Graeme Harvey BComm'95
Graeme credits his time at Saint Mary’s University with teaching him the real meaning of entrepreneurship – it’s a lesson that has served him well through his career, leading to his current position as International Product Manager at Roche Diagnostics in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“Saint Mary’s played a big role in my understanding of what it means to have an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Harvey, recalling hours of rigorous debate, both in class and in professors’ offices. “I learned about the value of engagement and conversation and about the importance of asking good questions.” He says students were encouraged to not simply agree with their professors, but to look closely at the issues, and come up with their own opinions, backed up by supporting evidence.
Athletics & Academics
For Harvey, who grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and considered himself more of an athlete than an academic, this way of thinking was a revelation. A skilled hockey player, Harvey left home at just 14 to go to hockey school and at 19, tried out for the Calgary Flames. When that didn’t pan out, Harvey began thinking about university.
Looking at his options, he decided to go to business school, opting for Saint Mary’s because it had a good reputation in both business and hockey. Harvey played in goal for the Huskies from 1991 to 1994, winning the Rookie of the Year award from Atlantic University Sport in his first year. “Being able to play hockey was great but on the academic side, it worked out even better than I’d hoped.” He knew the smaller student-teacher ratio would give him more opportunities for mentoring and the school did that in spades.
After graduation a business opportunity took Harvey and his wife Tracy – a PEI native who he met at university – back to Green Bay, where for three years he ran his own recruitment business. It was an intense experience, Harvey said, one that taught him some valuable life lessons. “I learned that I didn’t know the first thing about work-life balance. My business was very successful, but I knew if I kept going at that pace, my life wouldn’t be successful.”
When the opportunity arose for Harvey to work for someone else other than himself, he jumped at the chance. Mindful of his SMU experience that taught him to look for opportunities and to engage with those around him, Harvey knew exactly what to ask his new boss. “I recognized that I would do better work if I was actually taking care of myself and doing the things that made me happy. I wanted to find out how to achieve that balance.”
These conversations resulted in him spending more time with family, scheduling more golf games, and furthering his education. Harvey completed an MBA at Indiana Wesleyan University in 2005 – while working full time and parenting four children – with a 3.85 grade point average.
After graduation, Harvey took on the role of Business Area Manager with Roche Diagnostics – Diabetes Care. Over the last eight years, he has been promoted time and again into higher-level management positions within the company.
Not one to “wait for the tap on the shoulder” when it comes to new growth opportunities, Harvey took charge of his career at Roche from Day One. “Growing up playing sports puts you in a position of learning to set goals for yourself and work towards them,” he says. “The same is true in the world of employment. I’ve never been afraid of sitting down with my employer and asking for new opportunities that I knew would challenge me. You just don’t know where those conversations will lead you.”