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