Barrett alumni share tips and advice with students at Beyond Barrett event focused on business and entrepreneurship

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November 30, 2017

Students interested in starting their own businesses or working in fields they enjoy should follow their passions, formulate their plans and go for it.

Beyond Barrett

Barrett alums who shared their expertise and advice with students at a recent Beyond Barrett event focusing on business and entrepreneurship are (left to right) Nicole Wood, Greg Rudolph, Allison DeVane, and Courtney Robinson.

That was the consensus of panelists at a recent “Beyond Barrett” event focusing on business and entrepreneurship. The panelists, all Barrett Honors College graduates, spoke about their transition to the world of work, the challenges of developing businesses and careers, and the rewards of working for themselves or supportive employers.

The “Beyond Barrett” program brings together honors students and alumni to discuss various professions, share best practices and tips, and network. Sessions have focused on advice for freshmen and the legal profession. Future events will focus on careers in the areas of education, engineering and technology, and medicine.

Panelists included:

Greg Rudolph, a 2014 Barrett graduate, who started his company, Board Blazers, when he was still a student. The company manufactures and markets battery operated LED lights that can be mounted on the underside of skateboards and scooters.

Courtney Robinson, a 2017 graduate, who works as an influencer relationship manager at August United, a marketing agency in Tempe. She specializes in pairing commercial brands, such as See’s Candies, with influencers on LinkedIn, YouTube, and social media and coordinating campaigns to market brand products.

Nicole Wood, a 2011 honors graduate, who worked as a business consultant before starting Ama la Vida, a personal coaching business.

Allison DeVane, who graduated in 2012, and founded Teaspressa, a company that markets specialty teas that have as much caffeine as coffee. DeVane appeared on the popular television show Shark Tank to seek investment for her company. She did not get any of the “sharks” to invest in her company, but received valuable exposure. She now sells Teaspressa online and at a store in Scottsdale. She also has a deal to market her teas through Anthropologie.

Top tips from the panelists included:

  • Undergraduates should create good working relationships with professors who can assist them with networking, research, and recommendations.
  • Identify what you are passionate about and decide if you can build a business around it.
  • Pursue professional internships and stay in touch with the people you intern for as they could serve as references or hire you full time in the future.
  • To avoid burnout, make time for yourself and seek work-life balance.
  • Join professional networks to find people who can help you with your vision and goals.
  • Let people know what you are interested in and what you can do so if they hear of opportunities that fit your interests they will be more inclined to tell you about them.
  • Set priorities and daily goals so you can track your progress.
  • Be patient and confident. Your career will have ups and downs, but do not be discouraged.
  • Do not be afraid if you must leave a job because it is not the right fit. Leave gracefully.
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