A Leap of Faith

Thank you, Julius Caesar, for leap day! I definitely needed the extra day in February to catch up on work, grad school assignments, and personal tasks, such as finishing this blog post.

On Saturday, it was 55 and sunny in Chicagoland, so I decided to walk a good 4.7 miles from Edgewater to Evanston after a delicious huevos borrachos¬†brunch at m.henry. I appreciated the opportunity to clear my head and reflect, especially after how busy this quarter has been — I can’t believe winter classes¬†end next week!

My biggest accomplishment this quarter is landing internship offers from multiple consulting firms, taking me one step closer to crossing the following off my Thirty Before Thirty bucket list:

#5 Re-brand myself away from a finance/accounting career and into an organizational change or corporate/marketing strategy path.

Preparing for case interviews was quite the process, and I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who practiced with me and helped me succeed, especially Terri Cramer, my MSLOC advisor. Deciding between offers was almost as tough as preparing for the interviews, and after making several pros and cons lists, having discussions with multiple sounding boards, and listening to my mixed gut feelings, I finally decided. While I will always have some Green Dot pride and will forever cherish those Moments That Matter (and I am grateful for the opportunity to return to a different service area), I am going to see what Building a Better Working World is all about. Catch my drift? ūüėČ

Fail faster, succeed sooner. -David Kelley, Founder & Chairman, IDEO

Public accounting¬†was a career path I had known since my sophomore year at Bentley, and leaving the known for the unknown took a leap of faith. I remember initially feeling like a failure when I decided not to pursue my CPA, and some people strongly believed that I was throwing my career away by leaving¬†external audit too soon¬†(they thankfully agreed to support my decision regardless), but I knew that it wasn’t the long-term career for me. I do have to admit that I am glad I launched my career in public accounting — it further strengthened my work ethic, introduced me to some of my closest mentors and friends (HI MEGAN! HOLA CAROLYNN!), and exposed me to the world of consulting, specifically human capital and organization transformation. I did my research, spoke with multiple advisors, and ended up at Northwestern after an internal firm transfer and a few months at a startup. Once I finish¬†my internship in NYC this summer and hopefully receive a full-time offer, I can officially mark bucket list item number five, complete!

If you’re interested in learning more about my experience as a career shifter, please feel free to reach out and set up a time to chat in person or virtually. If you’ve changed careers¬†yourself, I’d also love to hear your story!

Additional Thirty Before Thirty Updates

#5, 6, 10, 18, 23, and 27 are currently in-progress (I’ll even be in Denmark on March 15th!), but check out the¬†following items I have completed:

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#11 Attend a multi-day music festival: Lollapalooza, July 2015, with James, Corey, Sarina, Nick, and Jen.
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#25 Participate in a week-long fitness/wellness retreat: Phuket Fit, May 2015, with my sister Myra.
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#29 Live by myself: Evanston, IL, June 2015-Present.

MSLOC NUsite

I’d also like to thank fellow Bentley ’11 alumna, Hillary Schnip, for taking the time to participate in an interview for my second #msloc430 post:¬†Using Yammer to Engage Employees at a Large Multinational CPG Company.

Let’s Catch Up!

When is the last time you and I spoke and/or hung out? Let’s catch up — I’d love to hear how you are doing!

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Thirty Before Thirty: Number One, Start a Blog.

Today, I am officially closer to thirty than twenty. As a birthday present to myself, I am starting this blog and crossing off the first item on my Thirty Before Thirty bucket list. Don’t worry, I also spent this past weekend in NYC celebrating with my birthday twin Hillary and this evening I am heading to Loretta’s for farewell drinks with a bunch of friends – if you’re in the area, come join us!

After almost eight years of calling Massachusetts home and living here for the most number of consecutive years to date (compared to SoCal, Cebu, Utah, and Madrid), it is hard to believe that I am moving out of my Boston apartment in nine days. Lately, I have been thinking about who from Boston I am actually going to keep in touch with. Who do I want to make an effort to talk to? Who is going to make an effort to reach out to me?

Yes, advances in technology and social media have made it easier for us to communicate with one another, but we can still get so caught up in our own day to day lives. Maybe we are spending countless hours in windowless conference rooms, hunching over workpapers, forgetting when we last saw sunlight, and bonding with our team as we long for that filing date of never. Maybe we are overwhelmed with extracurricular activities. Maybe we are dating someone new and are zoned into that honeymoon stage of a relationship. Maybe we are locked up in a library studying for standardized tests or working on group projects. Maybe we do not want to leave our apartments due to the ridiculous amount of snow. Maybe we are simply busy with life.

I do not know how busy I will be once graduate school starts in June, but I do know that I would like to do my best to keep in touch. My friends sometimes joke around that I am the Queen of Networking, often connecting people. Instead of networking, I actually like to think about it more as Relationship Building.

If we build relationships as opposed to network, we add another layer to our relationships. Your relationships are now much more than cultivating a “productive relationship for employment,” they now have become a genuine relationship in which you show interest for other people as a whole, not just their profession, title, or employer.Jose Gutierrez, a fellow BentleyU and Deltasig alum.

I enjoy getting to know people because I believe that we learn something different from each other’s perspective, and, it’s fun. Meeting new people is a great way to get out of our comfort zones, but it is equally important to continue maintaining and strengthening existing relationships. I have done a great job in keeping in touch with a good amount of family, friends, colleagues, and mentors across the globe thus far, whether we talk on a regular basis or have a major catch up session about once a year, but there is always room for improvement.

I haven’t seen my sister Myra, who is currently teaching English in Thailand, since September, and I haven’t seen Jackie, a close friend who is exploring her personal and professional interests in Australia, since May. While they are among those who I chat with almost every day, I gain more insight through reading their blogs and feel even more connected to them. Amrita, the founder of the fashion technology startup¬†I currently work at and who I happen to meet via Twitter (a story of its own), also inspired me to start my own blog, amongst other things. After floating the idea of this blog to my sister, my MSLOC advisor, and some friends, here I am.

My goal is for The Alexa Connection to evolve into a lifestyle blog and creative outlet, connecting people to my thoughts and potentially to each other. I am interested in blogging about a wide array of topics, including but not limited to those listed on the About page. As a newbie to blogging and WordPress, I am excited to see how this blog is going to unfold and I look forward to actively hearing your feedback and input!

-Alexa

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