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Alumni Spotlight

Introducing the Farmingdale Four 

A Quick Q&A with Henry Schein Marketing Executive, Maureen Knott '84

Maureen Knott “Raise your hand, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.” That’s Maureen Knott ’84’s advice to students new to campus or graduates just starting out in the business world. After all, that’s how she got to where she is today. Now a Vice President of the Omnichannel Customer Marketing Team at Henry Schein Inc., a worldwide distributor of dental and medical supplies and equipment, Knott is passionate about mentoring young professionals and giving back to the Long Island community. And she credits nearly everything she’s done in her career to the foundation she built at Farmingdale State College. We recently caught up with her and asked her “The Farmingdale Four.”

Tell me your FSC story. Why was FSC the right school for you? 

My parents were blue collar people, and I was the first in my family to go to college. We didn’t have the resources for me to go away to school. Even though it wasn’t far from where I grew up, Farmingdale was never a compromise. I remember visiting campus and thinking “I could really see myself here.” I had that feeling in my stomach, the one you get when you just know. I just loved the vibe. It was the perfect fit for me.

What memory – of a class, a teacher, a project – stays with you to this day?

What stays with me are the friendships and relationships I developed at Farmingdale. I was a student in the secretarial sciences program, and my fellow students – almost all women – and I shared a central thread in that we were all from Long Island. When I stepped on campus, I didn’t know anyone. No one from my high school went to Farmingdale. But to this day, I have friends that I talk to regularly whom I met on campus. They’ve been with me through everything.

The FSC motto is: "to become all that we are capable of being." How has FSC shaped who you are today?

It’s nearly unheard of for someone to work at the same company for 35 years, but, well, here I am. I have Farmingdale to thank. In terms of formal degrees, my associates degree from Farmingdale is it for me. I don’t have a bachelors or an MBA. When I started at Henry Schein, we were a privately held company with fewer than 200 employees. Now we are a public company with more than 19,000 – and I’m among the most senior leaders in the firm. What I learned there – organization, diligent note taking, follow up – seem like skills most people in business should have, but I know they don’t. My work ethic and my willingness to try new things is also a connecting theme in my story. Whether that’s being the first in my family to graduate from college or trusting others when they saw something in me I couldn’t yet recognize in myself, I’ve taken chances.

What would you tell a student just starting at FSC?

Failure is essential to learning. Henry Schein has donated more than $2 million to cancer organizations over the last two decades. And you know who started that program? I did. But the first year, it was a miserable flop. I took on something new and it bombed. But I went back and asked my colleagues, customers, and salespeople what I got wrong, and they told me. I took that all in, made changes, and involved others. That’s when it became successful. So be very open minded and make connections. Don’t be afraid of taking that first step. Be a sponge. Find mentors. I know I have been fortunate in my career, but I’ve also worked very hard. So put in the time. Don’t expect it to be easy. But know it will be worth it. 

Development & Alumni Engagement

The Office for Development and Alumni Engagement works closely with the Farmingdale College Foundation – raising and managing critical philanthropic dollars for the College, cultivating meaningful relationships with donors, corporate partners and community friends – and the Farmingdale Alumni Association, keeping our 100,000 alumni informed, engaged, proud, and supportive of the College, strengthening their lifelong connection to FSC students and each other.

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