York College has gone the extra mile to fulfill its vision of preparing students to be professionals in whatever career they pursue. On September 28, the College's Alumni Entrepreneurs Awareness Campaign hosted its inaugural event, Alumni Entrepreneurs Unplugged (AE Unplugged).
"The campaign was created to put a spotlight on alumni entrepreneurs in order to demonstrate to our students that there are many successful entrepreneurs who went to York," said Kristin Schab, Associate Director of Alumni Relations and Director of Young Alumni Programs.
AE Unplugged was created as a forum for the students of the College to interact directly with alumni entrepreneurs. The event is about exposing the students to people in this region and beyond who attended York College and have gone on to successful self-employment.
"We do a great job here at York College through the Center for Professional Excellence (CPE) in preparing our students to take a job," said Schab. "We also want them to know that there are resources available to help them create a job for themselves."
The inaugural AE Unplugged event was hosted by Tina Rudisill '80, President and Owner of Marketing Works in York. Rudisill was chosen as the host after presenting "The Deadly Sins of Marketing" at a Women's Business Center (WBCO) event held at the College in March.
"We knew that she would be very well received and could have an impact on the students," said Jeff Vermeulen, Executive Director, J. D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship. "Not to mention that the location was convenient and unique for the students to see."
As students entered Marketing Works they were welcomed by Rudisill's staff and were encouraged to grab lunch. Wraps were served in the unique lobby of Marketing Works, which made students feel like they were in a coffee shop rather than an office building. They were seated in a conference room and immediately began networking with the staff.
As lunch was wrapping up the York College staff that planned AE Unplugged was amazed by the amount of questioning and answering that had taken place already. However, it didn't stop there as the schedule shifted to the formal panel session moderated by Matthew Randall, former Executive Director of the CPE.
The panel session gave students a chance to ask more in-depth questions to not just one staff member but the entire panel that Rudisill had chosen while preparing for the event.
"Choosing the panel was difficult," said Rudisill. "I wanted to showcase many different areas of Marketing Works."
The panel included three York College alumnae besides Rudisill: Sandy Wynegar '83, Jess Diaczun '10 and Rudisill's daughter, Ashley Rudisill '10.
The panel session gave students insights on the real world and what employers will expect from them. One of the main topics discussed was students utilizing their skills. Advice offered by Marketing Works staff included "be remarkable," "be resourceful" and "be creative." Students were encouraged to step out of their comfort zones to make an impression on future employers.
During the panel session students were also fortunate to have Rudisill share her unique story of how she came to self-employment. She explained how she knew from a young age that she wanted to be an entrepreneur. She has always "found a need, and added value to it." When she bought Marketing Works from her previous boss she had only five employees and knew that she needed to diversify her company. She explained how the company needed to find its "purple cow" (from the book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable) and described how she changed its path and found niches to make it different. Constantly re-evaluating the company to ensure that it is the best that it can be is how Rudisill has developed a successful business with more than 70 employees.
After the students were inspired by Rudisill's story, they were led on a tour throughout Marketing Works. Students were in awe of the office setting. They were led through many different rooms, including a special events room, the warehouse and the "think box" (a small conference room with red walls and a modern take on a chandelier) designed to help employees get their creative juices flowing.
"I absolutely loved the event at Marketing Works," said Katie Lamb '14 (Bethel Park, PA). "I appreciated the real-life advice the employees gave us as well as their hospitality to allow us to step into their environment to get a better feel of what they do."
"Very cool hands-on and informative event," said Sammy Greenwald '15 (Germantown, MD). "I loved that they took the time out of their day to help guide us college students to prepare for the workplace."
AE Unplugged at Marketing Works was educational, memorable and, most importantly, inspiring.