Friday morning comes at last. Unfortunately, the weather here in St. Louis is a bit dismal, but at least I’m relatively cozy with my space heater on under my desk. I go through my typical morning routine: coffee, morning chitchat with coworkers, and email checking. The Women In Leadership trainer, who runs the program days and does the actual leadership training, wants to set up a meeting for next week to discuss the rest of the spring program and start looking at our subsequent fall program. We work out a mutual time to sit down and talk.
Next order of business is to notify all of the Fellows Program finalists. After months of recruiting, this is the fun part—I get to notify those who will continue on in the process. Unfortunately, not everyone will make it; the program is extremely competitive, due to the high demand from many graduating seniors for an opportunity such as the Fellows Program. More and more students are turning to fellowships as an opportunity to gain some real-world experience and narrow down their chosen career field. The Fellows Program, with its month-long internships in every sector from nonprofit to business to government, has a unique appeal to those who need a bit more time to settle on a direction.
So along with the fun comes some difficulty. It’s never fun to tell someone that they don’t make the cut, but it is a part of the job. I mail hard copies of the letters as well as email all applicants to notify them of their status. If they are finalists, the next step is to confirm their attendance at our Selection Day in March and to complete another round of paperwork. The rest are either rejected or asked to become alternates, in the event that a finalist decides not to continue with the process and a spot becomes available.
With that finished, I continue my planning for Selection Day. I call local hotels to inquire as to the possibility of setting up a group discount for the finalists flying in from outside of St. Louis. Since the program is nationally run, each of the five centers (New York, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Los Angeles) has its own geographic area from which to recruit. Our recruitment areas is a 20 state range from Texas to Minnesota—which means that setting up some travel arrangements in advance is important.
Finally, to round out my Friday nicely, I have a few phone calls with corporate Human Resources departments of local companies. This is to help promote the Women In Leadership program as an important corporate development tool for management and executive-level women. This type of call is extremely valuable to spreading the word about the program. We also use current participants as well as alumni to spread the word. As a nonprofit, we don’t have the dollars to spend on marketing, so a lot of what we do is accomplished through word of mouth, social media pushes, and ‘sales pitches’ to local companies.
As my afternoon winds down, I sit down to write this final entry for BC RealJobs. It’s been a great experience for me—to think about my own personal journey after Boston College. I have ended up somewhere I never thought I would be two years ago. It’s been a strange and crazy ride, but it’s been a blast, and I wouldn’t trade where I am now for anything. So to all of the current undergraduates reading this—don’t be afraid to take a chance. You’re only in your twenties once, so there is nothing to be lost if you step outside your comfort zone a little bit. And if you ever end up in the Midwest, don’t be afraid to look me up. The BC grads here are few and far between, but we always welcome another Eagle.
Signing off in St. Louis,