This is a story about the Colgate community, gerontology, entrepreneurship, Jessica Alba, and a job interview in California with the CEO of a new start up.
As a first year student, I joined the Adopt-a-Grandparent COVE group and discovered a passion for working with seniors. I took Professor Meika Loe’s Sociology of the Lifecourse class, which is all about aging and it inspired me to take what I was learning in the classroom and use it to better the lives of seniors. Despite my eagerness to help elders, I didn’t know how to go about doing something to make a difference. That’s when Professor Loe encouraged me to apply for the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute.
I was hesitant because I didn’t understand how creating a business was going to help me with my mission to help seniors. Also, I didn’t consider myself an entrepreneur.
Since I only had a rough idea of helping seniors, I was intimidated and shy at the start of TIA. But I stuck with it and began to gain confidence. One of the key lessons TIA taught me was how to effectively present or pitch my venture. Pitching required the ability to clearly and succinctly tell people about the problem I was solving, and how I planned to solve it.
I became good enough that in April 2014, I was selected to pitch my venture at the first-ever Shark Tank event on Entrepreneur Weekend. I was able to stand in front of more than 2,000 people, including a superstar panel, and pitch my idea. The experience made me a more assured public speaker and it gave me so much confidence.
Which brings me back to Jessica Alba.
Days before Entrepreneur Weekend, a TIA mentor alerted me to an amazing new startup trying to reinvent in-home senior care. Jessica Alba is one of their investors.
I made it my mission to ask her to connect me with the company. During a Q and A session with Jessica Alba and Jenn Hyman, founder of Rent The Runway, I seized the opportunity to ask Alba about the company and told her I wanted a job there. She agreed to connect me with the CEO and founder, a good friend of her husband’s.
A few days later I heard from the CEO and he asked when I could come to California to meet for an interview. We met this weekend. I don’t know what will come of it, but what I do know is that none of this would have been possible without the confidence I gained from TIA.
I can say with certainty that of all the things I’ve been a part of on campus, TIA has been the program that best represents what it was that drew me to Colgate in the first place. I came to Colgate because people here have a strong sense of community. At TIA, students, alumni, community members, and faculty and staff come together to make amazing things happen.
Congratulations to Ariel Sherry ’15 who was named Salutatorian for the Colgate class of 2015. Ariel was active in TIA for 2 years where she created her venture Age Together. She was chosen to pitch in last year’s eWeekend Shark Tank where she walked away with $5000 for her venture. Ariel was a double major in Psychology and Religion. In addition to TIA, Ariel was a team leader of Adopt-a-Grandparent, vice-president of finance for Delta Delta Delta sorority, member of the Konosioni Senior Honor Society, and Luminaria Chair for Colleges Against Cancer. Ariel graduated Summa Cum Laude, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received numerous other honors and awards during her four years at Colgate. Congratulations and best of luck Ariel!