An Intriguing Blend
Two sisters are blending their interests with their work, thanks to the opportunities they took advantage of, during their time with the School of Business and Economics.
Laughter emanates from the table outside of Starbucks tucked away in a cozy neighborhood in Novato. Two sisters, Niki and Alex Scioli, are reminiscing about their time at Sonoma State University. Classmates, colleagues, and now roommates, Niki and Alex are experiencing the results of getting involved early, all made possible by the opportunities they took advantage of while studying at Sonoma State's School of Business and Economics. Niki is the associate producer for their family film business, Zan Media, and Alex (who still works for the family business when she can) is the Director of Community at Therapydia, the largest online community dedicated to physical therapy.
Thanks to their mother and father's family business, Zan Media, the sisters grew up around the film industry. A family of film and video production specialists, they create feature films, documentaries, TV commercials, political TV campaigns, DVD creations, and interactive internet-based video content. "It's not what we do, but who we are," explained Niki. Both sisters took this background in film and Niki's love of wine to help create a video case study about a winery going green. The two helped Professor Armand Gilinsky create "Frog's Leap B: Open Other End" which was the first video case study to ever be published by the North American Case Research Association. The study was then published by McGraw Hill and is being taught in classrooms today.
Their ambition to be involved in new and exciting ways continued when Niki helped the family business become a Bay Area Certified Green Business, as well as a member of the Business Environmental Alliance of California. Zan Media is all digital, mostly paperless, uses LED lights, electric scripts, and even low flush toilets to help reduce their carbon footprint as a company. "The film industry is so wasteful and it is so easy to clean up your mess. It makes you extra proud of your business when you are green.", explained Niki.
How did they become award winning film producers? It all began at Sonoma State. Niki, the older of the two, started going to SSU in 2003. After Alex spent a year at San Francisco State in 2005, she decided to join her sister at Sonoma and in the School of Business and Economics, "I went from classes for 400 students to 40," said Alex, "It was great to have that kind of personal connection with your professor."
Even though they both commuted to school, making their time on campus limited, both sisters were determined to get involved while completing their undergraduate program. Alex became part of the KSUN radio team, and Niki joined the Wine Sense Club. While both sisters have a love for business they also saw the need to be well-rounded, dabbling in intramurals, art history, theater, women studies, and film. All of these interests helped the two combine what they love into their work.
Niki also became involved with the internship program, wanting to get a taste of what wine business would be like in the real world, while still learning about the industry in her classes. Her position transformed into a full-time job before she graduated. "I worked during the day and took classes at night; it was great to be able to take what I was studying in the classroom and apply it to my work."
The ambitious attitude of both sisters did not stop after they graduated; they continued their education by earning their MBAs at Sonoma as well. Gaining skills like public speaking, discipline, and how to collaborate with others, they both are reaping the rewards of having a MBA from Sonoma State. "I use what I learned every day," explained Niki. "It was challenging but not impossible. It really sets you apart when you have your MBA" continued Alex. "We had to learn how to learn," both laughing in unison and quoting what their mother told them whenever the program got difficult.
From their freshman year to graduating with their MBA, these girls are using every tool that the School of Business and Economics could provide them. "There is no school like SSU," Alex reflected. Niki professed that she has a strong sense of nostalgia whenever she is back on campus, but Alex explained that there are "1,000 ways to stay connected." Both being avid supporters of the alumni events on campus, Sonoma State surely hasn't seen the last of this dynamic duo.