Lorna Boucher ’86 and Roma Aurora ’18, ’20 Share Career Advice with Manning Students

A group of about 30 people look up and pose for a photo. Image by Ed Brennen
Manning School of Business alumni Lorna Boucher '86 and Roma Aurora '18, '20, front center, discussed their career paths during a recent chat at Alumni Hall hosted by the International Business Association and Finance Society.

By Ed Brennen

Roma Aurora ’18, ’20 was a first-year student in the Manning School of Business in 2014 when she met marketing and international management alumna Lorna Boucher ’86.
A decade later, Aurora found herself sitting alongside Boucher during a recent “fireside chat” at Alumni Hall, sharing career advice with current UMass Lowell students.
“I did not know our paths would keep crossing,” said Aurora, who landed an internship in 2018 at Instinet, the global financial securities service where Boucher was chief marketing officer. Aurora has worked as a marketing project manager at Instinet since 2021.
Boucher is now chief marketing and communications officer at Imperative Execution, a financial technology company. The Lowell native finds “so much energy and excitement,” she said, when she returns to campus and meets motivated students ready to launch their careers.
A seated woman speaks into a microphone while another woman looks on. Image by Ed Brennen
Roma Aurora '18, '20, left, discovered a knack for project management during an internship at Instinet, where she now works.
Close to 50 students attended the chat, which was moderated by senior business major Justin Baez, president of the International Business Association, and junior business major Marc-Antoin Belmudes, president of the Finance Society.
Boucher, chair of the Manning School’s advisory board, has established the Lorna Boucher ’86 Endowed Scholarship for women business majors at UML. Her Wall Street career has included roles as global head of marketing strategy for investor client services at Swiss-based investment bank UBS and head of product branding strategy for KCG Holdings.
Her career advice to students included these thoughts:
  • “Your career is not a ladder, it’s a portfolio. Ladders don’t exist anymore. Organizations are too flat. It feels maybe sometimes that you’re zig-zagging, but when you look back, it all makes perfect sense. Think about skill sets you’d like to add — that’s how you decide your next step. When promotions are available, go for it. But they’re not a goal unto themselves. Keep your goals open.”
  • When tackling a project, figure out how to get things moving. “I have an expression that frustrates me as a manager: ‘Start my orange.’ People who don’t know how to get a project started — that is wildly annoying to your managers.”
  • “You only have to bring in a little bit in corporate America to excel. It’s shockingly easy to be successful. Lots of people just show up, try not to take risks, and go home at the end of day. They don’t bring it. Just bring it — and make sure that they see you, but not in an obnoxious way.”
  • “Early in my career, I did this thing that is embarrassing now. I used to wear mannish pantsuits and pull my hair back in a French braid and wear glasses, like a costume. I was trying to blend in. Pretty quickly, I started to realize I had some authority and respect from my boss, and I stopped doing that. I literally let my hair down and let the creativity come out. I built it into my personal brand.”
Born in India, Aurora moved with her family to North Andover, Massachusetts, when she was 14. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with concentrations in marketing and management information systems, she continued for a Master of Science in business analytics.
“UMass Lowell let me embrace who I am as a person,” said Aurora, who served as the first president of the Manning Leaders Council during her senior year.
A woman wearing a scarf and a green sweater talks to a group of students. Image by Ed Brennen
Lorna Boucher '86, who serves as chair of the Manning School of Business Advisory Board, speaks with students following the fireside chat at Alumni Hall.
Aurora said she didn’t know much about project management until her internship at Instinet, where she realized she had a knack for it. She encouraged students to take advantage of co-ops and internships to “know what you don’t like as much as what you like.”
“Once you figure out what you like, in a place where you’re happy, work doesn’t seem like a chore. You’re excited about it,” said Aurora, who applauded the students for attending the event. 
“You didn’t have to be here, but you care and want to learn more. Keep that energy going. Keep learning and stay hungry,” she said.
Boucher’s advice about careers being a portfolio, not a ladder, resonated with Nicole Karp, a junior international business and marketing student from Dudley, Massachusetts.
“It’s hard to see, coming out of school, how you get from an internship to a leadership position. It’s nice to hear from people who have succeeded in different ways,” she said.
Liam Moriarty, a sophomore finance student from Walpole, Massachusetts, was surprised to learn that Boucher worked with Jerome Powell, now chair of the Federal Reserve, while at Bankers Trust in New York in the 1990s.
“She’s had so much experience,” Moriarty said. “It’s reassuring to see the career that she’s had. It shows that the Manning School adds a lot of value.”
Manning School Dean Bertie Greer said she knew she wanted to be at UML after meeting Boucher during her interview process last year.
“She could be doing a lot of things, but she chooses to be on the Manning School’s advisory board,” Greer said. “We’re all better for it.”