level kept her focused.

Doddrell studied abroad too, spending a semester in Florence, Italy. Getting to “see the world” and take courses including Italian language and cooking were a great way to break up her undergraduate experience and broaden her cultural knowledge she said. The trip also held special, familial importance for Doddrell as her grandparents are first generation Sicilian.

“Connecting my family heritage was important to understanding family traditions and their characteristics I've been exposed to for decades,” Doddrell said. Moreso, the trip taught her to open up and step out of her comfort zone. “I sunk my teeth into traveling, and I haven’t stopped since,” she said.

In the blink of an eye, undergrad was over, and Doddrell graduated in 2008… at the peak of the Great Recession. Careers in sports were hard to come by at the time, so Doddrell used her communication minor to break into public relations. With FTI Consulting in New York City, Doddrell was doing entry level PR work in media relations, investor relations, and working with clients in financial crisis filing for bankruptcy. While much of her work might have been influenced by the recession, she doesn’t feel it impacted her in the same way it did for many others.

“It was exciting being on Wall Street at that time, I didn’t see a recession happening around me, but everyone else did,” Doddrell said. “I was just this bright eyed, out of college, eager beaver trying to launch my career and network,” she explained. New York City is fast paced and demanding, but she was more than up for the challenge.

“The hustle and bustle is part of my moral fiber,” Doddrell said. Living for ten years in the city, she said she created a broad network personally and professionally. “New York never sleeps… that’s what my life was like in my 20’s - constant go go go and saying yes to every opportunity” she exclaimed.

As much as she might have felt prepared to dive headfirst into the real world, she admitted no classroom, no internship, can really prepare one for corporate America. The first couple of years in the city were an adjustment period for Doddrell, but she hung in there.

“A lot of people around me had MBAs, I was constantly trying to catch up,” Doddrell explained. After FTI, she’d stay in the city that never sleeps, moving onto E*TRADE.

“E*TRADE challenged me to be creative with a low budget, the recession was still very present and companies were not investing” Doddrell said. “I was constantly on my feet!”

“The highlight of that job was seeing America,” the “nomadic” Doddrell said, explaining that the company sent her on the road to manage events teaching everyday Americans how they can invest their money and plan for retirement. “I felt like I was actually contributing to something bigger than myself,” she added.

Onto Goldman Sachs in 2013, Doddrell was a part of the event management team during a time when firms were ready to invest in marketing again. On the job, she got to learn a lot about banking, equity research and trading by working so closely with those businesses.

“The firm prides itself on being the best,” Doddrell said of Goldman Sachs. “So, there is no choice but to deliver above and beyond what you’re expected to do,” she said. She did much of the same work when she joined Morgan Stanley, where she’d round out her stint in New York. “I had a lot of autonomy at Morgan Stanley,” Doddrell said. “I was trusted the moment I got there,” she said, largely because of the impressive experience she’d built up to that point.

During those years in New York, Doddrell met her husband, an Australian. They talked a lot about what kind of life they might have together, and ultimately decided to move to the Land Down Under. Earning a partner visa, Doddrell has spent the last three years working and raising a family in Australia.

“It’s a completely different world,” said the former New Yorker. “In general, Australia is very laid back compared to America,” Doddrell said. Family time and vacation time are valued in Australia, a stark contrast to the no-days-off mentality Doddrell was accustomed to in New York. And the pace of work is different too, where it’s custom to take long lunches, or meet with clients and co-workers face to face at a moments notice. Slowing down was another adjustment for Doddrell, but carried by her free nomadic spirit, she settled into Aussie life just fine.

“My experience translated famously, coming over from the states,” Doddrell said. Practically upon arrival she went to work, first with a small startup, RFi Group as Marketing Manager. Soon after that, she joined PwC Australia, where she’s been for the last two years.

Doddrell is coming off maternity leave, and looking forward to getting back to work in 2020. She hopes there’s more travel to come as well, including a return to Hong Kong, where she’d spent much of 2018 working on a project. But she’s also looking forward to continuing to prioritize family time and traveling around Australia with her husband and son.

“I’m very blessed and lucky to be working at PwC, an innovative and collaborative firm with a people-centric culture, and am equally as blessed to be able to start a family in such a beautiful part of the world” Doddrell concluded.