What was your major/minor and what year did you graduate?
I majored in Business Administration with concentration in Marketing. Graduated in 2012.
Tell us about your current position. Can you describe a typical day?
I’m the CEO & President of Aspetto, Inc. I wake up around 5:30am. I look at my calendar to see what meetings I have that day. I’m usually at the office by 7:00am. I read all the emails (when you’re dealing with international clients and partners, believe me you get bombarded with emails overnight.) Then I get updates on our production line and see how things are moving along. I am on the phone A LOT during the day talking to clients and partners. I also like to handle marketing myself (as much as I can) so I am always in touch with our technical team. I am very involved in the development of our new iPhone app, so going back and forth with the developers and programmers is an everyday thing. Usually I have 2-3 meetings every day. Sometimes they are at our office, but mostly I am on the road. As a small business owner, I consider myself as a “glorified salesperson”. Every day I try to get new leads and set up meetings with potential clients. Work never ends…Rob and I are working even when we’re not working. It is 11:30pm on a Friday night and I am just now getting to this questionnaire.
How do you think your major/program prepared you for the job you have now?
Dr. deGraff’s senior seminar really helped, especially when we did case studies. Studying real life dilemmas that company executives face every day gave me an insight on how to deal with issues when they come up. That class really fine-tuned my decision making skills. Professor Oxford’s business communication has been extremely helpful as well. YOU ATTITUDE!! Can’t get it out of my head…haha
How did you become interested in your field?
I owned an Import/Export business in high school which helped me establish relationships with manufacturers overseas. I was working at Men’s Wearhouse at the time to pay for that business as I was losing money left and right. I was good at selling suits and I have always wanted to build a brand that was recognized internationally. So in my freshman year of college, the idea of establishing a formal wear brand came to me. The bullet-resistant clothing line was a class project (Dr. deGraff’s class). We were asked to take a product overseas and figure out a full marketing/business plan for it. Since I already had a business, Dr. deGraff suggested that we take one of my products overseas and market it there. I wanted to introduce something in the Middle East, but wasn’t really excited about marketing regular suits there. Everybody already has suits… First thing that pops up in your head when you think of the Middle East is violence, so we decide to create a ballistic resistant suit.
What’s the best career advice you have ever received?
Your business plan and your company’s direction will change as you grow. Be flexible and accept that change. Because if you don’t change, you become Myspace.
Was there a professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you or helped you when you were at UMW?
Yes, all of my professors were really helpful. Especially these: Dr. deGraff. Professor Oxford. Dr. Creque. Professor Machande.
What’s your fondest memory of UMW?
There are so many! UMW gave me the best four years of my life. I really can’t pick one.
Why do you stay involved with the College of Business?
I am, where I am, because of this school. I am serious. Our bullet-resistant line that gave us so much publicity was established in Dr. deGraff’s class. I see so much potential here and I really want more entrepreneurs coming out of the COB.
How would your family or friends describe you in seven words or less?
What’s the single most important advice you’d like to give to current business students?
Success is not a destination; it’s a trait and a habit. Get in the habit of doing what you say you’re going to do. If you tell yourself that you’ll wake up at 6am, wake up at 6am. You’ll start your day off feeling successful.
Would you like to add anything else that we missed?
There is a book called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Make it a mandatory read.