Member Spotlight: Erin Kelly
Last week, I did something that I’ve terrified to do for part of my life: flying. I’ve been terrified of flying for a while, but I overcame that in order to attend a conference.
My name is Erin Kelly and I’m a member of the Student Alumni Association at Seton Hall. Along with being a part of SAA, I am also highly involved in WSOU, Seton Hall’s Radio Station where I am currently the Social Media Manager. It was my involvement in WSOU that led me to conquer this fear of flying.
There’s a radio convention every year called the Nation Association of Broadcasting (NAB) Radio Show and this year it was held in Austin, Texas. Though the show is geared towards professionals, they offer an opportunity for students to attend through the Radio Show Student Scholar Program. I was one of the lucky students who got accepted to attend on behalf of WSOU, with three other students from the station joining me.
At the conference which ran from September 5th– September 7th, I was approached with amazing opportunities. I was able to attend info sessions that would help benefit the social media department of WSOU, I was able to connect with students from across the country, but I was also able to connect myself with influential people in radio.
It was the last two opportunities that I had that the skills I have received from my time in SAA that helped me succeed. This especially came in handy during my mentor session. Student Scholars were given the chance to sign up for mentor sessions with extremely influential people in the field. It was because of this that I met one of the most powerful men in radio (according to Radio Ink): Scott Herman.
Scott Herman is the Chief Operating Officer of CBS Radio. He works and lives in the NY area and is originally from Brooklyn. I learned this not from him, but because I looked it up, to make sure that I was prepared before meeting him, something that I probably wouldn’t have done if SAA hadn’t held a workshop on how to prepare for an interview. When I met him and said I was from Seton Hall he replied, “You’re in my neck of the woods” and was able to have a conversation with him about the area.
Through SAA and WSOU I’ve learned that networking and who you know is everything. During my research of Scott I learned that he started his career at 1010 WINS where one of my current professors, Frank Garrity, used to work. If I hadn’t known that networking is everything, I wouldn’t have mentioned Garrity to Scott, but I did, and he knew my professor and said “Frank’s a good friend of mine…he’s a good guy…tell him I said hi.”
Finding out that Scott was from CBS and in the local area and having an indication that he might have known my professor allowed me to talk more easily to Scott. The mentor session had nine other scholars there and though I was admittedly quiet, Scott remembered me. In the beginning of the session Scott asked us all our names and where we were from. Now personally I’d easily forget what college someone was from, but Scott didn’t. During the session a radio writer named Tom Taylor stopped by the session and asked if anyone was from WSOU (our general manager Mark Maben had told him four students were attending the convention. As I was raising my hand Scott immediately pointed at me. At no time did I mention WSOU, I just said I was from Seton Hall, but Scott knew Seton Hall’s station, and he pointed me out. Despite not talking a ton, I think my personal connection with Scott, area wise, stayed with him.
It was an amazing experience attending this conference and though I’m still afraid of heights, the opportunity that was provided to me was worth getting on a plane for the first time in 15 years.
-Erin Kelly, ’19
SAA Member Retreat
I recently went on the member retreat for the Student Alumni Association. I was honestly skeptical about the entire experience because of my reluctance to make new friends, step outside my comfort zone and to go across a high ropes course mainly. Once that I got there though, I felt so welcomed right from inside the car. Daniela, our advisor, was so excited to see me and Marisa that it made me more excited about the retreat. Right off the bat, we sat around a campfire and took a journey into other people’s lives through our special objects. I was astonished at the honesty and sincerity of all these people around me that barely even knew me but were willing to reveal their true selves and extremely personal stories. I felt so welcome and trusted very early on in my experience. Throughout the rest of the trip, I continued to feel the same way. It started with s’mores around a campfire and went to team activities, trust exercises, awkward ice breakers and the most intense rock paper scissors competition ever. I got close to people I used to feel that I could never connect with and learned more about everyone who attended. The Student Alumni Association is so fast paced during the year so the retreat was the best getaway opportunity to develop new relationships that will serve to be relationships for life.
-Victoria Blakey-Padilla ’19
Check out the SAA Flickr to see photos from our trip!
It Starts with a Smile
This summer, one of our members, Michael, has been interning with Enterprise. Read on to learn more about his experience, and how he has bridged the divide between his major, and the experiences he’s gained with Enterprise.
I wake up at 5:00am every morning, getting ready for a 12-hour workday. I get ready before the sun rises, putting on my suit, a white button down shirt, and one of my funky patterned ties from my tie collection. I eat breakfast, drink my coffee, and head out the door by 6:00am to drive 45 minutes from Bergenfield to Rahway down the Garden State Parkway. By the time I get there, I am awake, and I feel bright and ready to work for Enterprise Rent-a-Car. As the first customer walks in at 7:30am, my smile forms on my face in an effort to brighten up their morning. “Hi, welcome to Enterprise,” I say with my arm extended to them. That is my morning routine.
This summer, I have the pleasure of working with Enterprise Rent-a-Car for an internship. I have been there for over a month and a half, and have enjoyed the challenges and rewards that come with it. At times it may not be the prettiest of jobs, but the connection with some of the customers outweighs any of the obstacles that come in the way between me and making the sale. For me, that connection starts with a smile.
My job is to do what everyone else does at the branch; I do pitch into just about everything around the branch. I check people into cars, sell coverage, upgrade people into bigger and nicer cars, drive customers to pick them up and drop them off, pick up cars from other branches, wash and clean cars, send cars to get repaired, call back customers to check up on them, set up corporate accounts for companies, and smile and listen to customers. Those are the simplest ways to put every task.
The car rental business is an interesting one that I did not see myself in when I started college. I am a marketing and sport management student in the Stillman School of Business; ideally, I would want a future in sports business or marketing. Enterprise is neither, but it has helped me in trying to get to that point. Enterprise Holdings, the umbrella group, prides itself on being the best car rental company in America, which it is. It has the most branches, it owns Enterprise, National, and Alamo, and it makes up the most market share of any other rental company.
Enterprise also prides itself on customer service. Though Enterprise is a large corporation in America, its individual branches act like your friendly neighborhood outlet store, where regulars come in and talk to us about their plans and reward us when we go above and beyond their expectations. Believe me, some of the rewards are delicious. How do we get customers to like us? By making sure they are completely satisfied before they walk out the door for the last time by any means necessary.
My plan differs from customer to customer, and each customer has its different challenges. Though we have to show exceptional customer service, we still have to sell additional products aside from the car, such as coverage and upgrades; I cannot forget about that. However, we want to have customers come back to Enterprise for any of their rental needs. Each customer has a balance between business and personal. I need to be personal with each customer, but I also need to try to sell to them. That is why it is important for me to do two things: make a positive first impression and listen.
By making a positive first impression, customers will feel comfortable with me. They can speak to me, which will allow for me to listen to their needs and wants. After that, I can come up with a plan to try to sell. Even though I may be a salesman to these people, I try to break the salesman stereotype. I try to be friendly with them, cracking jokes and speaking casually to them about anything that interests them. But I never lose my smile. The saying “a smile could go a long way” is accurate. My customers have felt comfortable enough with me that they have specifically asked for me, and I am only an intern who has been there for a month and a half.
-Michael Lovero ’18
World Food Prize Internship
One of our members, Emma Tobin, has spent her summer working for the World Food Prize. Read more about her experience, and how Seton Hall has played a role in her success.
My name is Emma Tobin and I am a rising sophomore in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations. This summer I am a George Washington Carver Intern at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa. The World Food Prize was created by Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Norman Borlaug, in an effort to recognize the achievements of “individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.” The World Food Prize is often recognized as the Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture. Dr. Borlaug, is recognized as a world leader in food security because he “saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived” through his development of high-quality wheat. The World Food Prize was created to celebrate breakthrough accomplishments and it awards a $250,000 prize every year to an individual who is changing the world. The award recipient is announced in June every year and the award is presented at the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium in October where world leaders, CEOs, and other speakers discuss the importance of agriculture and food security.
As a Planning intern for the World Food Prize, I helped to plan the Announcement Ceremony for the 2017 Laureate, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank. The Announcement Ceremony happened on June 26 at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C. In the past, only full-time World Food Prize employees have attended this Announcement. However, a few of the interns, including myself, decided to travel to Washington in order to participate in the Announcement so that we could see the process play out from start to finish. It was amazing to see all of our hard work pay off as we saw the event run smoothly, and as we responded to changes in the moment. I was able to meet foreign dignitaries, U.S. Senators, former World Prize Laureates, American Ambassadors, and a variety of other distinguished guests. It was so incredibly moving to watch a group of people who had so little in common come together to recognize the importance of food security and the ending of world hunger.
My week in D.C. allowed me not only to help plan and execute a professional event, but also to use some Seton Hall connections to learn more about the State Department. Kyle Younger, Seton Hall Director of Professional Services, arranged for me to meet with two Seton Hall Alumni from the Diplomacy School who currently work on the civil side of the State Department. These kind women agreed to meet with me to discuss the internship programs the State Department offers and gave me a personal tour of the main State Department building. Their advice was incredibly valuable and they made my trip to D.C. for the World Food Prize even more valuable.
Following my return from D.C., my role shifted from working on the Announcement Ceremony to working on the Borlaug Dialogue, a 3-day conference which takes place in October of every year. Morgan Day, my mentor, is the Director of Planning and is in charge of both the Announcement Ceremony and the Dialogue. Morgan’s professional advice and her incredible knowledge of protocol, planning, and people has helped me to grow tremendously as a young professional. I also work closely with the President of the World Food Prize, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn. Amb. Quinn is the former Ambassador to Cambodia and had a long career as a Foreign Service Officer. Ambassador Quinn is always willing to indulge my many questions about the Foreign Service while telling amazing stories of his experiences in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. Some of my favorite days at the World Food Prize are centered around listening to Ambassador Quinn’s stories or sitting in on meetings with Morgan.
I have been able to grow tremendously as a professional because of the opportunities the World Food Prize has given me. On any given day I have called foreign embassies and congressional offices, written letters to African Heads of State and world leaders such as Bill Gates, done extensive research on different governmental programs, or helped to organize panels with former Secretaries of Agriculture, actors, and world leaders. My internship at the World Food Prize has been incredibly informative and has allowed me to understand my major in a way I did not expect. It is because of this experience that I truly understand that feeding people is the key to world security and peace. I may study Diplomacy in the classroom but I am learning it firsthand every day I work at the World Food Prize. I look forward to being able to use these skills when I return to Iowa in October to help out with the Borlaug Dialogue.
Hall on the Hill
This summer, a number of our SAA members and faculty had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to attend the annual Hall on the Hill alumni event. Our members got the opportunity to network, learn more about the Seton Hall community, and even had a little time for exploring our nation’s capital. Read on to learn more about this experience from some of our members who were able to attend!
“How tall do you think it is”? It was late at night, and six SAA members, Laura, Alex, Lauren, Anna, Calloway and myself were staring up at the Washington Monument. All of us made a guess, with our answers ranging from 17 to 3000 feet. One of us finally Googled it. Just a day prior, the six of us were all doing different things. Some of us were at work, others were in different states, but on June 14th we all gathered at the Ring Building in South Orange so we could travel to Washington D.C. together. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the achievements of the Seton Hall alumni who have had an influence in the D.C. area. I spoke with countless alumni who at one time crammed for finals in the Walsh Library and sat on the Green on sunny days. Speaking with them and listening to what they have accomplished inspired me, and made me realize just how lucky I am to be at Seton Hall. After the event, we ventured to the Old Ebbitt Grill to celebrate another successful Hall on the Hill. The meal was great, but I think all of us enjoyed the company more than the food. We talked about everything, from the alumni event itself, season five of House of Cards and even the contentious debate of Lebron vs Jordan. To end the day that started in New Jersey, we decided to see everything our nation’s capital had to offer. Still dressed in our blazer attire, we stopped at each monument, soaking up the view and enjoying our only night together in D.C. At the Lincoln Memorial we took one final picture to commemorate the day we shared together. The next day, we took the train back to South Orange and we went our separate ways until late August, when we begin another semester at Seton Hall. Summer days tend to blend together and small details are easily forgotten. However, I know that I will never forget my first SAA event on June 14th, the spicy sausage garganelli from the Old Ebbitt Grill, the picture I took at the Lincoln Memorial and that the Washington Monument is 555 feet tall.
-Anthony Pulverenti ’19
Being a Diplomacy and International Relations major, there was no better event than Hall on the Hill to attend with SAA for the first time. Not only did I get to know my fellow SAA members a little better, but I was able to talk with some alumni who have been doing amazing things in Washington D.C. It was inspiring and educational for me as I am still not exactly sure what I’ll be doing with my degree. I also got to discuss internships and ideas with fellow students that were in the area for the summer. Hall on the Hill not only allowed me to learn more about what SAA does and how it works, but I was able to learn more about my own major and Seton Hall in general. Overall, a great first experience!
-Anna Fagan ’20
Going to Hall on the Hill was more than I ever expected. I was able to network with Congressmen, bond with other members of SAA, and explore Washington DC in a way that I never have before. I learned about what makes an SAA event successful and how to make connections with alumni who I’ve never met. I felt like such a rockstar walking around DC late at night in my blazer attire! My favorite part was definitely seeing the national mall at midnight with my co-SAA members. I had an amazing time and would love to go again!
-Calloway Korbisch ’20
Attending Hall on the Hill with SAA this year was an experience that allowed me to see the program in a different light. Not only are all of the fellow members very warm and welcoming, but the staff that went to DC are all very welcoming and share the same pirate pride, even though not all of them are alumni! While in DC, there was nothing like the feeling that you get when you see a person wearing a Seton Hall pin in a place outside of New Jersey. I learned on this trip that no matter how far or how close you live to Seton Hall, alums are proud to be from there and are always willing to talk and help a fellow pirate. My favorite part was being able to go to dinner with other SAA members and faculty from the alumni relations and the annual giving office. It was great to be able to talk to them and learn more about these people who we spend so much time with! Overall, I had an extremely positive experience at Hall on the Hill and I am looking forward to attending other events and hopefully returning to DC next summer.
-Lauren Borowick ’20
Many Are One Alumni Gala
Last month, some of our members were given the opportunity to attend the Many Are One gala, celebrating Seton Hall alumni. Read on to learn about the experiences of two of our members, Lori and Marisa.
On June 9th I was lucky enough to attend Seton Hall University’s Many Are One Gala. Aside from being a lavish evening celebrating the ways in which the University’s alumni have positively influenced our world, this year’s gala also celebrated a significant milestone. As of this year, Seton Hall has reached a network of 100,000 alumni. Standing in the room with hundreds of other alumni and listening to the speeches of the humble honorees filled me with great pride and comfort. Pride in my University and comfort in knowing I chose a school where I belong and where I am meant to become a better version of myself.
Throughout the night I was lucky enough to have been the escort for Alumni Impact Award Honoree, Joseph Kacierk, M.A. ’81. He being a retired principle, and me pursuing a career in education, conversation was light and easy. We talked about my course work and he gave me advice as well as wished well in my future endeavors. It was seeing him up on stage accepting his award that made me realize attending college should never come to an abrupt end after graduation. His passion for connecting with current students and his dedication to Seton Hall has inspired me to seek more opportunities to get and stay involved. One day, I hope to see myself standing in his position accepting an award on behalf of my impact on the future of Seton Hall, just as he along with many others in attendance, have impacted me. It is safe to say that my time at Many Are One was both fun and influential. I hope to be in attendance for the many years to come.
-Lori Amato ’19
This month, I was lucky enough to attend Many Are One. This event honors some of the most distinguished Seton Hall Alumni by highlighting their accomplishments and achievements. This night truly gave me a better appreciation of what kinds of doors a Seton Hall education will open for me once I graduate. It was incredible hearing the stories of all the distinguished alumni during the course of the event, but for me personally, a highlight was hearing the story of the Most Distinguished Alumna, Bonnie Evans. Starting as a physical therapist, she has now become a Chief Executive Officer of Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange. Next month, I will start taking physical therapy graduate courses, so hearing about Ms. Evans’ journey was so inspirational for me. I was able to talk to her a number of times throughout the night and she gave me such kind words of encouragement and well wishes. The conversations I had with her, along with other members of the Seton Hall community during Many Are One just reaffirmed for me that three years ago, I made the best choice of my life by deciding to become a Seton Hall Pirate!
-Marisa Harding ’18