Published 02/18/16

Jennifer (Schwall) Rousseau '11 says networking has been key to her career

Jennifer Schwall RousseauWhen it comes to career advancement, the most useful tool Jennifer (Schwall) Rousseau has wielded is networking. “The ability to network was something that was always emphasized at Bryant and is something that has really propelled my career forward,” she says. “I’m no longer nervous walking into a roomful of strangers because Bryant trained us, as early as freshman year, to take advantage of every opportunity to network. That ability and confidence has allowed me to have many conversations with individuals who have benefited my career and the firm I represent.”

As executive director of Cherrystone Angel Group, Rhode Island’s first organized angel investing group, Rousseau vets the ventures, which includes identifying potential deals, evaluating the product or service, analyzing the market and competitive landscape, and working with companies to determine financial projections and funding strategies.

"I’m ecstatic when we can make a deal work that allows them to pursue their dream.”

“My job is to find the best deals for our members and evaluate their return potential,” she says. “The robust, well-rounded business education I received at Bryant allows me to examine these deals from multiple angles to determine the best opportunities.”

But while finance and investing are the fields she gravitated toward, what Rousseau enjoys most is listening to the entrepreneurs pitch their businesses. “The passion behind their ventures resonates with me, and I’m ecstatic when we can make a deal work that allows them to pursue their dream. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

An active alumna, Rousseau speaks with classes about angel investing and has met with students individually to discuss venture ideas or careers in venture capital. “The Bryant community is truly amazing, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

In addition to her work, she serves on several boards and commissions in the New England area including the UMASS Dartmouth Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Providence Chamber’s Innovation Providence Board, and the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition’s Development Committee.