Meet Nadia Rogers, a CWIB faculty advisor, successful business woman, professor, and a member of the community. A Virginia native, Rogers found success in public accounting and is now using that experience as a professor here at Virginia Tech. Outside of Blacksburg, she was recently appointed to be the educator member of the Virginia Board of Accountancy by Governor Northam.
Rogers earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Virginia Tech in Accounting. She came to Tech because, “Throughout my childhood, my family visited campus and I loved the excitement in the air and the beauty of the town. Most importantly, I knew that I would receive a world-class education from Virginia Tech.” Her family holds a legacy here as multiple family members, including her father, graduated from Tech as well.
After earning her Master’s degree, Rogers worked for KPMG’s Audit Practice in Richmond for eight years. She then worked with Creedle, Jones & Alga, P.C., a small public accounting firm. Prior to this work experience, Rogers taught Principles of Accounting as a graduate student and says she, “knew in my heart that I ultimately wanted to teach.” Her professional success, love for Blacksburg, and passion for teaching has led to her dream job of being a professor at Virginia Tech. She is now an Associate Professor of Practice in the Accounting and Information Systems Department as well as the Director of the Master of Accounting and Information Systems Program. Rogers is a great testament to the fact that it is okay to change around your career and chase your passions! She learned “the combination of [her] practical experience and passion for Virginia Tech,” has been exactly what she needed to make her dreams a reality and she enjoys helping students understand and fulfill their dreams when it comes to education and career paths. You can read more about her passion for teaching here.
Rogers decided to become a CWIB faculty advisor because she loves CWIB’s mission, which is to “inspire and develop world-class leaders in business, foster interactions with successful role models, and build the confidence, courage and the will to create meaningful impact.” She says, “Given that I graduated from Virginia Tech and then pursued a professional career, I felt that I could provide a helpful perspective and be a great resource to our members. I’ve been where they are – studying to earn the highest grade possible, interviewing for jobs, filling internship positions, etc.” Her experience and belief in our pillars: empower, prepare, and connect, makes her extremely valuable to CWIB and a great resource for our members.
Rogers says she’s excited for CWIB to “continue to fulfill our mission and increase awareness and membership.” This year, she wants members to “leave meetings with the same sense of fulfillment that I have when I leave meetings – empowered, connected and prepared to conquer her next step, whatever that may be!”
Originally from Clarksville, Virginia, Rogers continues to enjoy the beauty of Virginia in the “gorgeous views” of Blacksburg. She equally loves the students and community of Virginia Tech and Blacksburg. She enjoys spending her free time with her family.
CWIB would not be possible without faculty advisors like Rogers who are willing to support our organization and offer their knowledge and time. Rogers is a valuable resource for all our members and is happy to do what she can to help, whether it be professional or career advice, including resume reviews, etc. or helping with the understanding of course materials. If you would like to reach out, her email and office hours are listed below.
Finally, we would like to thank Nadia Rogers for the inspiration she is to us aspiring business women and her dedication to CWIB.
This past week on October 24-25, CWIB went on a trek to Washington D.C. This trek provided a great way to improve on members’ networking skills while meeting new companies, such as Protiviti, Cvent, and Capital One, while also allowing attendees to meet other members of CWIB. Treks enable members to connect with professional companies, and hopefully, in the future, help them later down the road when applying for internships and jobs. I contacted a few members that attended the DC trek, and asked about their favorite experiences:
Billy Clarke said that his favorite part of the trek was visiting Capital One’s new campus in McLean. He described their campus as “impressive” because of the resources Capital One provides to their employees. Lauren Miles stated that she found it helpful how the trek allowed her to get to know the other members of CWIB. Emily Fusaro shared that she appreciated learning about the companies they met with, and meeting members from CWIB.
Since CWIB met with Protiviti, Cvent, and Capital One, who are companies that hire Virginia Tech graduates, attendees ran into several alumni. They got to meet with alumni who were also a part of CWIB, such as Gigi Jones who was the former CWIB CEO and Heather Sangalang who was the former Chronicles’ Editor-in-Chief. This trek not only let current members meet each other, but enabled alumni to meet the new CWIB members to further expand on the network of our organization.
Protiviti is a mid-size global consulting firm that provides business solutions for numerous areas such as internal audit, data analytics, and risk & compliance. Cvent is a privately held software service company that offers software solutions for event planning. The last company they visited was Capital One. Capital One provides numerous services in the banking industry such as credit cards, savings accounts, and loans.
When meeting these companies, CWIB sat down with each of them and learned about their initiatives through panels. The attendees on the trek learned several things from each company. The most frequent response to the question “What did you learn from the companies you met with?” was that you are not limited by your major or what you learn while in college. This is an important aspect to know while applying for jobs and internships because you should never limit yourself to opportunities just because you think you aren’t qualified or have all of the credentials checked off. Many of the employees they met with from each company expressed the amount of new skills they learned after starting their new jobs. While applying to jobs and internships, it is important to know that companies do not expect you to know everything going into a new job. It is comforting to hear from multiple employees the amount of new skills they learned after starting their job! It goes to show that you should apply for positions you may think are not a good fit for you, because as long as you express your passion and commitment to learn, companies will be convinced you have the applicable skill set to expand on! It is also important to do this to challenge yourself, because you never know of all of the possibilities that will come to you by doing so. By attending the DC trek, the members learned that it is important to step outside of their comfort zone and learn new things that may seem challenging at first.
I also asked the attending members to explain any new networking skills they learned while on the trip. Billy Clarke talked about learning to utilize the skill of maintaining his confidence in himself throughout the trip. He talked about how it can be very intimidating talking to highly ranked professionals and how it is easy to get nervous. He concluded by saying that professionals appreciate talking to students who display some level of confidence. This is an important skill to have and to practice on because when you are speaking to professionals, you want to come across as more confident than not, as you are representing exactly why you deserve the position. Some other pieces of advice the members received from the companies about networking were the importance of communicating respectfully and also following up after meeting with companies in person.
Lastly, I asked a few of the attendees why they would recommend going on the treks to other members in CWIB. Emily Fusaro explained that treks are a perfect opportunity to “get your feet wet in exploring businesses.” Meaning, that treks provide experiences to explore different companies that provide vastly different services. Protiviti, Capital One, and Cvent are all very different businesses, with different missions and services. By meeting with three diverse companies, it allowed the CWIB members to learn about different career options for future internships and jobs. It is important to keep your options open when learning about different companies, because you never know, you might become very interested in a company that you never thought you would be! Laruen Miles would recommend going on the treks because of the connections and friends you make while on them. She said it is a great way to get to know other members involved in CWIB while also making fun memories.
Overall, the trip up to D.C. provided CWIB members with great opportunities to network with VT alumni and meet with diverse companies. It is a great way to improve upon your networking skills and learn about different opportunities within the business field. While connecting with professionals from companies, you are also connecting with members of CWIB! Make sure to apply for the next trek in order to feel more involved in our organization and reap the same benefits the DC trek attendees did!
It is astonishing to think that Collegiate Women in Business was founded only 5 years ago, given the number of members we have gained, the incredible sponsors who endorse us, and the impactful events at which we have made our mark. Have you wondered how all of this is even possible? I wanted to provide you with an in-depth background of how our professional organization came to be, based on the vision our founders had for CWIB’s success at Virginia Tech. After interviewing the women who helped CWIB gain its presence, I feel that their passion and drive for our organization is apparent through the steps they took to help us be where we are today.
Corrigan Serpa, Shannon Cabrey, Catherine Kidwell, McKenzi Macdowall, and Shannon Lavery are the founding women of CWIB. All five women had great team chemistry and worked well together to get the process started. They all agreed that this organization would better Hokie Nation, so they sought out a method to achieve their goal. Serpa told me, “The idea came about during a female lunch meeting at the Innovate LLC [Living Learning Community] in the Fall of 2013.” They realized other universities had similar organizations and believed Virginia Tech should be one of those. Serpa soundly felt that our school should provide a platform for “women to be equipped with the right skills and network to build their careers as they wish.” In order to be an established organization, they needed to find a faculty sponsor. Cabrey describes how “Gina French stepped into that role to provide us with advice and passionately lead us forward as we got started.” The next steps were to “register our group as a formal student organization through the university, create a website and a page on GobblerConnect, and start to try to get the word out as we grew.” Serpa is grateful that “Gobbler Fest, Pamplin Picnic and renting booths in Squires helped us” start to gain the presence they wanted on campus.
There were several more obstacles they faced throughout this process, one being establishing the proper pillars as the main core of what CWIB should represent. Empower, Prepare, Connect stemmed from the desire that women should feel “empowered to accomplish, prepared with the skills necessary to successfully accomplish, and connect them with a network of business professionals, peers, and alumni,” Serpa explained. Cabrey breaks down the method the founders used to put together these pillars so eloquently:
“We sat together one evening with VT faculty member Derick Maggard, and he led us in a discussion and an activity to determine our core values. Derick had the five of us simultaneously create lists of words that we wanted CWIB to stand for, represent, and accomplish with its existence. This was a timed activity and… once we were done, we found several words that were common across each of our lists.”
By initiating these pillars as the principles CWIB stood by, the “goal was to build a community at Virginia Tech that women felt comfortable and at home in, would be challenged by, could learn from to stretch their thinking, and would find lifelong friends and mentors within,” Cabrey told me. In doing so, “CWIB will empower students and prepare women with the knowledge and skills they need to have the career that they choose,” Serpa explained. Kidwell tells the Chronicles how the founders aimed to “not empower women in the workplace, but in general. Those verbs [pillars] have duality.” Personally, I have found these statements to be incredibly true based on my experiences within CWIB. The fact that the founders pushed for a professional organization for all women is something we cannot take for granted. As a non-business major myself, I still reap the benefits CWIB provides and know that the founders thought this through when creating CWIB. The workshops and advice we are provided with will help me in my field just as much as it will help a woman in Pamplin.
In order for us to excel in our respective careers, the founders wanted to bring in sponsors for CWIB who would be a point of contact to assist in our professional endeavors. Serpa remembers calling every contact she could think of; they graciously accepted the help that was offered, especially since not every contact was providing sponsorship. She also explained how “… it felt awkward asking for sponsorship as a student. In each email I asked to set up a phone call to further explain CWIB and answer any questions. I think picking up the phone was essential; they could then fully understand how passionate about the organization we were.” Being able to thoroughly explain their goals for CWIB gave sponsors a sense of the founders’ determination, which was a convincing way to support CWIB as a legitimate organization. In addition, acting as an all-female organization was a way for CWIB to individualize itself and advance womens’ careers. “All companies are emphasizing diversity and inclusion and backing a women in business group is usually a no brainer if they understand what that funding will be applied to long-term,” Kidwell felt.
Taking this intimidating step to reach out to business professionals proved to be one of the best decisions the founders made, as CWIB now is sponsored by many successful companies such as KPMG, Accenture, Altria, and Deloitte. Cabrey talked about how Gina French helped them get in contact with one of their very first points of contact, Deborah Golden, who leads Deloitte’s US Cyber Practice. Cabrey explains how “A few of our founders were able to sit down with Deborah and find ways for her and her organization to get meaningfully involved with our members, which ended up evolving into our very first Power Panel, with Deborah as a panelist.” Golden continues to support CWIB as she has hosted several workshops over the years! Engaging in these initial conversations can lead to some pretty fantastic connections, which have undoubtedly assisted CWIB in gaining more sponsors in a short amount of time.
Building connections through various communication routes, effective planning and organization tactics, and leadership opportunities in a team setting are only a few of the fundamental skills the founders believed they gained by being so involved with CWIB. Communication is a skill that will never disappear and Serpa feels that because of CWIB, she feels more comfortable in the business world where she is constantly speaking with other professionals. The fact that CWIB always has events taking place, thus requiring constant scheduling and planning, helped Cabrey with her general organization skills. “Keeping track of meetings and implementing strategic goals and action items” for CWIB kept Cabrey on her toes by giving her the experience she needed to prioritize her time. On a more creative note, CWIB let her express her visual design skills through “creating flyers for Power Panel and designing our logo and merchandise.” Her diverse skill set is thanks to CWIB’s preparation for success in the professional world!
As CWIB continues to grow, the founders are hopeful for further empowerment, preparation, and connections that will derive from being a member. Serpa feels strongly that “this [CWIB] connection motivates alumni to remain connected to the students and one another.” This stems from the initial goal of bettering Hokie Nation; the fact that alumni and current students can be connected due to their membership in CWIB can foster a continuous Hokie family where we can all relate to shared experiences. Cabrey states, “I think the group strikes the right balance between professionalism and skill building, all the while making lasting friends and connections that will last years beyond college.” Between attending monthly meetings, workshops, and socials, Cabrey hopes members “are able to make connections with other students across campus to study with, interview prep with, and just hang out and have fun with as friends!” There’s no better way to express the principal goal of CWIB as “people-oriented,” as Kidwell would say. She aimed for CWIB to provide its members with “a sense of inclusion and the toolkit to succeed outside of Blacksburg.”
I would say that CWIB has made the founders proud as leadership, membership, and sponsorship continues to grow and develop each academic year. The founders’ main goals for the organization continue to advance as we strive to empower, prepare, and connect women from all over Virginia Tech in all that we provide. New leadership teams implement these core values while incorporating their unique ideas as CWIB expands in its presence. I hope you all are as proud as I am to be a part of CWIB and feel inspired to take more initiative to get involved, better yourself, and better someone else as you connect to fellow CWIB members. Many thanks to our founders for endorsing and believing in CWIB in order for us to reap the benefits and make our own mark within the organization!
CWIB members are some of the most proactive students at Virginia Tech in terms of landing internships. Whether they occur throughout the summer, winter, or full semester, CWIB encourages each of its members to pursue at least one internship during their collegiate career. Specifically, summer internships are the most common among college students, and the most recommended among recruiters! Internships foster an environment of growth, and they assist in determining potential career paths one may want to engage in after graduation. Immense opportunities can come from gaining experience interning for established companies, such as the development of technical and interpersonal skills, potential for full-time job offers, and more insight into specific industries.
Four of our own members, Gabrielle Bryda, Samantha Mottes, Elizabeth Sweeney, and Abby Mercatoris-Morrison, have experiences to share about their own internships this past summer. They each took part in a unique internship following the collusion of their junior year. Read below to see how they gained new skills that are applicable in their current academics and everyday lives!
Gabrielle Bryda is a senior majoring in Computational and Systems Neuroscience and Economics. During the summer of 2019, Bryda interned at Deloitte as a Business Technology Analyst. As part of her internship, she conducted market research and authored a white paper, or a specific document intended to inform the reader about a certain subject. In Bryda’s case, that subject focused on being agile while meeting traditional project management requirements. Bryda shared, “I learned client relationship management, business research, and networking skills,” regarding her client work. In addition to her client work, Bryda was a part of D2international (D2i), a social impact fellowship developed specifically for Deloitte employees.
The D2i Program provides interns with the opportunity to develop solutions directly for a nonprofit. Bryda worked with a small team of interns to analyze and optimize daily operations of a Colombian nonprofit called La Juanfe, which seeks to empower teen mothers by providing child support, psychosocial counseling, and job training to escape poverty. Bryda revealed, “I learned collaboration across teams, building relationships with new partners, and analytical and problem-solving skills,” from her experience brainstorming, developing, and executing deliverables for La Juanfe. The D2i program concluded with a week-long solution delivery trip to La Juanfe’s headquarters in Cartagena, Colombia. In addition to the amazing work Bryda completed, she served as her team’s liaison, coordinating between workstreams to provide information and structure for her team. She even participated in weekly calls with leadership from La Juanfe!. Her most memorable experience this summer was presenting her team’s solutions to the senior leadership of La Juanfe, and speaking directly with the women whose lives the nonprofit is changing.
We are so proud of all the work you put in during your internship, Gabrielle!
Samantha, or “Sam,” Mottes is a senior majoring in Public Relations. As a rising senior, Mottes took part in an internship at Immersion Consulting, a firm that aims to provide clients with applicable business solutions. Her internship consisted of various duties, mainly involving marketing sales and recruiting. Regarding marketing sales, Mottes promoted brand awareness by developing innovative tactics to increase market presence and gain the attention of those in the current market. She also managed and leveraged the LMS, or Learning Management System, which monitors and evaluates training progress and development of the company. She even presented her findings in an LMS walkthrough at the firm! Mottes assisted with the recruitment process of the consulting firm as well, learning more about ins-and-outs of hiring operations. She handled important forms regarding new hires as part of the company’s recruitment policies. Finally, Mottes was given the task of implementing SEO’s, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimizations. Through this assignment, she analyzed target markets and tested optimization. According to Mottes, she is appreciative of, “Getting amazing experience and building connections,” in regards to her summer with Immersion Consulting.
We are so proud of your contributions at Immersion Consulting, Sam!
Elizabeth Sweeney is a Senior Marketing Management major with an ENVG, or Entrepreneurship: New Venture Growth, minor. Sweeney spent her summer at Ferguson Enterprise in Beltsville, Maryland as a sales intern. Her internship incorporated tasks derived from multiple different business operations. Sweeney shared, “I learned every aspect of the business, from filling orders, to dealing directly with the client in outside sales,” about her diverse position. Sweeney also helped a published author create media for his new publishing agency, C-N-J Publication! She relied heavily on her Marketing skills to assist her in developing media that properly showcased the author’s brand and mission. One exciting component of Sweeney’s summer internship was the Summer Interns Project, where she and her team presented to an audience! Sweeney improved multiple skills during her summer at Ferguson Enterprise, including her patience, face-to-face customer communication, and leadership abilities within a team. Being in a diverse sales role led to her development of a wider range of skills! Sweeney states, “The most memorable aspects of my experience were living in a different area, making new friends/connections, and experiencing a different kind of work atmosphere.”
Elizabeth, we are so proud you reached outside of your comfort zone at Ferguson Enterprise!
Abigail, or “Abby”, Mercatoris-Morrison is currently a senior majoring in Marketing. Mercatoris worked in Seattle as a summer intern with Frito-Lay. She served as a sales intern for the multinational corporation. Mercatoris worked on a significant project that was in the early stages of development. She assisted with the rudimentary, or beginning, stages of the project in order to ensure the final product would stand on an effective foundation. Mercatoris’ team’s goal was to save time for sales representatives in the overall sales process. They helped the specific sales representations who stocked the shelves with products in order to assist in keeping their jobs more organized. Her team focused greatly on precision ordering methods. Mercatoris shared, “I learned the importance of communication among co-workers and managers. I also appreciated the work-life balance with this company.” A large factor of this sales internship that interested Mercatoris was the idea of traveling around the Pacific Northwest and getting the opportunity to work with unique individuals from various backgrounds. Her hard work all summer paid off, as she was offered a full-time position for Frito-Lay at the conclusion of her internship!
We are proud of you for working so hard and getting that job offer, Abby!
We are honored to have members like the women featured here who made the most of their summer experiences. Through gaining the knowledge to work in diverse places with talented individuals, they developed the communication skills, connections, and technical applications of delivering real-world projects. We know they will put these skills to good use throughout their classes, jobs/internships here at school, and during CWIB events!
Meet Camille Pacheco, an entrepreneur and upcoming Sophomore majoring in Marketing Management from Ashburn, Virginia. Besides being a CWIB member, Camille is also involved with Tri Delta sorority. In high school, Camille created her jewelry business, Druzy Dream, as a way to fundraise for a mission trip to Kentucky. Instead of more common methods of raising money, Camille and her friend, “came up with the idea to raise the money by making unique handmade bracelets using all semi-precious beads and selling them,” Camille says. “Our plan was to harness the power of social media, primarily Instagram, to post [pictures of] our jewelry. We shopped at our local craft store using coupons and set our price knowing the cost of our supplies. Much to our surprise we sold the first 10 bracelets within a matter of days and we were quickly developing a local following. What happened over the next year was nothing short of miraculous. We surpassed our goal of the $2800 needed for our trip in just one summer and Druzy Dream took off!”
While Druzy Dream initially began as a fundraiser, the small business gained popularity both locally and nationally. Camille’s handmade jewelry was not only being sold and shipped locally, but her products began to be sold in boutiques in other regions, such as New England. With its growing customer demand and social media following, Druzy Dream was established as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). As her business grew, Camille was responsible for not only taxes and accounting, but many other functions as well. “I was now managing the Instagram page, creating new designs, shopping with wholesalers, managing inventory, making the jewelry and shipping. With so much demand we decided to create a brand ambassador program and website for Druzy Dream called Druzy Dream Designs,” she says.
Many entrepreneurs encounter challenges when starting their own company. For Camille, one of the main challenges she has experienced with Druzy Dream has been risk taking. “I take risks each time I invest money ordering supplies for new designs thinking that they will sell and not knowing for sure if the market is going to want them. A substantial amount of time is spent making and promoting jewelry that could potentially not sell.” Pacheco said. She also faces difficulties with product pricing while making sure the company profits, as well as time management since she is still involved with Druzy Dream during the school year. “It is difficult trying to balance the time I spend working on the company as a college student. My schoolwork is my priority now, [so] I work on Druzy Dream in any free time that I have… [For the school year,] I brought all my supplies with me to Virginia Tech and sell jewelry to students locally in Blacksburg.”
Druzy Dream is very much involved with philanthropy fundraising on campus. The company has been incorporated into fundraising events for Tri-Delta’s philanthropy, St. Jude’s, by donating 20% of the proceeds and plans to offer this opportunity for other sororities on campus in the coming years.
Camille has been able to use what she’s learned from her business and inspire other women in their ventures as entrepreneurs. When it comes to her biggest piece of advice for women who aspire to be entrepreneurs, Camille says, “the most important advice I would give is to not be afraid to take risks and to do something different that you feel passionate about. Even though starting a company is a lot of work and filled with some sacrifices, it is an amazing feeling to be able to call something your own. In the end, all the hours invested and social activities and plans you have to forgo or cancel will be worth it. Druzy Dream has brought me such a feeling of pride and accomplishment… [and has given me] opportunities to inspire others to become entrepreneurs [through] workshops with women in shelters and been able to share my story with so many young people in my own community, a few of whom went on to become young entrepreneurs themselves.”
As she continues her education at Virginia Tech, Camille plans to apply what she’s learned in Pamplin to Druzy Dream and her other business ventures after college. “As a CWIB member, hearing how successful businesswomen were able to fulfill their goals and achieve their dream jobs gives me hope for my company and its success when I am older. These women have shown me what drive and persistence is needed to implement your goals.”
Don’t forget to support our fellow CWIB member Camille and give Druzy Dream a follow on Instagram! We are so proud of what she has accomplished so far and can’t wait to see where the company goes!
It’s that time of the year when seniors are eager to graduate and conquer the next stage of their lives, while also reminisce on all that they will miss about being a student at Virginia Tech. As sad as we are to see our amazing seniors leave, CWIB is beyond proud of the monumental impacts these women’s efforts have had on our organization, each other, and the Hokie community as a whole. Each one of them possess unique talents and abilities that will aid them in whichever direction they decide to pursue throughout their personal and professional endeavors. I’m very excited to highlight some of these seniors’ accomplishments, inspirational advice, and most memorable moments so that you too can make the most of your time here in college.
CWIB’s pillars are to empower, prepare, and connect our members to internal and external sources that will assist them in accomplishing their professional goals. Several seniors have taken full advantage of this mission as they will go on to work for some very successful companies. Many CWIB members will be working for Protiviti, a global consulting firm, in their various offices in Northern Virginia, Charlotte, NC, and New York City. Andra Scaliti, Heather Sangalang, Lauren Carey, and Gigi Jones are among some of these seniors employed by the company. “Big 4” firms were also eager to hire from CWIB as Shannon Keye and Angela Zadrima will be working for Ernst & Young and KPMG, respectively. Additionally, Kinsey Donovan will be employed at Deloitte and Cara Yates accepted an offer from Marriott. All of these women were able to land these positions due to their hard work and excellent use of networking skills to prove they were the right fit for the job!
By being able to obtain these jobs, these women owe so much of their achievements to CWIB. Andra Scaliti tells The Chronicles, “CWIB taught me the high standards I currently hold myself and others to.” Being surrounded by other empowered women helped Scaliti gain the strength and confidence to tackle the business world in her own way. Cara Yates believes “CWIB gave me the opportunity to put myself out there and try things that I never thought I would when I came to Virginia Tech my freshman year.” After hearing those seniors’ experiences, Yates was inspired to be like them, so she applied for leadership positions and is honored to now be one of the seniors younger members look up to and take advice from, especially through her writing with The Chronicles. Editor-In-Chief of The Chronicles, Heather Sangalang, owes so much of her professional experience to CWIB. “Through this organization, I have met successful fellow students, alumni, and other business professionals who have given me advice that has forced me to look at myself, see that I can be better, and work towards improvement,” Sangalang said. Similarly, Lauren Carey will take away skills such as “improving public speaking skills, coordinating and planning events, and communicating effectively with other members,” through being on the leadership team. While professionalism is at the core of what CWIB aims to convey to members, the personal aspect of being a part of the organization is also something the seniors will never forget.
CWIB has left a personal impact on each of these women. “My most memorable experience as a CWIB member was my first time on the NYC trek sophomore year,” Angela Zadrima said. She had never felt so inspired through an experience such as this trek. Going on treks with fellow members truly helped establish relationships among these women and was a main factor in growing closer as a group. In addition to group goals, personal achievements are also a priority for CWIB to highlight. Shannon Keye effectively put on all the events, workshops, and coffee chats that we were all privy to attend this year. She hopes that members got something valuable through attending. She feels that “You will get so much more out of your college experience by having access and opportunities (that others don’t have) to meet tons of different women who want to give you advice, tell their story, and help you succeed.” These opportunities are things many of us take for granted, just as receiving a degree from this university is an achievement we often forget means so much. At the last monthly meeting of the semester, Gigi Jones reflected on all the hidden treasures Blacksburg has to offer. Whether it is cute coffee shops or free access to Rosetta Stone, she wants to remind us of all that Virginia Tech has for us to discover and how we should take advantage of these resources. Stepping out of her comfort zone of the D.C. area and into Southwest Virginia is a personal triumph she is so grateful to Virginia Tech and CWIB for providing.
Once I realized that CWIB is where it is today because of these ladies’ efforts, their legacies are ones I will take with me moving forward. As simple as it may sound, approaching a new member at the first monthly meeting truly goes a long way, and half of us would not be as involved with CWIB if one of these leaders had not reached out to us. Kinsey Donovan believes this is her legacy — being able to connect with younger members. “I have had members come up to me and ask about my experience in my internships as well as if I can meet with them to talk through things, and that has been very rewarding, “ Donovan said. One method CWIB has truly reached members’ needs is through our online blog, The Chronicles. This resource is Heather Sangalang’s legacy as she is beyond impressed of how far it has come. “I wanted to turn this blog into something useful and impactful and I think that I was successful in that because I love it so much that I worked really hard on it until I got it to where I wanted it,” Sangalang said. Through inspiring her writers, providing helpful content to readers, and growing as a leader herself, Sangalang is truly the reason this blog is so successful as she was the main initiator of establishing all that it has accomplished. The only way to reach such high levels of success is through an attitude of complete professionalism. Andra Scaliti is an exemplary role model of what it means to be professional in your “words, dress, actions, and overall demeanor.” Her senior quote which really resonated with me is “It’s not what job you do, it’s how you do the job” encompasses the concept of professionalism. She is the most proper representation that “attention to small details goes a long way.”
These women have accomplished some pretty amazing things for themselves and all of us in CWIB through their time at Virginia Tech. They each have a piece of advice they want to leave us with:
Angela Zadrima reminds us it’s okay to be selfish. “I learned the importance of understanding my own values and creating a life for myself that reflects those values. Sometimes this involves making difficult decisions, however you will get through it and you will be so much happier.”
Shannon Keye believes the only way to grow is to take advantage of opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask for something you deserve.
Cara Yates doesn’t want us to second guess ourselves. “Rejection is scary, but not knowing what could’ve happened if you had just took the plunge is even scarier.”
Marissa Wharton stresses the importance of hard work. Even if you don’t know the exact direction your career, life, or relationships are going, working hard for what you want will never go unnoticed.
Lauren Carey reminds us not to wish every day away. “My four years here feel like they were gone in a blink and I wish I could stay here longer.”
Heather Sangalangwants us to make decisions that are best for ourselves. Whether this be academically or socially, prioritizing what you want out of your college experience will help it be all that you desire.
Gigi Jones tells us to take advantage of all that Blacksburg has to offer! Go beyond your comfort zone to explore and try new things.
Kinsey Donovan hopes we strive to be a “water fountain leader.” Be that person who others gravitate toward for advice and encouragement.
Andra Scaliti shows us all what professionalism is. She has realized that she is just as worthy as her male counterparts, which reminds her to speak up and always add something valuable to the conversation.
After reading their empowering advice, personal growth stories, and the thanks they have to CWIB, I hope you all take away that going after what you want is so much more achievable than you may think. We wish all these women the best in their respective personal and professional careers and are so excited to see the positive impacts they have on the people around them!
On April 4th, fifteen CWIB members headed to New York City to join Pamplin alumni for the annual Hokies on Wall Street event. Hokies on Wall Street is a networking event for Virginia Tech alumni and current students of all majors to come together and interact with each other about everything from their careers to their favorite memories in Blacksburg.
This year’s event was hosted by CitiGroup in their Midtown office. The event kicked off with a panel including Omar Asali, Chairman and CEO at One Madison Group, Tracy Castle-Newman, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and Lynne Doughtie, Chairman and CEO of KPMG. Dean Sumichrast moderated the panel and asked them questions about their career journey. When asked what one piece of advice she can give to people who want to grow their career, Tracy Castle-Newman emphasized the importance of commitment. She admitted, “Every time I got a promotion, I would stay at the office until 11 PM for a couple of weeks in order to learn the job and become good at it. I made that choice.” Omar Asali’s piece of advice was: be passionate about what you do. He explained that “if you do what you love, everything else falls into place.” The panel ended with the question: why is giving back important? Lynne Doughtie shared that she has been contributing money to Pamplin since she graduated. She went on to say, “When I got my first paycheck, I donated $15 to Pamplin. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Virginia Tech gave me so much and I have always believed that it was right to donate what I could.” The panelists did a great job inspiring the audience to work hard in their career to reach their goals and remember that Pamplin helped get them to where they are today, so there is value in giving back. After the panel, there was a networking reception where attendees chatted while munching on the delicious catered food. CWIB members thoroughly enjoyed interacting with many successful Hokie alumni.
CWIB members also had the chance to visit a couple of the world’s most iconic companies. On Friday morning, trekees visited IBM. CWIB members sat down with three women in marketing who explained their paths to IBM and offered advice on reaching one’s full potential and becoming successful in business. Allison Wood, a sophomore majoring in Marketing and Management, shared that the IBM visit was one of her favorite parts of the trek because of the inspirational women she got to meet. “They are each so successful but are only a few years older than us. It really showed me what I can accomplish in just a few years if I put my mind to it,” she shared. In the afternoon, the CWIB members traveled to the New York Stock Exchange. The group was treated to a personal tour of the company from Laura Seamon, a Manager in Enforcement Counsel. Heather Sangalang, a senior majoring in BIT, shared that her favorite part of this visit was being on the trading floor. She admitted that “It was a surreal experience being on the famous trading floor that you see in movies. I found it really interesting to hear that the number of traders decreased from 5000 to 500 over the years due to the adoption of advanced computer programs and algorithms. It proved the significance of technology in business.” The visit ended with a panel featuring women who work in regulation. CWIB members asked them questions about their job roles, how they handle work in a male-dominated field, and why they think internships are important. After this visit, the group was free to roam New York City with each other, which allowed them to bond with new and old faces!
Emma Roby is a freshman studying Finance who participated in the trek to expand her network and connect with professionals from companies she’s interested in working for. When asked about her most memorable moment from the trek, she shared, “My most memorable part of the weekend was touring the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, getting to experience what goes on down on the floor in person was incredible.” Roby encourages other CWIB members to participate in treks because they offer the opportunity to meet professionals in different fields, which can be helpful in deciding which career path you want to pursue.
Lauren Carey, a senior studying Finance and Management, has attended Hokies on Wall Street for the past three years, explaining that it is her favorite event of the year. She enjoyed visiting the New York Stock Exchange for the opportunity to tour the trading floor and speak with a panel of women in the regulation sector. Lauren admits that her favorite part of the trek was bonding with other CWIB members. “I have made some of my best friends from CWIB and I cannot picture my college experience without it,” she says.
Kinsey Donovan, a senior studying BIT and Management Consulting, also considers Hokies on Wall Street her favorite event of the year and describes the trek as engaging, enlightening, and inspiring. It was her third and last year participating in the trek and explains that the Hokies on Wall Street networking event is what makes the NYC excursion worthwhile. “Being on the top floor of a New York skyscraper under the city lights talking to amazing people who love Virginia Tech and want to invest in the students makes the quick trip so worth it,” she explains. Her biggest takeaway from the trek was a piece of advice she received from an alum she talked to. He explained that the start of your career is a time to spend observing – observing managers, coworkers, and leaders in your company, so when you get to their level you’ll know how you want to interact with everyone.
Abby Perkins, a sophomore studying Marketing, explains that she was pleasantly surprised by the trips to IBM and the New York Stock Exchange. Representatives at IBM focused on product marketing, while CWIB members got to learn more about the legal side of trading at the New York Stock Exchange. Abby appreciated that the company visits consisted of more than just finance and BIT-related topics. “This trek taught me that there are so many opportunities for all majors at companies you wouldn’t normally expect, so you just have to keep looking for the job you want in places you might not be expecting,” she explains. The IBM visit was the most memorable part of the trek for Abby and she enjoyed how relatable the women were. “The women we talked to were very down to earth and you could tell that they wanted us to succeed in our endeavors. We had a great discussion not just about business but life as well and how transitioning from college into a job was for them,” she shared.
CWIB treks are a great opportunity to make connections with professionals, discover new companies, and get a feel for a city you may see yourself working in. They are also a chance to bond with your fellow CWIB members and grow a network of supportive friends who share similar aspirations to you. Freshmen and seniors alike take away something valuable from treks, whether that be learning about different career paths or making new connections at a fun, annual event!