- Name (First and Last)
WorldFinds Fair Trade
- Graduation Year (list as "Month Year")
- Minor and/or Certificates
Career Information & Advice
Please answer each of the following questions with as much detail as possible while keeping your answers succinct (aim for 2 - 4 sentences per question).
- What are your job responsibilities/duties?
As the founder of a small, socially responsible business there is just a huge range of tasks to get done at all times. I work with marginalized women artisan groups in the developing world to provide economic empowerment through fair trade. We design jewelry and accessories that are sold in boutiques, museum stores, catalogs, and gift shops. Responsibilities include sourcing, importing, marketing, distribution, business management, and assessing impact in our artisan communities.
- What does a typical day look like?
It completely varies! I might be in NY at a trade show, then in our office/distribution center working with our team on marketing and new product development, and the following day I could be heading out to visit our artisan groups in India.
- What do you most enjoy about your job?
Seeing the changes in our artisans' lives. It makes all the frustrations of running a small business worthwhile! We've been working with some of our artisan groups for nearly 16 years and its amazing to see progress: daughters are able to attend school, roads are now paved, and there is better access to clean water. There is still a long way to go, but its good to celebrate successes along the way.
- What is the most difficult aspect of the job?
Government agencies. There is always something that can go wrong with importing no matter how well prepared you are.
- What on-campus activities were you involved with? Where did you gain relevant experience?
While at school I was involved with SAMS (Students Against Multiple Sclerosis), my sorority, and I worked in advertising at the Daily Illini. After graduation I held several positions in marketing from assistant up to marketing manager for a publisher. I was drawn to smaller companies so got a lot of great hands-on experience and learned to think creatively with smaller budgets. After 9 years in the workforce I took a year off to backpack around the world with my husband, and then started WorldFinds.
- How did your experience at ILLINOIS and in the College of Media prepare you for your professional life? For this specific position?
I had a great experience at Illinois, from the professors to the TA's and my fellow students - they were all really knowledgeable and inspiring. It provided a solid foundation for my initial jobs in marketing, which gave me the confidence to start a business and do what I do now.
- What advice do you have for students interested in this field?
Be curious. Travel. Always try new things and get out of your comfort zone. If you are thinking about starting your own business or social enterprise, just take the leap! Its a great feeling to be dong something you love, that you brought to fruition, that is having a positive impact in the world. Even if you fail, you will learn tons and be better-prepared for your next adventure.
- What is one thing that you know now that you wish you had known when you started in the field? When you graduated from the College?
It will be hard but worth it! That really applies to everything. Persevere and keep learning.