The Intern Asks the CEO: What helped you get to the top?

Friday, August 11, 2017

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Written By: Anna Meyer, Marketing Communication Intern

Before the end of my internship at Intrinzic, I sat down with our CEO, Wendy Vonderhaar, to talk about her own personal experience with transforming her dreams into a career path to follow. For Wendy, that dream was starting and running a business.

As a fourth-year student at the University of Cincinnati (UC), it is very important for me to visualize my career path. In fact, “where do you see yourself in your career path?” was one of the questions asked in my interview for a shot as an intern at Intrinzic. I have heard many peers answer questions such as this confidently and others, not so much. I go into internships with hopes of gaining fresh insights, beyond classroom knowledge.

No matter what end of the spectrum you are on, here are a few takeaways from my conversation with, Wendy that I’m planning to remember as I discover and advance my own career aspirations.

4 Takeaways

Jump on opportunities when they arise

Wendy explains that owning her own business was always a dream, for as long as she could remember. When she graduated with her MBA from the University of Chicago, Wendy worked with several Fortune 500 Companies as a consultant for, Deloitte Consulting. After 5 years at Deloitte, an opportunity to purchase a small, one-person marketing company presented itself and Wendy thought, “this is my time,  I’m going to do this.” And so she did. Wendy leaned in to the opportunity to take something that was almost a blank slate and make it her own.

Be an “overconfident optimist”…but know when to ask for help

Wendy explains that there are risks she took when she was younger that she’s not sure she would take now. “When you’re young, you can just go for it.” The older you get, the more risk adverse you are because there is more at stake. Either way, your success is going to come down to your grit and ability to overcome obstacles and plow ahead.

And throughout the entire journey, don’t be afraid to ask for help. “Find honest mentors and peers who will tell you how it is,” Wendy says. She credits the mentors and peers who gave her constructive criticism and tough love as a key factor in helping her drive her business forward.

Push Past Fear

Are you making the right decisions for the long term? A few of Wendy’s fears include not always having an answer and not knowing what you don’t know. As a young professional, these fears cross my mind often as well. What I learned from Wendy is that you can’t let your fears become a blockade, as they will only hinder the overall success as a person and of your company. You have to face your fears head on and stay ahead of the game. It’s about climbing your first mountain and searching for the next.

Networking works

Its important to note that networking happens organically and leads to lasting relationships. Business unites people, fosters lasting relationships, and provides opportunities for us to support one another in our pursuits. Wendy’s first big client was Star Bank, now known as U.S. Bank. She scored a meeting with the bank’s marketing VP with the help of a family member, and on her walk through the office for an introductory meeting, she ran into a colleague from her job at Deloitte. The connection catalyzed her business with Star Bank and she walked out of the meeting with a big project. Intrinzic ended up working with U.S. Bank for 15 years, seeing them through multiple mergers.

Time to start

These are just a few of the things I learned from the passionate, collaborative, and fun employees at Intrinzic. My internship has been a needed confidence boost as I get ready to begin my career. Many thanks to everyone at Intrinzic for furthering my skillset and professional experience! I am thrilled to be at just the start line of my career path, shoes laced with knowledge, ready to take on the journey when I graduate from UC in December.

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