Based on her extensive education in global health, you would think that Fiorella “Fifi” Vittorio would be a policy analyst with a government agency or helping those affected by war or natural disaster within an international health organization. Instead, she is thriving in her career here at WOU and just became Director of Career Services for Montgomery County, Maryland, after graduating from the organization’s Director-in-Training program. Fifi will be the first to tell you that a person’s background and education aren’t nearly as important as a person’s soft skills in having a successful career with WOU.

In 2013, Fifi earned her bachelor’s in global and community health from George Mason University and immediately joined the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees. There, she raised awareness and funds to provide relief to those displaced by conflict. She knew it would not be a long-term position for her, so after six months, she set off in search of a new role.

Fifi’s friend and regional director of WOU, Iskedar Ayalew, had joined WOU a few years before and was convinced Fifi had the personality and skills WOU needed. “I thought she would be a great fit because she was always open to learning, respectful, and kind,” Iskedar noted. “She shows empathy for people and connects easily.”

Fifi did some research, liked WOU’s mission, and thought she would give it a shot. She applied and was hired in 2014 but left the organization in 2015 to fulfill a goal: earning a Master of Public Health degree from City University of London. When she returned to the United States a year later, though, she went straight back to WOU to continue helping people with barriers to employment find meaningful work.

Those with public health degrees are humanitarians who, like others at WOU, strive to help others. It is that desire to make a difference and other soft skills that Fifi believes are more important at WOU than a certain background or degree. “I would say that someone who is teachable and pays attention to details would succeed here,” she commented. “A team player, a passion to make a difference in people’s lives, and patience would also be great skills to have.”

Iskedar would agree, especially since she sees all of those traits in her friend, and it came as no surprise to her that Fifi was recently promoted to director. “I knew she would be great here, and I think she has potential to do much more,” said Iskedar. “The ongoing professional development afforded by WOU is exactly what Fifi needs, as she always strives for ongoing personal and professional growth. I would say it’s a win-win for both her and WOU!”

If you have compassion for others like Fifi and would like to explore a rewarding career with Work Opportunities, visit to learn more or apply!