CWIB’s Philanthropy Feature

Virginia Tech’s motto, Ut Prosim – “That I may serve” –  is a very powerful statement and one that many students are drawn to while choosing a college to attend. Not only is our motto based upon serving others, it is actually enacted through the many philanthropic events that students at Virginia Tech host throughout the years. CWIB is extremely committed to upholding Virginia Tech’s motto and following through with it on a daily basis by giving back to the community around us.

This year, our philanthropy has gone in a different direction, thanks to the guidance of our Philanthropy Chair, Emma Sedlack. Our philanthropy is One Girl, and our organization is dedicated to this cause, however this year we have become much more involved in our community outreach in Blacksburg and the surrounding area.

I’ve reached out to Emma Sedlack to discuss how our philanthropy has evolved this year and what she envisions the future of our philanthropy to look like.

How did you become involved with our philanthropy and what drew you to the position of VP of Philanthropy?

“I have always had a passion for community work. In high school, I had the urge to get involved and give back. Throughout high school (sophomore-senior year) I organized a sock drive from October to December called Socks for Seniors. I collected new warm, fuzzy, festive socks to deliver to the eldery at Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities. After wrapping the socks in bows, I organized a group of volunteers to come with me and sing holiday carols to the residents to brighten their day. Seeing something as small as a pair of fuzzy socks make such a difference really made me realize how important it is to be involved and give back. This stopped once I came to Tech, but I still wanted to be involved, and thought VP of Philanthropy was a great way to give back to the community.”

How would you describe CWIB’s philanthropy?

“I wouldn’t put a definition to CWIB’s philanthropy, because we can do whatever we want to give back and support who we choose!”

Why did you decide to change the direction of our philanthropy?

“In past years, “One Girl” was deemed our philanthropy, and no one knew about it, or was involved whatsoever. Money was raised through Instagram stories which so many people would just click through. Coming into this year as VP of Philanthropy, I had free range to morph CWIB’s philanthropy into whatever I thought was best.  I wanted to move away from One Girl, and change it up a bit. I really wanted to focus on getting CWIB involved with the community and Virginia Tech itself. I think it is so important to give back to what is around us, and make philanthropy a tangible thing so members can see the difference they are making. A goal I had for this year was to partner and really just build ties with other on campus organizations and their philanthropies as well as community organizations so CWIB could grow.”

What events do we hold to support our Blacksburg community?

canned food donations
Check out all the food and goods that were donated to the Blacksburg Interfaith Food Pantry!

“This year I implemented a fundraiser / food collection for Blacksburg Interfaith Food Pantry during the fall to help those in need. CWIB donated proceeds of over $100.00 and 4 big bags of canned/dry goods to the Blacksburg Interfaith Food Pantry. This spring I was super excited for CWIB to be part of the Big Event, we registered as a team and had many members sign up, but sadly that was cancelled.”

Why is it important for us to give back to our Blacksburg community?

“Blacksburg is our home. Although it may be our second one, it is no less prevalent. We spend a majority of our college career pouring our heart and soul into Blacksburg in so many ways, but I don’t think we realize how lucky we are to have such a community and family. Without Blacksburg, Tech is nothing, and vice versa. It has given us amazing experiences, and I think it is important to be in the know about our surrounding area and give back in any way we can.”

Lastly, how can someone in CWIB become more involved with our philanthropy?

“If you have any ideas or passions that would allow CWIB members to be involved, please reach out to our incoming Philanthropy VP Sraavani Jayanti @ sraavanij36@vt.edu, or me, Emma Sedlack @ emmas5@vt.edu.”

Clearly, due to Emma’s passion for helping others and giving back to those around her, she was naturally drawn to VP of Philanthropy. I want to give a huge shoutout to Emma for all of the hard work that she has put in over the past year and continues to do in her everyday life.

After talking to Emma about our philanthropy, and the importance in giving back to our community it is extremely clear that uplifting those around you is a crucial aspect of being a Hokie. During this time, while we may not be at Virginia Tech, being a Hokie doesn’t stop. Now more than ever is a time where we can give back to a cause greater than ourselves. I urge everyone to take the time to thank those who are risking their lives taking care of people affected by the Coronavirus. To the nurses, doctors, teachers, truck drivers, scientists, grocery store workers and so many others, thank you. Please continue the Hokie tradition of helping others and I can’t wait to see how this translates to how CWIB can further help our community. This excites me to see all of you back in Blacksburg in the fall!

By: Paige Horn

 

The Power of Connection

You may have heard someone recently say,“ its physical distancing, not social distancing.” While there is truth to that, there is also no denying so much social interaction has been lost due to the Coronavirus and quarantine life. Not only have social interactions greatly declined, but many internships, networking opportunities, and academic opportunities have been postponed or canceled. Even though these circumstances are disappointing, we don’t have to sit on the sidelines until this passes. There are still many ways to stay involved with your community and further your professional goals.

smartphone

Continue to reach out to the company you planned to work for

If there’s a new job or internship you worked hard to lock down that’s now in question, there are still ways to stay connected! Keep track of how the company is doing and how they have adapted through their website and social media. If you are not quite sure what your position/internship may now look like, reach out! There’s no harm in asking, the response might just take a little longer than expected. Even if a company is not struggling financially, they likely have had to reorganize for remote work as well as adjust to the changes in the economy and what the future might hold, so be a little patient.

Pick up a new professional skill

Even though many campus activities and resume-building events have been canceled, there are a lot of ways to build your resume and grow your expertise online! LinkedIn Learning has courses available for you to learn more about how to be a better professional. Take a few courses and add them to your profile to show employers you care and are interested in improving yourself.

mail

Find a way to get involved in your community

Volunteer work is so important in times like these, and getting involved in your community is much more than just something to add to your resume. Whether it’s through an organization or just helping an elderly neighbor get their groceries, doing something for others will give you a sense of purpose and could (safely) get you out of the house a little. Other ways to help may be offering to run social media for a local nonprofit or small company that is struggling, facetiming a child you usually babysit to give their parents a small break, or offering to virtually tutor someone in a subject you excel in.

Make connections by asking for advice 

Professionals enjoy helping students, so to maximize your time as a college student now stuck inside, consider reaching out through email to a few successful businessmen and women in a field you are passionate about. Tell them you are a student and were wondering if they would be willing to share how they got to where they are and what advice they might give their younger selves. People love talking about themselves and you might make some valuable connections by showing interest!

telephone

Follow a new company or organization online

Maybe you are like me and don’t have an internship or job lined up yet, but are missing the networking opportunities and information sessions that being on campus brought you. Now is a great time to do some research on where you may want to work one day. You can do this through LinkedIn or Handshake, as well as just looking up companies based on your interests. You can also reach out to a fellow Hokie in the professional world and ask how they found the job they have now.

Reach out to a friend this week 

Everyone varies in how to connect with friends and family through this time. You may be facetiming people everyday all day, or maybe you have happily settled into minimal social interaction. I personally have been surprised how easily I have settled into a slow social pace of not seeing or talking to friends everyday. No matter what side of the spectrum you are on, it can be good to break routine a little, so I encourage you to reach out to someone you maybe have not talked to in a while! This could mean calling a grandparent, a roommate, a friend from high school, or whoever comes to mind.

smiley.jpeg.

Stay positive 

The weight of being in the middle of a global pandemic can be heavy sometimes, and it can be frustrating that the best way to help is to essentially sit still. It’s important to stay informed, but don’t let the stats get you down. Put good news into your daily routine! I recommend following Tank’s Good News on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to get happy stories daily. I also highly encourage you to check out John Krasinski’s new YouTube channel “Some Good News,” where he reports on heartwarming stories of the week, cracks some jokes, and surprises everyday heroes through video calls.

Remember, it’s okay if you aren’t productive or social every second of every day. 

While this is a great time to utilize online resources and better prepare ourselves for the rest of college and life afterward, its okay if some days you aren’t productive or the only thing accomplished is a Netflix marathon. Just like in a normal week, some days are better than others. Some of the best advice I have ever received is that it’s never too late to start the day over. The beauty of quarantine life is we have more flexibility than normal to do just that. There’s no shame if some days you make your bed and start your work at 7:00PM.

Although we may be physically and geographically distanced, COVID-19 does not have to stop us from connecting with people personally and professionally. Everyone is in the same situation in that none of us have endured a global pandemic before, and in a lot of ways, this means we have more in common with each other than ever before. If we can work hard and help each other out (by physically distancing), we will be back to normal life soon.

By: Grace Farmelo

Reaching Out to Your Dream Job

It’s always good to have a dream to chase. Working towards a goal not only gives you a drive to succeed, but it motivates you to better yourself. A common dream for many young women about to enter the working world is the idea of a dream job or a dream company you would love to work for. If you have found either of those aspirations for yourself, it can be exciting to start a new journey in your professional life, but it can also be intimidating. How do you even begin the process of working towards such a goal? Who should you contact, and what should you say to get your foot in the door? It all begins with establishing contact.

above create contact

Create Contact

Let’s say you have found a company that seems like a perfect fit for you and you want to reach out to them and make yourself known. You know about what they do and how they operate, and you have a good understanding of their history. When approaching a large corporation or a well-established company, there is a certain professional etiquette for communication you should become familiar with.

You can start by using the most ubiquitous social platform on the web to establish contact with the company: LinkedIn. Connect with the company on LinkedIn and follow their updates to keep up with changes in their activities, staffing, and accomplishments. Networking via LinkedIn is also a great way to get in contact with people working at your company of interest or in your dream job. This is why it is so important to invest time and effort in LinkedIn. By continuously growing your network of connections, you may give yourself the opportunity to establish contact with someone in an advantageous position to you at that company through an introduction from a different connection. Keep in mind, the most polite way to reach out to someone on LinkedIn who you do not know personally or who does not provide you directly with the opportunity to connect with them, is through a 2nd degree connection. A 2nd degree connection on LinkedIn is similar to a “friend of a friend.” It is someone you do not know directly, but who is introduced to you through someone with whom you have a direct connection.

Additionally, following the company on their social media platforms, like Instagram or Facebook, is a great way to create contact. This goes for entrepreneurs and public figures as well, but not for private personal accounts for individuals. The relationship will be professional, and will help you stay updated on their activities and give you the ability to make a name for yourself by commenting on and sharing their posts, which expresses your interest in their work.

abovetopicsofconversation

Topics of Conversation

Although it may seem counterintuitive, it is never a good idea to start a conversation with a company, employee, or employer by asking about a job. Instead, start by introducing yourself and ask if they can provide some information about the position you are interested in, the company they work for, their workplace culture, their industry, their personal experiences, etc. It is important to appeal to your correspondent’s expertise and to give them respect as someone in a position above your own that may end up helping you in the long run. You want to make a good impression, and asking for a job without building a relationship first will come across as hasty and impersonal.

In terms of introducing yourself, here are some key points to cover. First, provide your contact with information about yourself that establishes your credibility as a worthwhile connection. Furthermore, offer information about your skills, interests, goals, or knowledge that would highlight their value to your contact. Understand that whoever you try to connect with may receive many similar emails or messages. To stand out to them, make an impact with your unique qualities and keep your introduction concise. Lastly, make it clear that you do not expect a job offer from your relationship. This takes pressure off the other person and makes them more comfortable with the idea of keeping in touch with you.

above other ways in

Other Ways In

Talking directly with someone of interest to you is ideal, but not always possible. Gaining the appropriate connections and networking can take time, and your current situation may not allow for that kind of opportunity yet. Luckily, there are other ways for you to reach out. If there is an event put on for your target company or industry that is open to you, make an effort to go. Conferences and events can be a great way to gain information and network, which could lead to an in-person or online connection. Don’t forget to notify companies you follow on social media attending the event that you will be there too!

Additionally, a method of establishing contact that has been decreasing in popularity is sending a letter of interest. Moving communications online has streamlined operations and hiring for many industries and has become quite ubiquitous. If you are confident in your fit at a particular company and really want to stand out among the many applications that company sees every day, then you may want to consider sending a letter to them explaining your interest in a certain position. Be sure to include your resume, but don’t ask for a job outright. Mention their recent successes and how you may contribute to that success in the future, instead.

It Takes Time

Now that you know how to approach a company or individual employer appropriately, and in a way that optimizes your relationship, you can try applying these tips and strategies to help you progress on your path to your dream job! However, the key to succeeding in this task is to be patient. You can find yourself being eager to get the job and get started, but expressing interest calmly and professionally benefits your image in the company’s eyes. So be confident in yourself and your decision to follow your dreams because you may be their dream employee!

By: Lauren Miles

Your Passions and Your Projects

Some lucky people find their passions in high school and go on to major in Biology or English with a specific career in mind. The majority of us, however, know a little about what we are good at and what we like to do, but not the career path that best fits us. Especially in the arena of business, there are so many avenues to take and paths to take them. Sometimes, it’s hard to stay inspired when your classes aren’t quite what you thought they would be or you are not exactly sure what job you want to work toward. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you find more purpose in your work and bring your passions into what you do daily.

clipboard

   1. What feels like it has purpose and what feels like an obligation?

There are a lot of opinions thrown around about careers, but only you know what feels best for you. Of your classes and extracurriculars, what do you like to do best? What feels fun, easy, or like a welcome challenge? On the flip side, what feels like something you have to do instead of something you get to do? We tend to lean towards what we are good at and interested in. I suggest making a list of positions, activities, skills, and atmospheres you like and comparing that list to possible career options.

Maybe you are in a leadership role with your sorority and you love working with a primarily female organization, so you look for that in a career path. Or you volunteer with kids and would love to be involved with education but don’t see yourself as a teacher. These are all important things to know when thinking about what you want to do with your life.

2 cwib article.jpg.

2. Are there any obligations you can get rid of? 

As we are currently in the middle of a pandemic, most events and obligations have been canceled. So maybe the better question is this: Of the activities you had before, what do you not miss? Of course, obligations are a part of life and there is something to be said for trying new things, taking a class you know nothing about and resume building, but as far as your future career, what would you prefer it not involve? As I like to tell myself, it is just as important to know what you dislike as it is to know what you really enjoy.

3 cwib article.jpg.

3. Are there any projects/activities you are passionate about that you can add to            your schedule?

With the current state of events, as well as summer on the horizon, hopefully you have a little more time on your hands. Now is the perfect opportunity to begin a new venture — something you have been wanting to do, but always thinking it wasn’t the right time. Maybe it’s an art project, a side hustle, a blog, an Instagram account about plants — really anything you feel passionate about wish you had more time for in regular life. It is also a great time to research companies and organizations you are interested in or hope to work for in the future.

4 cwib article.jpg.

4. What is your end goal? 

It might seem like an obvious question, and most of us would probably just say a job, but reflecting on what you really want in life can help you put your career path in context. Is climbing the corporate ladder your goal? Do you want to go to a nine-to-five for most of your life? Does where you want to live have jobs you are interested in? Would you prefer working from home or going to an office everyday? Would you like flexible hours or do you need more structure? Even within specific disciplines, there are numerous concentrations and companies that all do things a little bit differently.

5 cwib article.jpg.

5. Do you want a career with your passions or a side hustle?

Although our skills and passions overlap, you may find yourself really good at a job you don’t completely love. That does not mean you have to force yourself to love it or even stay in that field. If you don’t mind it, maybe make your passion your side hustle and keep your job to help fund that project.

While college is a vital starting point for your career and future, the job you get right out of school doesn’t determine the rest of your  life. As you probably know from successful business men and women – people rarely stick with the path they start on, and that’s okay! You may change your career drastically multiple times throughout your life. What matters now is that you explore what interests you and what you may be able to do with those interests and skills you have.

By: Grace Farmelo

 

Nashville Trek Recap

above first paragraph

This past week, from February 27th-28th, some of our CWIB members participated in a trek to Nashville, Tennessee. They got to enjoy the sights and sounds of the country music capital of the world, as well as visit the Creative Artists Agency, Dollar General, and Nissan. Creative Artists Industry (CAA) is a talent management agency representing all kinds of performers, from music and acting to sports. They focus on collaboration within the workplace to provide a holistic approach to client representation. Dollar General is an American retail store that, according to their motto, focuses on “serving others” by selling a variety of products at accessible prices. And lastly, Nissan is a household name in the car industry that originated in Japan and now operates as a successful multinational enterprise. At each of these companies, our members were able to network and to hear from panels of female and male speakers, who all spoke about their experiences in their respective industries and within the company itself.

below first paragraph

One of the most memorable aspects of the trip for all of the members I contacted, in addition experiencing Nashville, was the advice they gained from the panels they attended. Paige Horn recalls that the women in the panels recounted their time in the working world thus far and their experiences within their companies, which varied greatly due to differences in background, level of experience, age, and skill. The women the members talked to at Dollar General, for instance, were newer to the workforce than that of the other companies, and thus provided advice that was more applicable for recent college grade transitioning into the workplace, explained Samy Febles.

Some of our members had a piece of wisdom from these panels in which they found especially great value. Sarah Viebrock claims that her favorite piece of advice from the panelists was that you are not limited by your degree. If you find a company that provides the best fit for your skills and lifestyle, it can allow you to move around and try different tasks internally. Laurel Rubens learned that “stepping up to challenges” and taking ownership for your actions without going overkill on apologizing, a habit for some, can improve your interactions with others at work and your satisfaction with your work. Paige Horn also notes that the importance of finding a mentor was mentioned, and that being open to critique and advice while maintaining confidence in your abilities is key as a woman in the workplace.

Apart from tips on adjusting to the workplace and workplace culture, each company educated our members about specific aspects of their business. Nissan representatives discussed the struggles of managing a very large corporation, as well as how to market automobiles to a globally diverse audience. Dollar General focused on retail strategy and their approach to supply chain management. They also included a fun tour of the company and a trip to the “Dollar General Museum.” Lastly, CAA discussed the experience and skills needed to represent major artists and build personal brands. At CAA, our members also had the opportunity to meet with an agent who recently helped world famous performing artist, Harry Styles, book his tours.

belowfourthparagraph

When I asked what their biggest takeaway was from this trip, I received some very poignant and empowering responses. A theme throughout their responses was being unafraid to put 100% of yourself into attaining what you want, especially in your career. Laurel Rubens learned that pursuing your great idea for a new product or company could change your life for the better, so don’t be afraid to follow that dream! Both Samy Febles and Sarah Viebrock emphasized the importance of being unafraid to push yourself and take risks. With great risk often comes great reward, and some of the most successful people in business made it to where they are today by learning how to take calculated risks. Our members seemed to have learned a lot about becoming trailblazing women in business!

abovelastparagraph

Treks are truly great experiences for any member of CWIB to be a part of. The members I contacted expressed their appreciation for the unique networking opportunities these trips provide, as well as the wealth of knowledge they gained from talking to women in business directly. Treks often provide more diverse and realistic perspectives of the working world, and having the ability to ask specific questions can help members personalize their experience and do their own research on different industries in a fun and open environment. Sarah Viebrock says that the trek “opened [her] eyes to many possibilities of a business degree.” Visiting diverse varieties of companies that all fall within the category of “business” can indeed broaden the horizons of what opportunities lie in wait for your specific skill sets or degree. Furthermore, treks are great for bonding with other members of CWIB. The time spent in the car during the trip actually a great chance to get to know everybody and grow closer to each other, and was one of Paige Horn’s favorite parts of her trek. A new opportunity to participate in a trek is always right around the corner, so if you’re interested in making friends, travelling, or exploring what options are waiting for you after graduation, make sure to keep your eye out for CWIB’s next trek! CWIB would like to thank Creative Artists Agency, Nissan, and Dollar General for networking with our members, providing insight to their company missions and cultures, and fostering a welcoming atmosphere while on this trek!

By: Lauren Miles

 

Mentors: Your Guardian Angels in the Workplace

When reading articles or watching educational videos on developing your professional career, most people will advise you to look into mentorship. Mentors are experienced professionals in your workplace who can assist and teach you about skills valuable for building your career. Such skills can be as general as writing up your resume into its most appealing version, or technical and specialized skills that are unique to what you do. To help new Collegiate Women in Business members adjust to the organization and the different benefits it provides such as events and networking, the mentorship program was developed. We asked VP of Mentorship, Elizabeth Sweeney, some questions to help inform members about the CWIB mentorship program.

elizabeth sweeney
Elizabeth Sweeney, VP Mentorship

How would you summarize the mentorship program?

The mentorship program is a place for girls of various backgrounds to come together and simply help each other. Helping them with school work, personal, or social aspects of their lives. The mentorship program is what you make of it. If you want to see your mentee/mentor at the monthly meeting, you can save a seat for them. If you want to go out and have lunch weekly, go for it!  The whole purpose is to pair up two ladies and hopefully allow them to use our three pillars and encourage each other.

What are the benefits of having a mentor?

Mentors can help with whatever you need. As previously mentioned, the mentorship program is what you make of it. I have heard feedback from girls that have had their mentors go above and beyond. Mentors have texted random encouraging texts, helped with job and internship activities, met up for lunch, and even go for a fun night out of bowling. Having said that, the benefits can be any amount of anything, but it is truly creating a familiar face in a time of your life that can be crazy.

What made you want to become VP of Mentorship?

VP of Mentorship has been a position for years. The reason why the mentorship program is run the way it was is solely based on two facts. First, I wanted young Hokies to find somebody that can be more than a friendly face. Getting involved as a freshman and seeing other girls already know what their major is and who their friends are can be intimidating. I want women to feel empowered and loved by girls in the room.

Secondly, I wanted somebody to help young Hokies, knowing what I needed help with my early years at Tech. I needed somebody to tell me that there is free tutoring offered on campus. I needed to learn basic things as a new Blacksburg local. I was in the mentorship program last year. In my head, I thought that it can be a strong associate to CWIB. With a little bit of rewiring, I think steps to continue to improve the program are in place.

kobu-agency-7okkFhxrxNw-unsplash

CWIB Mentorship

Participating in this mentorship program can be greatly beneficial for internships or jobs, having a second opinion on professional questions, and all things Collegiate Women in Business. Not only do you have another familiar face in the many women who are in the organization, you also have a guide to help you with professional questions that you might not know who to ask. Plus, previous mentees can eventually become a mentor to other new members and pass down the knowledge they have acquired!

Many students go off to find professional mentors in their workplace for advice stemming from personal experience in their chosen career path, or simply wanting someone to help further their knowledge in their respective field. There are countless benefits to mentors, who can be a support system, advisor, and coach all in one. You can look through your company’s Human Resources department to see if your workplace provides a mentorship program, or search outside the office such as on LinkedIn or other networking sites. Finding a professional mentor can be especially helpful for those just starting to work in the real world, and are not sure where to begin learning. Befriending those in your department is always an additional way to find a support system when just starting out, which will benefit your collaboration abilities and help you to work on solving problems with others. There is never a time when having a network of professionals to turn to won’t help you with your career! Begin surrounding yourself with those who have goals, ambitions, and are looking to support others now!

By: Gyu Ri Kim

 

Protiviti Spotlight

CWIB would not be possible without our sponsors who provide networking opportunities, jobs to CWIB alumni, and insight into the corporate world. Protiviti, a global consulting firm, is one of these sponsors and I had the opportunity to hear more about this company from three CWIB alumni currently employed at Protiviti.

protiviti

 

Andra Scaliti, a 2019 graduate with a Business Information Technology degree, says she found Protiviti through other CWIB members and a Pre-Business Horizon’s event. She says, “What stood out to me immediately were the people, each one of which I could easily have a friendly, open, and candid conversation with.” Lauren Carey, another 2019 graduate with a degree in Finance and Management found Protiviti through a workshop they held with CWIB and also from CWIB members newly employed there.

Heather Sangalang, also a 2019 grad who found Protiviti through connections in CWIB, says Protiviti stood out to her because, “everyone has been so warm, welcoming, and inclusive. The passion they have for Protiviti’s culture and mission, as well as their genuine desire to see their peers succeed, are evident.” She is, “so thankful to have a job that allows me to enjoy not just the work itself, but the people I work with as well.” Lauren mentions their new Foundations Program, which allows new employees to work on a range of projects, is what drew her to Protiviti and says “I was excited to be a part of this program to help me to figure out what I am actually interested in and have the opportunity to work with multiple clients.”

The transition from college to the real working world can be a tough one, but Protiviti provides assistance in many ways to help new employees feel at home. At the “training school” Heather says, “You get the opportunity to travel to a cool city with hundreds of other new hires to learn about what the firm is like, how to implement our methodology, what basic consulting skills are, and how to network.” Andra mentions this eased “the transition from college to corporate life.” Lauren says Protiviti’s mentorship program greatly helped her transition. She became friends with her peer advisor and says, “she was there to answer all of my questions and help me navigate my first months with the firm.” She mentions while the transition into the workforce has been difficult, her mentors have greatly helped.

Andra, Lauren, and Heather are all current consultants at Protiviti. Andra explains, “While consultant level responsibilities vary greatly across engagements, some common functions include attending client meetings, generating work papers, and completing risk assessments to enable our clients’ success.” Heather is currently working on a project with a large software company and with her team, “is conducting a risk assessment, which means we are evaluating the client’s current processes and identifying what risks exist that may impede their day-to-day operations, customer interactions, and profitability.” Lauren is currently working on an anti-money laundering project and is “in charge of account analysis and reviewing people’s accounts to determine if there is suspicious activity.” Andra is a Foundations Consultant in New York City and works “across multiple solutions including Technology Consulting, Business Performance Improvement, Risk and Compliance, and Internal Audit.” Though these women have similar job titles, their responsibilities and interests vary greatly and all have been able to find their place at the company.

Heather says in addition to working with clients, she has, “been able to help with campus recruiting, get involved in network groups (i.e. Women in Technology group), and plan social events.” Andra appreciates the experience Protiviti offers her and says “Protiviti enables rapid growth for its consultants’ skillsets, both technical and interpersonal.” Lauren says she has been given more responsibility in her first six months than she expected, which has made her feel valued and respected in the company.

If you are anything like me, you are probably wondering how to land a job at such a great company right out of college. Andra says in addition to being involved in CWIB leadership, she played Club Soccer and Club Lacrosse at Virginia Tech, “which built work ethic and taught team dynamics which apply directly to my day-to-day.” Lauren’s experience working at Wells Fargo part-time helped her “learn how to balance work and school. At my job now, my clients are mostly large banks so working at a bank has helped me to understand the customer facing side.” Heather, who was involved in various CWIB positions all four years at Virginia Tech, says in her roles she, “learned how to communicate within a team to execute things for the organization, which has helped me tremendously in my job now because I collaborate with people every day.” She was also a Student-Athlete Tutor, an experience that taught her to “think about how I communicate my thoughts and knowledge to others in order to transfer the information successfully”.

In an attempt to recruit other promising hires such as these women, Protiviti provides both internships and externships.” The internship is an eight-week program that allows interns to get real consulting experience. You get staffed on 2-3 short engagements throughout the summer. It may seem like you wouldn’t get that much experience in that short period of time, but you’ll be surprised how much you can learn,” explains Heather. Andra mentions “Virginia Tech is one of Protiviti’s target schools for recruiting and can be found on campus multiple times throughout the year for Business Horizons, Pamplin events, and of course CWIB workshops. Protiviti applications can be found on Handshake and the firm even provides convenient on-campus interviews for students. Protiviti hires interns, full-time hires, and offers its Summer Leadership Conference for sophomores to get involved early in the Protiviti community.”

As not only Virginia Tech graduates but CWIB alumni, I was curious what advice these women who are a few steps ahead of us could offer. Lauren suggests saying yes to as many opportunities as possible your first year at a company will help you get to know the people in the office and gain respect. Andra warns against imposter syndrome and says “Harnessing your abilities, taking ownership of your successes, and making your voice heard is a sure way to combat imposter syndrome, impress coworkers, and stand out among peers.” Heather says making connections now is extremely important and suggests, “Whether you introduce yourself to the speaker at a CWIB monthly meeting, ask for the business card of an interesting employee you meet on a trek, or start a conversation with the person sitting next to you in class, any small step is good practice!” She reminds us “As women, it’s important to have a strong support system in this male-dominated industry, and the more comfortable you are with making those connections, the more prepared you are to be successful in the business world!”

I would like to thank Heather, Andra, and Lauren for taking the time to give such great insight into their personal experiences at Virginia Tech and with Protiviti. Protiviti’s partnership with CWIB provides many valuable opportunities for its members and I encourage you to look for them at the next job fair or networking event!

By: Grace Farmelo