Why did you choose UNC Charlotte?
I chose UNC Charlotte and the Belk College of Business because of the growth the city of Charlotte was experiencing, and I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to succeed there. The best way I could do that was to attend a university that was well connected with Charlotte and surrounding areas and UNC Charlotte was the perfect fit!
What kinds of opportunities did you have at UNC Charlotte, such as membership in student groups, sports played, internships, study-abroad?
During my time at UNC Charlotte, I was heavily involved in many things. Most importantly, M28, a campus ministry through my home church in Huntersville. I had many responsibilities and was made Vice President of M28 my junior year. When my time wasn’t spent in leadership with M28, I would frequently participate in intramural leagues for numerous sports and was always attending career fairs, where I secured an executive internship with Target Corporation during my final summer as a student.
What was the best part of your Belk College experience?
As I progressed though my classes, I had a handful of professors more than once and was able to establish a great relationship with them. These relationships helped me in a number of ways. If I ever had trouble balancing my studies with my expanding career, these faculty members were very willing to help me grasp the information and succeed in all of my classes with my unconventional schedule. I truly could not have made it through my degree without their patience and understanding with me as I slowly applied more and more time to my career.
What was your first job after graduation?
After much deliberation and counsel from others wiser than me, I decided to forgo the position I was offered at Target to pursue an opportunity with Abby’s Better, Inc; a nut butter and healthy snack food company my sister and mother had started about two years before. During my final year at UNC Charlotte, I began working a lot with Abby’s Better and began to take on more and more responsibility in the company as it exponentially grew. Initially, I was in charge of our Brand Ambassador program for the East Coast and Mid-Western United States. As the company continued to grow, we all grew with it and our jobs continued to change. Right now, my job encompasses management of the supply chain for Abby’s Better including oversight of our manufacturing facility, quality control, forecasting analysis, E-Commerce strategy and marketing as well as the procurement of institutional and angel investment capital. I also have a seat on the Board of Directors with Abby’s Better, Inc.
Were there classes, resources or contacts in the Belk College of Business that prepared you to pursue founding your own business?
I would say the number one thing that the Belk College of Business taught me was perseverance. My degree was not easy, and it took a lot of work! There were many times when I was backed up to a wall and had to force myself to perform with excellence. Over time, I became more proficient at performing under pressure and these skills have helped me immensely in my career thus far; especially as a decision maker within Abby’s Better, Inc. I have also maintained great relationships with a few of my professors post-graduation. This has led to great opportunities to give lectures and presentations in classes that I, not long ago, was attending as a student.
What advice do you have for current Belk College students?
I would say it is paramount to go seek out your professors as much as you can. Go to office hours, ask for meetings with them, etc. They can help you more than anyone else. The Belk College of Business is not easy, but it will prepare you for your career in more ways than just general business knowledge. Keep your eye on the prize, collaborate with professors and other students, and you will succeed.
What is the importance of giving back to you in terms of time, talent or treasures?
It is very important to me to give back to students that are in a similar situation that I was in not long ago. It is easy to get bogged down in school work as a student, and I think it is helpful to be inspired by others who have recently made it through and are reaping the benefits. If I can be that means of inspiration for students, I want to be as much as I am able!
Anything else you’d like to say about UNC Charlotte or the Belk College of Business?
I am a proud 49er’, I cherish my relationships and knowledge gained at this University, and I am thankful for the way it prepared me for my future!