Ah, graduation day. The pomp circumstance march, flying caps, and diploma all signal that you've made it. It's thrilling, bittersweet and let's face it, a little overwhelming. Navigating post-grad life can seem daunting. From relocation options to career choices, the path is not always clear. Whether you're currently in college, recently turned your tassel or looking to make a move in your career, having the right guidance can make all the difference.
A friend and mentor of mine, Allison Walsh recently reached out to me about a passion project she had been working on: Savvy Girl. To give you a brief back story, Allison and I met through my involvement with the Miss Florida organization. As a successful business leader, philanthropist and former titleholder, Allison helped me develop interview skills and a marketing plan to prepare me for the job of Miss Florida, and beyond. With her guidance, I was able to grow my Miss Florida platform into a non-profit organization, "Olivia's Legacy of Love."
When Allison first told me about a program she was creating to help young women prosper in their careers, I couldn't have been more excited. Savvy Girl Guides is a four-part online program dedicated to equipping new grads with all of the tools they need to get inspired, focused and hired.
I recently asked Allison a few questions about her inspiration behind the program, common mistakes young professionals can avoid, and advice she wishes she'd been given.
Take the first step in joining this group of girl bosses by reading the post below, and as an added bonus, you'll score an exclusive discount. Now that's savvy.
Tell us about Savvy Girl. Who was this program designed for?The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Post-Grad Success was designed for motivated college students and new college grads. I wanted to answer the most common questions, equip them with fabulous tips and tricks and help them land a great first, post-grad job!
What inspired you to create a post-grad guide for success?I’ve been so lucky to work with amazing young women over the years. I had two successful coaching businesses prior to taking a position in Corporate America several years ago. Like clockwork, at the end of every semester, my phone would ring with past clients who were now graduating and heading into a new phase of life. I took a look at what was currently available and I realized that a comprehensive course would be a very valuable resource for this demographic. I got to work researching, compiling and preparing all of the materials. I’m thrilled to have been able to do this and I’m extremely thankful for all of the savvy girls who have contributed!
You consult young women to help them achieve success in their careers, whether they are recent grads, budding entrepreneurs or looking to advance in their current role. When you were in the early stages of your career, what is one piece of advice you wish you were given? Always keep the bigger picture in mind. Oftentimes, panic sets in right after graduation if a job isn’t lined up. I’ve seen so many young ladies scramble and take the first thing that comes their way. This is a big decision and one that needs to be evaluated. You need to make sure that you are working toward what you want, are able to learn and acquire new skills in the position, and have potential to grow wherever you go.
What is a common mistake you see young professionals making? Not tapping into their network is a HUGE mistake. Your personal network is critical to your success. I can’t stress that enough. It’s so important to reach out to not only who you know, but who your friends and family know as well. Any chance you have to make a personal connection, the better. This will help you stand out among the rest.
Many of your clients are in the process of choosing or possibly switching careers. What advice can you offer to my readers who may be at a similar crossroads? It’s so important for the company to find the right employee but it’s also important for the employee to find the right company. Make a list of all of things that you want out of your next job. Make sure you take into account the type of work environment or corporate culture you’d like to be a part of. You spend more hours working (typically) than anything else, so you need to find a position and a company that will help you continue to work toward your professional goals while providing an environment that motivates you as well.
Who is a "Savvy Girl" you admire? Marie Forleo is amazing. I am a huge fan girl of hers. She embraces the fact that it’s wonderful to be multi-passionate regarding your career aspirations and that each person has the ability to make a significant impact on the world.
In addition to Savvy Girl, you are the Vice President of Business Development and Branding for Advanced Recovery Systems. Can you tell us a little more about your job? I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of this organization since the very beginning. We are a behavioral healthcare management company that specializes in the treatment of addiction, substance abuse, eating disorders and mental health issues. Every day we get to help people which is something I absolutely love. Start-ups are incredibly exciting and while you’re usually wearing a lot more hats than what your job description says, you’re learning so much in a short period of time. Now that we have over 700 employees, some of the hats have come off and I’ve been able to focus on the main aspects of my job. I’m ultimately responsible for creating strong relationships across the country with organizations and individuals whose clients, patients or employees could benefit from our services. I have an incredible sales team that I train and oversee, I serve as the spokesperson for ARS, and run point on all branding aspects for each location and our parent company. We started with a single location four years ago and now have eight in five states. It’s been a very exciting adventure and I’m incredibly grateful for the impact we’ve been able to make, the vast amount of experiences I’ve had, people I’ve met and skills I’ve acquired.
Is there anything additional you'd like my readers to know about you or Savvy Girl? In addition to the programs, blog, resources and workshops we’ve made available, we’ve also created an empowering environment for motivated young women to turn to when navigating the next phase of life. Also, another really neat aspect is that Savvy Girl gives back! Philanthropy is incredibly important to us so we wanted to create a system that supports causes that matter to our clients. For example, if a sorority chapter schedules a Savvy Girl Summit and their members end up purchasing the course, we give a percentage of the sale to the sorority’s philanthropy of choice. As we continue to grow and scale, we’re excited about expanding our ability to give and make an impact in the lives of others.
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