IN HER WORDS: NBCC provided a solid foundation for alumna Denise Pettis

As NBCC celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023, we checked in with alumni from across the decades to determine the role that NBCC played in their career success.

Denise Pettis, a 1985 graduate of the Business Marketing Technology program at the Moncton Campus, retired in 2020 after a successful career with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. In her retirement, she’s taken on a position as a board member for YMCA Moncton.

The foundation of Denise’s NBCC training was a springboard for her career success. Her daughter, Katherine Brown, recognized this and was inspired to set herself up for the same kind of success by enrolling in NBCC’s Practical Nurse program. As a second-generation NBCC learner, Katherine was the recipient of a NBCC Alumni Family Scholarship in 2023.

Following, in her own words, is Denise’s NBCC story.

Why did you choose NBCC?

When I graduated from high school, I was unsure of my career path but knew I wanted to continue studying.

I was fortunate to have the option to stay in Moncton, apply to NBCC, and broaden my education into the business field. I knew this was a broad area of study, and it would expose me to areas of education that I had not previously had.

The smaller campus environment and smaller classes worked best for me.  Not only did NBCC have positive testimonials from students, but also promoted a high percentage of graduates who immediately gained employment. The fact that the program was over two years and had a hands-on approach for learning, both worked great for me.

These were all strong selling points for my interest in NBCC.

How did NBCC prepare you for your career?

It helped me gain the foundation I needed to enter the business field with confidence. I learned about discipline, hard work and the importance and impact of leadership.  The hands-on learning style helped us use our knowledge and turn it into something useful for business. The program was designed with an intentional focus on applying our knowledge. This was huge for building experience and confidence before heading into the work world after graduation. Having opportunities to get involved in extra curricular activities at NBCC helped me balance my college experience, which I continued throughout my career.

What has changed in your field since you graduated, and how did your NBCC education prepare you to navigate those changes?

The Business Technology program I graduated from was a great introduction into the world of business and advancing technologies. In second year I majored in marketing. While most of the fundamentals of marketing haven’t changed, how we do business and marketing today has evolved at a faster pace than I ever could have imagined.  Technology and ecommerce have changed how every area of business is conducted, as well as the importance of social responsibility and being accountable for our impact on the environment. These were foundational areas of the program for all business technology students, giving us a good starting point for this evolution.

What advice would you give to graduates of your program today? 50 years from now?

Today’s graduates are entering the business/work world at a time where the pace of change has never been faster.  While that can bring its own set of challenges, it is also an exciting time with endless possibilities. Sky’s the limit to be a part of it in your own way.

I suggest taking some time for personal reflection.

What does your journey look like, both personally and professionally?

Discover your passion and your purpose. How do you want to show up in your career? What is meaningful for you?

Stay curious. Continue learning.  Set goals for yourself.  Find where your balance is between having a successful career and what fulfills you personally. Get involved somehow in your community and help make a difference.  It is not only rewarding, but is infectious in getting others involved.

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity, just start and trust the journey.  Each decision you make will be a stepping stone to what is next for you.

Please share a special memory of your time at NBCC:

At NBCC I officially became an adult, in charge of my future. The Instructors treated us as adults.  We didn’t have to be there.  We chose to be there.  It was a given that we would work hard and they would support us, but we needed to find our way and what would work best for us. There were adults of all ages at NBCC, from varying stages of life.  I thought that was so cool that now I was part of that group too.


A few years ago I attended a meeting at NBCC and as I sat in the lobby waiting for the meeting organizer, I watched all the students and thought to myself …. I remember when that was me …what an exciting time in your life. You have the whole world open for you. I also reflected on the many friendships I made at NBCC, some who are life-long friends to this day.  As an NBCC graduate, I have had so much to be grateful for.

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