My entire college career, when I told people I was a Marketing major with an double minor in Entrepreneurship and in Peace, Justice, Human Rights, their response was
What are you going to do with that mix?
While it didn’t make sense to many others, it made a load of sense to who I was at my core. I wanted to use business and innovation to change the world. Simple enough, right?
Fast forward some years, and my job search was at a standstill. I struggled to find companies in the midwest where my dreams and aspirations would be a good fit. Then I found it: Venture for America.
It was perfect for me. Venture for America (VFA) is a two-year fellowship program for recent graduates who want to work in a startup and create jobs in American cities.
It was a beautiful mix of my marketing skills and my entrepreneurial and justice mindset. All of the companies are innovating the world for the better in some way or another. I could move somewhere new, experience a new city, create a new network.
It looked perfect, but I still had to apply. Having looked up some things about the application online, I realized there are four deadlines for applications, with four rounds in each. A bit overwhelmed, I began filling out my application in a whim, and left it until I found out more about VFA.
I was sitting with my dad at lunch one day when I got the email that they selected me for round two of their application process.
Now it was real.
I started talking to my family and friends about how unique this opportunity is, and how it would be so interesting. I had no idea where I stood as a prospect, but I dove into round two: writing essays about various aspects of my life. Each essay was fairly short (~250 words) and I put myself out there in each one. Being vulnerable isn’t easy, but I figured if I wanted this opportunity, I had to go after it.
Then I got the e-mail: I had moved on to the Skype interviews! That day I probably spent 5 hours researching VFA. During that deep dive, I realized that this is exactly what I want to do. I watched Generation Startup on Netflix that night and I realized I could not stop talking to everyone and anyone about this program. I had my mind set and I was ready to go.
A few weeks later, I made it to Selection Day; this in-person interview was the last step in the interview process. I drove to Capital University the night before the interview and I was ready (or so I thought) to go. I researched but could not find much online about the interviews. They told me not to prepare anything, and as much as I wanted to, I didn’t feel I had to.
I shared a passion for their mission, and here was my chance to show them.
My interview day felt like more like a conference than an interview. I was surrounded by so many incredible, strong, like-minded individuals interviewing beside me. We didn’t feel like we were competing with each other, but were there to learn about each other, what our passions were, what interested us, what we wanted to do in our lives. I left Selection Day feeling energized and excited to see where this could take me.
The next few weeks were stressful, to say the least. I anxiously waited for that phone call. I saw a Philadelphia number pop up on my phone, and after my heart skipped a beat, I had a really good feeling. My instinct was not wrong!
I was accepted as a VFA Fellow, John Carroll University’s first student to do so.
I accepted that night and began on-boarding to be prepared for Match. I couldn’t believe it. I was a Fellow! Match is VFA’s way to help Fellows apply for positions at the available jobs. I am currently in that process now, looking at marketing positions at multiple companies in 14 cities.
My mind swirls with excitement and anxiety around where I will be and what I will be doing.
I know this road will be challenging. This will be my first time moving away from Northeast Ohio. I will have to settle into and navigate an entirely new city. But I am excited for all this will bring and the lessons I will be able to learn through these next two years. Onward on and here we go!