Summer Experiences: What Members Learned Through their Internships

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: 

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!

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Bryda’s professional headshot from this past summer!
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Bryda in Cartagena, Colombia with her team during their solution delivery trip.

Samantha Mottes: 

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!

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Mottes (far right) and peers posing on day of presentation for Immersion Consulting.
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Mottes during her Immersion Consulting presentation.

Elizabeth Sweeney: 

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!

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Sweeney (second from left) and her team posing after their 2019 Summer Interns Project presentation.

Abigail Mercatoris-Morrison: 

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!

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Professional headshot used for Mercatoris’ internship with Frito-Lay!

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!

By: Allison Wood

 

 

Member Spotlight: Camille Pacheco

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Camille Pacheco, a Sophomore majoring in Marketing Management, created Druzy Dream as a way to fundraise for a mission trip. Photo via @druzydream on Instagram.

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!”

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The two founders of Druzy Dream! Photo via @druzydream on Instagram.

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.”

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Go check out Druzy Dream on Instagram! They feature all the different kinds of jewelry they make and sell. Photo via @druzydream.

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!

By: Abby Perkins

 

Seniors Spotlight

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.

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Kinsey Donovan’s decorated graduation cap! Photo via Kinsey Donovan

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.

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Several seniors on this year’s leadership team. Photo via Kinsey Donovan

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.”

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Heather (front row, middle) and her very first group of writers! Photo via Heather Sangalang

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 Sangalang wants 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!

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Some of our CWIB seniors at their graduation photo shoot! Photo via Gigi Jones

By: Emma Harwood

 

 

CWIB Hokies on Wall Street

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CWIB members at Hokies on Wall Street. Photo credit: Pamplin College of Business

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.

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CWIB members with KPMG CEO, Lynne Doughtie. Photo credit: Pamplin College of Business

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!

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CWIB members during their visit to IBM. Photo credit: Neha Shah

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.

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CWIB members on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo credit: Gigi Jones

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.

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CWIB seniors at their final Hokies on Wall Street. Photo credit: Lauren Carey

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.

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There are plenty of opportunities to bond with your CWIB friends and explore the city you’re in during treks!. Photo credit: Neha Shah

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!

 

By: Allison DeSantis

 

Richmond Trek Recap

Taking part in treks with CWIB is a great opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn more about the business world in general. They always serve as a major source of encouragement for each trek attendee. Most recently, a group of CWIB members traveled to Richmond, Virginia in the hopes of learning more about the ins-and-outs of different companies and how to thrive as a woman in business.

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Trekees with their CarMax favors. Photo courtesy of Marissa Wharton

The trek began with a visit to the headquarters of CarMax, a Fortune 500 company. The company greeted our members with donuts and a friendly networking session, where trekees spoke with some highly successful employees. The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) /Chief Information Officer (CIO) even took time out of his busy schedules to meet the six members of CWIB who attended the trek! Junior member Emily Vang stated, “This trek experience definitely helped me practice my networking skills, particularly when we were at Carmax and I got to talk with the CTO about using virtual reality (VR) as a tool.” Networking is a significant aspect of treks in CWIB, as members meet countless business professionals who can provide insight for furthering our careers, collegiate and beyond. Vang added, “I will definitely apply these skills when it comes to communicating with others in a business setting.”

Our members proceeded to learn from the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) that CarMax is extremely supportive of women in business, reassuring the trekees that they truly can succeed as a woman in the corporate world. The CHRO highlighted the importance of working for a company that sincerely cares about its employees. A team leader and member of the growing robotics division of CarMax shared how they put their focus on giving employees more opportunities to improve their skills while growing the company overall. In order to focus on this constant development, the robotics division wants to eliminate, or at least lessen, the burden of mundane tasks in the workplace. Following this encouraging discussion, trekees attended a panel of three employees from the Accounting, Finance, and Cybersecurity Departments. CWIB members learned about their roles and career paths before receiving advice on how to advance into a career path as future professionals. Trekees enjoyed speaking with the CarMax employees so much that they did not have time to go on the planned tour afterward! In fact, at the monthly meeting that followed the trek, each member stated that Carmax was their favorite company that they visited! Our members left this company feeling excited about the future.

Attendees of the trek then traveled to the Martin Agency, a highly regarded company in the advertising industry. Known worldwide, the Martin Agency represents clients such as Geico, Oreo, Timberland, Land O’ Lakes, and many more major companies. The CWIB members were taken on a personal tour of the agency’s growing office. After seeing their modern workplace, trekees met with two Virginia Tech graduates who shared with them the agency reel, which is a highlight of their past work. You can find Hokies working for companies all over the world, and one day that will be you! The CWIB members even got a sneak peek of a commercial for the agency’s latest client, Buffalo Wild Wings.

The Virginia Tech alumni were transparent with the trekees about their journies to careers in business, the ups and downs of the advertising industry, and what they wished they would have known in their collegiate years. Junior and future CWIB CEO Ashton Hughes shared, “I learned that the career path you start on may not always be the one you end on and that there’s nothing wrong with that!” A journey to success is never perfectly linear, which every college student must remember. The obstacles and changes in your journies to success help develop the businessperson you will be in the future. Hughes continued, “It was so eye-opening for me because I feel as college students we feel so much pressure to decide what we want to do as quickly as possible when in reality, you have the freedom to explore and grow after school.”

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CWIB members pose in front of a mural at the Martin Agency that celebrates diversity in the advertising industry. Photo courtesy of Marissa Wharton

CWIB members finished the trek with a trip to Cary Street Partners, a financial planning firm. The visit was hosted by Virginia Tech alumna Christina Todd, a devoted supporter of CWIB and its mission. Trekees spoke with women from different fields in order to gain insight into different positions throughout the professional world. These women were from departments such as Human Resources, Legal, and Accounting. They highlighted how it is possible to take a career path in finance, even if it is not your major. It is important to always keep an open mind! The CWIB members heard from ladies who were just beginning their professional careers as well as those who have been working for decades. Hearing from women with varying degrees of experience taught the trekees how the business world used to be concerning for women and how much it has changed for the better. Junior CWIB member Delaney Russel revealed, “The most empowering part of the trip for me was listening to the testimonies of the women at Cary Street Partners. They reminded us that there’s never a direct path to life and you won’t always be doing what you thought you would be.” As women, we must have the strength to persevere through the ups and downs of our future career paths in order to become the powerful women in business we see more of each and every day.

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Our six trekees representing CWIB at Cary Street Partners. Photo courtesy of Marissa Wharton

Treks are meant to be an empowering experience for every member that attends, and this Richmond trek was just that. The reassuring nature of the testimonies from the business professionals at CarMax, the Martin Agency, and Cary Street Partners helped motivate our members to continue chasing their passions. According to Vang, the trek was inspirational because she “got to meet various successful women who had their own unique story of how they got to where they are today.” Everybody has their own stories of success, and CWIB is excited to see each of its members create their own path in the business world. Another aspect of treks that is always memorable is the female support each trekee receives. Hughes shared, “The most significant part of the trek for me was seeing just how many women from the three companies wanted to come and speak with us.” As women in business, we have to stand together during our strive for success in the often male-dominated fields we will be entering into. Hughes continued with, “They shared so many tips for helping us succeed.”

Finally, treks are simply a glimpse into our potential futures! VP of Treks Marissa Wharton states, “Treks are such a great way to take a step back from campus for a couple of days and really see what life will be like after college.” Physically seeing companies and learning about how they operate is one of the best ways to discover what your interests are in terms of a potential career! From everyone here at CWIB, we hope you use treks to the best of your advantage and cannot wait to see the paths you all carve out for yourselves.

 

By: Allison Wood