On October 11th-12th, CWIB attended their second trek of the semester to our nation’s capital– Washington, D.C. These ladies were fortunate enough to meet with Cvent, Capital One, and Custom Ink, gaining valuable advice and professional lessons from powerful women in different careers. They took away from each session a better idea of how their personal strengths can fit in any company, whether or not the job necessarily relates to their major. As long as you continue to strive for your goals, your career path will fall into place.
The CWIB attendees were truly able to connect with the professional women they met with, especially at Cvent and Capital One, as several Hokie alums were present! Each of these ladies provided excellent advice on how to stand out in an interview. Tori Pollard, a junior CWIB member, recalls that “They encouraged us to ask questions that enriched the conversation.” They stressed how crucial it is to engage with the interviewer in order to show your passion for the job. Neha Shah, Chief Communications Officer, really appreciated how highly all the employees spoke about their respective companies, while simultaneously describing the strenuous transition from college to the workforce. Hearing the realities of the entire job process from women who have already encountered trials and successes proved to be effective in helping the CWIB members grasp how they can prepare to do the same. Plus, it’s always wonderful to see what our Hokies are accomplishing in the real world!
Despite all the wonderful experiences at each company, Shah and Pollard both felt exceptionally welcomed at Custom Ink. “They were very caring– providing us with goodies such as a bag, a book, mugs, and even free t-shirts!” Shah said. She also felt truly empowered when the employees described their company culture. “I think the idea of playing a part in [the] execution of what someone designs and creates is an amazing job and only highlights a small portion of the sheer amount of talent in this world,” Shah told The CWIB Chronicles. Her eyes were opened to all the possibilities a particular company has to offer, as each woman’s unique skill sets are irreplaceable assets to the right business. Pollard also felt inspired through Custom Ink’s networking session as “they encouraged us to volunteer for as many new things as you can going into your job, allowing you to absorb and apply new skills that you learn.” Going above and beyond with your responsibilities, as well as eagerly anticipating new business needs, will help new employees find their place in the company and show others their passion for their work.
In order to become a thriving company, obviously there have to be some obstacles along the way, but it is only when a business embraces those difficulties that they can achieve their goals. Shah was extremely humbled when she realized Custom Ink was a start-up company a few years ago, as they “heard about some of their struggles and the belief they had in making sure the company didn’t go under.” This was very powerful to her to hear about such a genuine experience. The overall tone of the company and the way the employees carry themselves truly stuck with her, as she realized she wanted to be a part of a similar culture.
The main reason CWIB attends treks is to help empower, prepare, and connect our members to careers in the real world. Every professional encounter is a step in the right direction in determining your own goals. Pollard believed that “attending these panels and networking sessions gave me an opportunity to connect with professionals and practice my elevator speech.” Shah benefitted by exploring the different business paths. “More often than not, your major doesn’t have to do with the work you’re doing,” Shah said. For example, Shah spoke with the moderator of the Custom Ink panel, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania as a graduate student in positive psychology. As a psychology minor, Shah felt “It was an interesting turn to the conversation when we started talking about Psychology and she pushed me to learn about this specific topic and reach out to her with any questions.” This perfectly shows how diverse the business world is and how various majors and minors can lead to a successful career within the broad industry.
With hearing all this amazing information, don’t you want to apply to the next trek? Shah and Pollard highly encourage all CWIB members to apply for any and all future treks. “Treks provide you with the ability to make connections with other girls in CWIB. The experience allows you to explore a new area outside of your comfort zone,” Pollard said. “I was able to bond with all the amazing, hardworking, and empowered members on this trek,” Shah said.
Visiting an amazing city, networking with successful professionals, and growing closer to your CWIB members are just three benefits of attending treks. The DC trek did not disappoint the attendees, as they gained valuable tips and made lasting memories that will serve them well in their respective future careers. This was neither Shah’s nor Pollard’s first trek, yet they both agree it was one of their favorites! DC is an ideal location for many internships, so being able to meet some of these potential employers was a great way to get their foot in the door.
All of the attendees would like to thank Cvent, Capital One, and Custom Ink for their excellent sessions and dedicated efforts in making their experiences so worthwhile! The CWIB ladies are beyond grateful to have shared this experience together, as they grew closer to fellow members, as well as get connected with the panel of professionals at each company. As always, don’t forget to listen to Shah’s advice to “dream big and know that you can make anything possible!”
By: Emma Harwood