UWEC AMA Alumni Spotlight 

Taylor Allen

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

I give AMA a lot of credit for my success in my career so far.  I was very involved with the conferences that our chapter both attended and organized.  Because of that involvement I worked very closely with Enterprise, who is a sponsor for our chapter, which led to them recruiting me for an internship and hiring me full time.  By attending all of these events, I gained networking skills with different businesses and students from other schools.  I was elected onto the Executive Board for our chapter which gave me the chance to gain both leadership skills and communication skills with fellow classmates.  While I was leading the chapter, I also had to learn organizational skills and management skills if I was going to run a successful organization.  I found it was very important to have open communication with all of our Eboard and also transfer that to our entire organization.  I would say the last skill that I really developed with AMA was my ability to be welcoming and personable with all the new members. In order to grow the organization and keep the members excited and involved, it was very important for them to feel welcomed and that they had a place within our organization.  My number one goal was to always make the members feel like they had a valuable role and they felt supported by myself, our Eboard, and all of the other members of our chapter.

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

I would say that attending the Regional Conferences was very beneficial for my career.  It gave me a chance to really network with different business representatives and also students from different schools.  By attending these conferences it helped increase my confidence and ability to put myself out there when I am in a foreign environment.

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

The easiest way I was able to make connections through AMA was to attend every event that my chapter organized.  I attended every single event which allowed me to meet all of the students that were participating, and if there were sponsors attending I was also able to network with them as well.  Really just pushing myself to volunteer within the organization and participate helped my immensely.

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

If I were to do one thing differently it would have been to push myself to compete more.  I was always so focused on managing our conferences and making sure our students where in the right places I did not make time to compete. I think if I would have pushed myself to set aside time and prep for the competitions, I would have been able to gain a wider skillset which could have helped me when entering the workforce.

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

I think one of the most valuable skills that job candidates can have is interpersonal communication skills.   In the business world you have to be able to communicate with your team and your customers.  There is nothing more frustrating than working with a coworker that is not capable of communicating efficiently.  You can be the most qualified person in the world, but if you are unable to communicate well with others and build rapport and relationships you could be looked over as a candidate.  

Vanessa Nielsen

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

 AMA provided me with the tools to be a problem solver and how to approach a difficult case study. During my time on the case team, I learned how to look at problems in multiple different ways and collaborate with people who had different opinions.

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 During my time in AMA I did not attend any events, but one of the most beneficial AMA element to me was being on the case team.

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

 The easiest way I made connections was talking to other employees in different departments during my internships. I would set up informational interviews with people that I found their job to be interesting (not just marketing employees)!

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 If I could go back I would have participated in more conferences.

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 I think some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for are someone with drive, a great personality, and someone who acts professional.

MaryKate Sauer

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

Networking is one of the top skills that I gained throughout my time with the organization. Not a day goes by that I don’t use it – whether its for my personal  or my professional life.

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

Conferences like Whitewater’s, our own, and Nationals were super beneficial to my business career. Conferences were a great way to learn about local or corporate opportunities for you. Also a great way to improve upon your elevator pitch, your sales cycle, or how to work on a digital marketing project.

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

  • Inside our chapter- attend as many conference, socials, and meetings as possible and try to meet someone new each time.

  • Outside our chapter- Find a networking buddy and introduce yourself to another group of students doing that same competition or sitting at the table next to you at lunch. I still talk to many of my friends from Whitewater and Lacrosse.

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 I was very involved from Freshman through Senior year, but I wish I would have held two different E-Board positions to boarded my horizons.

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 Some of the top skills that many companies are looking for in new hires include adaptability and multitasking. Adaptability means different things in every company, but in my role it means switching selling styles if my original way didn’t work for my customers. It could also mean focusing on the items that matter to the customer. If your company isn’t adapting to the changes – they are losing out on new business. In addition, multitasking is an incredible skill to acquire. I am constantly balancing phone calls, emails, quoting products, and meetings. You need to be able to multitask if you want to be in sales.

Lee Peterson

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

 Networking

 Basic Sales Knowledge

 Effective Communication

 General Understanding of Business

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 Attending all the conferences

  • These were most beneficial because it gave me a chance to show sponsors at the conferences my potential which helped open doors for my career.

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

 The easiest way I made connections was, whenever I went to a career conference, I would force myself to talk to at least 5 recruiters. It was awkward but it gave me the confidence I needed to pursue job opportunities I was truly interested in.

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 I would have tried to incorporate some sort of sales training. Ideally it would give members who are sales majors and non-sales majors with a basic understanding of a valuable skill like sales. The trouble with sales training at UWEC is students don't get taught how to sell until junior year which leaves freshman and sophomores in the dark about sales and whether or not that career path is right for them.

 

 I would have also created a "Prepare You for the  Real World Course." What I mean by this is after I graduated and entered the corporate world I felt unprepared in terms of life. An example would be teaching things like: (budgeting, 401k's, Company Matches, Roth IRA's, Planning for Retirement, Health Insurance, Health Savings Accounts, Car Insurance, Renting, Disability Insurance, Emergency funds, Investing, etc…)

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 The big thing that I have noticed from my employer is they look for things like:

  • Coachability (can take constructive feedback and implement it)

  • Driven (does not need someone to push them but rather have a personal driver making them succeed)

  • Adapt to unexpected (if a problem occurs or you are given a curveball, can you think on your feet and act effectively)

Charlie Seffinga

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

  AMA provided me with many different valuable life skills, especially patience and teamwork. I was able to learn and grow through teamwork, and was able to practice patience by understanding that the most valuable asset a team has is multiple different minds thinking and working in their own ways toward one common goal.

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 

 I benefitted most from Conferences. The #1 most valuable statement you will hear is “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”. Competing at conferences is a perfect example of something everyone finds uncomfortable – but through practice and coaching I was able to succeed and become comfortable in those settings.

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

 The easiest way I made connections was through Networking with businesses and competing against the same few people at most conferences.

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?


 If I could go back and redo anything, I would have built more relationships. I made many connections through AMA and my involvement with E-Board, but I think I could have benefitted immensely by reaching out to even more AMA individuals.

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 Businesses want people who stand out in a crowd. Whether it be in an interview, a competition, or even simple conversation – they want to remember you. Standing out, if done correctly, is extremely beneficial. Be memorable. Another important aspect is what drives you and what you are passionate about. Know your WHY in life, business, and everything you do.

Austin Samsa

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

 Throughout your 4 years in AMA, you slowly build a repertoire of skills that allow you to excel past your peers. For me, I became detail-oriented, value-focused, and forward-thinking which are three things I’ll carry for the rest of my career. From a leadership perspective, I understood how to influence others; but more importantly, step aside when not needed.

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

Every regional conference will play a role in shaping you as a business professional. However, I think a lot of alumni will agree Nationals in New Orleans is the most impactful; and the most fun. I thought the keynote speakers were world-class and the competitions were well-run.

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

Try to attend as many events as possible and always find a way to follow up via email or LinkedIn. If you’re going to a conference, keep a business card or resume on you at all times.

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 I would have tried to be more heavily involved freshman year.

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

Driven

Coachable

Confidence

Time Management

Interpersonal Communication Skills

Clock Speed (how agile are you in difficult situations)

Sam Nechkash

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

Being president of Eau Claire’s AMA colligate chapter has taught me the value of uniting people to achieve a common vision. Reflecting on my presidency, I’ve learned that success is not something you can claim as your own, but rather as a team. The ability to collaborate, listen, and expand off your peers thoughts and ideas helps you stand out and be a successful business professional.

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

Attend any/all AMA regional/national conferences. It is a great way to network with peers and business professionals who are willing to share their advice on how to succeed. Those who take advantage of these conferences land network contacts, internships, and even jobs. It also gives you an opportunity to travel with and get to know members in your own chapter. 

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone by joining AMA. I didn’t know anyone when I became a member. Because everyone in the org has the same goals of success and growth it was the perfect environment for me to become involved in. By attending socials and events I found where my professional strengths are, expanded my network, and through collaboration on projects I became close with members from our chapter.

 

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

For anyone in a leadership position there is always a list of things you wish you did differently or could keep working on. During my time as president, I wish I could have spent more time with general members. However, I had to focus majority of my time on the structure of the organization, national AMA affairs, and working on implementing new changes. Those I did spend time with, I hope I made an impact in their academic and professional experience.

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

Applicable, real world experience. Employers are looking for your involvement outside of the classroom. Almost everyone today has a college degree. You have to get involved and make yourself stand out. Add things to your resume you are proud of and are excited to talk about in an interview.

 

 

 

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

Confidence
Problem-solving
Time management
Leadership
Collaboration
Sales
Negotiating
Compromise

 

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 

All conferences, All social events

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

 

Conferences and speakers

 

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 

Join my freshman year  

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 

Do anything sales you can. It's the greatest skill you can gain.

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

I learned a great deal during my time in AMA, some simple like how to write better emails, or strike up conversations with people you don't know. There were also big things like cover letters and resume that the university might not work directly with you on, but your AMA family will.

 

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 

Conferences 

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

 

Just talk to people and find common ground, if you get the conversation started the rest will happen naturally

 

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 

I'd never procrastinate... but really start the chapter plan and report early. Get everything for fun run finalized a few days before: the hundreds of little things sometimes takes a ton of time. Same goes for the conference.

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 

Be able to talk, it's something that seems simple but often times employers are looking more at how you carry yourself and speak than the answers you actually give. They don't expect you to know much about the job you're interviewing for, they just want someone trainable who can learn the job

Jeff Skaer
Grace Singer
Erin Delaney

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

Networking
Professionalism
Time management
Looking good #suits4dayz

 

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 

Conferences

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

 

Conferences
Tours
Events we hosted such as Fun Run, Regional Conference

 

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 

I would've gone to EVERYTHING - seriously all of it  

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 

Drive 
Honesty
Ability to manage yoself
Charm - it'll get you places

Derek Baker

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

How to network, how to be a leader, how to manage my time

 

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 

National Conference, our Regional Conference

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

Go to all events possible, talk to as many companies as possible, always follow up day after meeting them with email or LinkedIn request.

 

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 

Nope. 

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 

Involvement, Leadership roles, the courage to be bold or be different to stand out.

Phil Dickinson
 
 

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

Networking is the number one skill that AMA provided. Both in learning how to best network with others, but by providing opportunities to practice.

More of wide range set of skills, but being able to work on all the various events that AMA does gave me exposure to a lot of different tasks that I would never have done otherwise.

 

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 

Conferences. Getting to meet with business professionals and compete in front of them allowed me to show off my skill set. More specifically, planning the UWEC AMA Conference was even more beneficial because we were able to work more extensively with companies participating in the conference. 

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

 

AMA meetings were a great way to meet with a lot of employers.

 

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 

Gotten involved sooner and more heavily. 

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 

The ability to adapt to situations, jobs, etc. Because more than likely you will be asked to do something you don't want to or that you don't think you are qualified for. 

Amy Bruzda
 
 
 

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

AMA provided me with real experience in written, verbal and social communications. AMA also provided the opportunity to work with real campaigns which helped me learn how to manage multiple deadlines, goals, tactics and strategic plans. 

 

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 

AMA Fun Run was an event that shaped my career. The marketing, advertising and public relations surrounding that event managed to give me the experience I needed to find my first job. The Fun Run was my first experience with a promotional event and it taught me more than any of my classes. Trial and error is a fact of life, especially in marketing. Learning how to adapt tactics that were not delivering measurable results was a crucial skill to learn for my career. 

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

 

Being the VP of Communications allowed me the opportunity to stay in contact with our speakers. That was a huge help. Also attending every event helped me meet a variety of other students who are now successful in there careers. Those connections pay off. Everyone you meet in school is a connection in the workplace. 

 

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 

I would have applied for a VP position earlier. 

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 

Be confident. If you believe in yourself, your employer and colleagues will believe in you. Also respect that someone is giving you their time. Sending a thank you letter and going the extra mile will get you noticed. They didn't need to take time to talk to you or interview you. Be grateful, it goes a long way. 

Nate Guralski
- Attended UWEC 2011 - 2015
- Field Sales Representative Trainee at Graco
 
 

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

AMA provided me the ability to learn and fine tune my leadership skills and business networking abilities

 

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 

National Conference in New Orleans

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

 

Easiest ways I made connections was through introductions after general meetings, conferences, and reaching out to UWEC AMA alumni.

 

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 

I would have tried to develop a better program for setting up internships for other students.

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 

Personality, communications skills, networking skills, responsibility and time management.

 

Matt Havlicheck

- Attended UWEC 2009 - 2015

Sales and Marketing Representative at Beamaco Manitowoc, Wisconsin

 

1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

 

AMA provided me with interpersonal skills, research skills, sales experience, self-confidence, time management, teamwork, delegation, problem solving, compromise, and an overall sense of professionalism.

 

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

 

Planning and attending regional conferences. Also, tours of companies with time for questions and answers with executives.

 

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

 

I usually made connections at the Career fair and regional conferences.

 

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

 

I wish I would have gotten involved sooner, when my schedule wasn't so hectic.

 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

 

They look for an employee who is self motivated, driven, and willing to learn. Also the capacity to be able to do a lot of different things and be responsible for them.

 

Kim Lemke

- Attended UWEC 1988 -1993

- Employed at Days Bowl-A-Dome 1988-2011

- President of Kim's BS Sauce 2011- present

1. What has been your biggest challenge thus far in your career?

 

 My biggest challenge up to this point in my career has been creating a footprint for my product in a very competitive market.

 

2. What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

 

 I have always had the desire to make decisions & call the shots.  

 

3. How do you successfully manage a work/life balance?

 

 This one is very difficult because my employees are all my family members.  Work hard & we play harder!!

 

4. Do you have a role model that inspired you to get where you are today?

 

My deceased Father keeps my driving to succeed.  He always told me, "Everybody has a 100+ good ideas, but you are lucky if you have just one Great idea."  He told me to make sure if I was ever blessed with that one great idea, I needed to see it through.  We as a family are doing just that.

 

5. What is one piece of advice you would give to college students today? 

 

If you think you have a great idea, product, or service don't let it go to waste.  Take that step as scary as it may be & bring that idea to the public. You just never know till you take that first step to being an entrepreneur.

 

To learn more about Kim's business and website visit: http://www.kimsbssauce.com/

 1. What skills did AMA provide for you, that you still use today?

  • AMA taught me important 

  • Presenting skills, writing skills

  • Learning how to network

  • Being an effective team player

  • Working to make deadlines…. special S/O to case team

2. What AMA events were most beneficial to your business career?

I enjoyed going to Whitewater and Aurora’s regional conference. This gave me the opportunity to connect with other students and companies. I was able to compete in new competitions that taught me new skills and challenged me.

3. What were the easiest ways you made connections?

Find someone in AMA to buddy up with for the career conference and talk with employers. Keeping up with your LinkedIn and adding connections that you spoke with at conferences and speakers you listened to.

4. Is there anything you would’ve done differently in AMA, if you could go back and do so?

I didn’t join AMA until halfway through my Sophomore year. One thing I would go back and change would be to start being more social sooner. At the time of joining I had a few friends already in the organization so I stayed pretty close with them and didn’t allow myself to get to know anyone else until later on (Thanks NOLA). The people I met in AMA turned out to make some really great friends and are people I was able to learn new things from. 

5. What are some of the most valuable aspects businesses look for in employees?

  • Openness to learn and listen - going into an entry level job your manager doesn’t expect you to know how to do everything. As long as you are open to learn new skills and absorb the knowledge you will do great!

  • Showing and expressing that you are a good fit for the company’s work culture and environment - before an interview I highly suggest looking up a company’s work culture!

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White LinkedIn Icon

 Last Revised © June 24th, 2020 by UWEC AMA Chapter.  Proudly created with Wix.com