Cara Kelly ’15

            1.  What was your major/minor and when did you graduate?

I graduated from UMW in May 2015 with a degree in Business Administration.

  1. What is your current position (title, company, location)?  Can you describe a typical day?

As of December 2018, I am a Contract Specialist for Navy Federal Credit Union in Vienna, VA. A typical day includes checking my email, responding to urgent requests, interfacing with vendors and business groups within the credit union, assisting accounts payable with invoicing questions, requesting quotes from vendors, and asking questions and learning through on the job training since I’m still relatively new in this position.

  1. How did your major prepare you for your current job?

My major helped me prepare for my current job by teaching me effective business communication skills, how to prioritize tasks to meet deadlines, and how to work effectively as a team.

  1. How did you become interested in your field?

I became interested in my field during my sophomore year when I learned about careers in contracting with the Department of Defense (DoD). My junior and senior years, I took federal contracting classes through the College of Business that gave me insight into the career of a contracting officer with the Department of the Navy. I liked the idea of supporting military members through contracting for the supplies and services they need. Now, at Navy Federal Credit Union, I have the honor of serving our members, who include all branches of the armed forces, the DoD, veterans, and their families.

  1. What’s the best career advice you ever received?

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new, even if it’s uncomfortable at first.  You can either be comfortable and stagnate or stretch yourself, become uncomfortable, and grow.

  1. Was there a professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you or helped you when you were at UMW?

Three stand-out professors (and classes) at UMW included Professor Strassheim’s Finance class, Professor Oxford’s Business Communication class, and Professor Machande’s Accounting classes. Each professor (and class) presented me with a challenge and I was able to learn and grow from each of them.

  1. What’s your fondest memory of UMW?

Living right down the hall or across the street from close friends. The convenient social community of college was the best. I wish we could all just move into one big subdivision!

  1. Are there any special accomplishments you’ve achieved after college that you’d like to share?

I’m proud to have successfully recruited many UMW alumni and friends to work for Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, VA. I found joy in helping others get started in a new career. I’m also proud to have made the hard decision to leave my first job out of college (at Marine Corps Systems Command) and pursue a career at Navy Federal Credit Union in order to gain new experience in my field.

  1. How would your family or friends describe you in seven words or less?

My family and friends would describe me as passionate, driven, goal-oriented, and thoughtful.

  1. In one sentence, what advice would you give current business students?

Don’t underestimate the importance of real-world work experience, whether it be through volunteering, internships, or part-time jobs. This not only helps you figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are, but also helps you find what you’re interested in and truly enjoy doing. I’ve talked to many others on this subject and a degree isn’t always the determining factor of whether or not you get the job. Experience is key.