The career path of Saïd Eastman ’90 hasn’t been solitary. Along the way, he was bolstered by a strong network of friends and supporters. In return, he looked for ways to give back while climbing the ladder of success.
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“I believe strongly in the idea of community, which for me consists of family, longtime friends, and business colleagues. I didn’t get here by myself,” said the CEO of JobsInTheUS.com. “I’ve always had friends who have helped me, and I’ve always tried to help them. I think it’s part and parcel of who I am as a person.”
When his path crossed with two young Colbians, his positive attitude made all the difference on their career journey.
Eastman reconnected with Mayflower Hill to mentor students after he returned to Maine in 2016 to lead Portland-based JobsInTheUS.com, a company that advertises thousands of job opportunities monthly. His involvement began by attending Colby’s job fair with his team. Then Eastman participated in DavisConnects’ Entrepreneurship Expo as a mentor, guiding several student teams on their projects. Soon, DavisConnects introduced him to more students, and he started helping them directly, finding employment for one and offering a position to another.
“If I can help, I always want to be of assistance,” he said. “That’s the whole idea behind being an alumnus.”
Eastman knows firsthand what it feels like to navigate a challenging job market as a recent college graduate without having developed a network yet.
He graduated from Colby as a government major and economics minor during a recession. He wanted to go into banking, but most banks had canceled their training programs or reduced their capacity. As he looked for other opportunities, he wrote letters to family friends, including fellow alums, asking for guidance.
“A lot of times, it seemed that everybody was too busy to invest time to get to know me or help,” he said. Because of this, he made a conscientious decision to take time to help people as much as possible.
Like Thomas Stahlhuth ’19, who he met when Stahlhuth was a senior. The two bonded over conversations about their Colby times, families, and career aspirations. When Stahlhuth was trying to decide between playing hockey in Australia and seeking employment in Maine, he turned to Eastman for advice.
“I got the best of both worlds,” Stahlhuth said. With Eastman’s help and encouragement, he pursued this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Australia and secured a job upon his return. “Saïd was kind enough to make multiple introductions to career professionals in the Portland area, often directly to a company’s CEO,” said Stahlhuth. One of those led to his first job at the insurance company MEMIC, where he worked for more than a year.
“It’s about opening the door for somebody to get experience,” especially for recent graduates, said Eastman. “I can vouch for Colby students because I was one myself … I know the caliber of the students.”
Last year DavisConnects introduced Eastman to Chris Bedigian ’20, who lost his job during the pandemic and was looking for employment in Maine.
Eastman happened to have an open sales position at the Portland company. “Saïd was awesome to work for,” said Bedigian. Although he didn’t have much sales experience, Eastman helped Bedigian think like a sales professional and find creative solutions. With those lessons, Bedigian joined marketing tech firm MongoDB as a sales development representative.
“I’m really grateful for all the help he gave me,” Bedigian said. “He definitely inspired me to look for ways to give back to the Colby community the way that he does.”