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Advice for Aspiring Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs

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Program Spotlight

On Feb. 9, 2024, Geneva College Tannehill Department of Business, Accounting, & Sport Management hosted six department alumni for the 5th Annual Business Department Alumni Panel. Each alumnus responded to a series of questions about their career and advised current students on resumes, work-life balance, internships, and career advancement.

  1. Get Involved Now

Alicia McGhee ‘06, regional coordinator for the PA House of Representatives, emphasized the importance of getting involved. She said, “Take advantage of the opportunities you have now. In the Beaver County area, there are so many opportunities. Get an internship, be involved in what student development is doing, and volunteer every chance you get.”

Others stressed the importance of this, too. Future employers look at many different factors, not just job experience or GPA. Having a diversity of experiences is something that can set you apart. And while you are in college, you have access to many different clubs and opportunities to try new things that may not be available to you after graduation.

  1. Focus on Soft Skills

Jacob Olenick ’17, project manager at WINT Water Intelligence, said, “You don’t have to have the exact degree or technical skills to get a job. Be a problem solver.” Though Olenick has a degree in business administration, he landed a career in a field in which many employees have engineering degrees. While technical skills are valuable, soft skills like communication, problem solving, and relational skills can often be more valuable in the workplace and set you apart from others with a similar degree and knowledge base.

  1. Connections, Connections, Connections!

Making connections and focusing on relationships is a sentiment each one of our graduates focused on throughout the panel.

Natalia Muoio ’20, MBA ’22, Pittsburgh Steelers Direct Marketing, shared how her journey to her current position and advancement in the sports world has been through connections and relationship building. She said, “Make connections! This is such an important part of advancing your career. Spend time building your LinkedIn, it matters.”

Matthew Blocki ’10, CFP, ChFC, RICP, the CEO of Equilibrium Wealth Advisors, shared a similar story of how personal skills set him apart from others early on, strongly encouraging our students to start making connections now. He said, “Get mentors. Ask questions and connect with people who are ahead of you.”

William Godfrey ’07, CPA, director at Holsinger, echoed this, saying, “It is about people! Think about your relationships and how you are spending your time. What attributes do people see in you? Be a memorable person.”

  1. Always Look to Learn

Emily Reynolds ’18, wedding photographer, shared, “Be willing to learn and gain experience, even if it is not exactly what you want to do or if it is not paid.” College is not only about gaining a specific set of skills to get one particular job; students should be seeking to learn new things and gain experience where they can. This wide range of skills will help make you a more valuable employee and enhance your educational experience.

McGhee encouraged students to pursue learning. “Make yourself an expert in where you want to be. Be the person others come to for answers. Sit and learn, absorb, and then share. Make yourself a resource.”

  1. Don’t Make Your Career an Idol

The final piece of advice our alumni had to offer was to be wary of making your career your sole focus in life.

Olenick said, “It is really important to not put too much pressure on your career. Don’t make it an idol.”

Godfrey works in accounting, a field known for long hours and no work-life balance. He described how hard work and long hours can be necessary, but a shift in how people view work is leading to changes in high-demand fields to make it healthier. He said, “Most workplaces will give you the flexibility you need and allow you to manage your lifestyle if you prove you are dependable, trustworthy, get the work done, and can be counted on like a team member should.”

He acknowledged that if you are working in a place where you are finding it difficult to find that balance, there is still hope. “If you work hard and level up, you can be a leader that initiates that change.” Rather than normalizing an environment that idolizes work and leaves no room for personal life, you can be part of the change to make it better for you, your coworkers, and the organization as a whole.

Reynolds, who owns her own business, discussed how having your own business can be extremely challenging because in many ways your work becomes your life. She said, “Be mindful of boundaries. Not making room for rest and separation will affect your ability to remain excited and passionate about your work.” Caring about your job and being able to do your best work depends on your ability to set boundaries and not idolize your work, otherwise you may be on the road to burnout and decreased productivity.

Blocki stressed this as well by sharing a phrase he shares with many of his clients in financial planning. He said, “Design a life you don’t have to retire from. Don’t constantly stress about what you are retiring from. Work on designing and living now.” This will often take time and sacrifices, but the goal of work is to create a lifestyle. When choosing a job and career path, it is important to be mindful of all aspects of your life so you can be sure you aren’t setting yourself up for an unhealthy relationship with work.

Each piece of advice offered at this panel helps aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs make decisions now and in the future about their education, career, and lifestyle. The words of encouragement passed along by alumni help our students to best serve God and neighbor with the skills and education they receive at Geneva.



-Kelsey Ingold ‘18

Assistant Director of Internal Communication




Opinions expressed in the Geneva Blog are those of its contributors and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official position of the College. The Geneva Blog is a place for faculty and contributing writers to express points of view, academic insights, and contribute to national conversations to spark thought, conversation, and the pursuit of truth, in line with our philosophy as a Christian, liberal arts institution.

Feb 15, 2024

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