Avon Network At Work
We’ve all heard it: internships are key. It’s a foot in the door and a proven way to gain skills, experience, and build your network. Some universities make it a requirement for graduation. Even more important, internships can help a person realize what he wants (or maybe doesn’t want) to do with his career.
So, how do you land the prized internship? At Avon, we’re working to connect alumni and students with common interests to get the conversation started. One such example is an upcoming internship between alumnus Alejandro Laplana ’07 and soon-to-be graduate Taylor Stolworthy ’19.
“It started when I connected with Luke Archambault from Avon’s alumni office at a recent event in New York,” began Alejandro. “We talked about what I have been doing with my career, and he expressed an interesting in having me visit campus to speak to a few classes about my company and my career path. So, I visited campus earlier this year, and spoke in back-to-back classes one morning until lunch—one being the mobile app development course.”
After the bell rang and students and faculty alike began making their way to the Refectory, Taylor approached Alejandro with an app he had been working in on class: a fan app for Formula 1 racing.
“It was extremely interesting because my company is actively working with a Formula 1 driver as a client to build an app, so I invited Taylor to come down to our office in Miami and learn more about what we were doing.”
So, Taylor did just that. Over Avon’s spring break he and his family traveled to Florida. During the trip, Taylor and his father went to Alejandro’s office.
“We went to the Two Way Sports office in Brickell City Centre, but instead of an interview or anything like that, I was really excited about what happened next.”
TwoWay is empowering the entertainment industry to regain ownership of fan engagement through the use of proprietary, cutting-edge interactive social apps. Alejandro, as someone on the business development side of the company (as opposed to being one of the coders and engineers who make the idea come to life in your hands), took Taylor along to some of his meetings for the day.
“I’m really about experiential learning, so while I did walk Taylor on a tour and introduced him to some of the staff, I also had him sit in on my meetings so he could see what the business side of app development looks like. I could tell from meeting him at Avon that Taylor is a talented tinkerer who wants to figure out how to make the code work, which is terrific. But, I hope that this internship opportunity will also show him some other aspects of a business that might inspire him, or not. He will be able to tell very quickly if the fast-paced front-end of business is something that excites him, or if the back-side of the company where our 150 programmers make the technology work is where he wants to be.”
For Alejandro, his background isn’t in programming and engineering code—he attended Syracuse University where he earned his BA in economics and international relations before moving on to New York University where he received a Masters in executive management of technology.
“When I visited Avon, I spoke to the students about how I began in sports marketing and sports business and how it related to technology,” explained Alejandro. “I was able to spot an opportunity arise in South America early on with the Columbia national soccer team. We eventually expanded into the entertainment industry with Telemundo, HBO, and Fox Sports.”
The take-home message for today’s students is that having the skills set is one thing, but having the confidence and opportunity to make moves is another important part of the journey.
“I believe in delivering a product that makes sense and cater to an audience’s wants and needs,” Alejandro said. “Students today are lucky to have such advanced classes available at the high-school level. They’re getting a chance at a head start. And so, gaining valuable internships and insights early on is becoming more important than ever. I want to inspire students to take the lead.”
Taylor sees the value in leveraging the alumni network, too.
“Meeting with alumni, faculty, and their networks have given me some really memorable earning opportunities during my time at Avon,” shared Taylor. “Meeting Mr. Laplana is one great example; our Intersession courses are other great examples. In the sports journalism intersession class, Mr. Rothmann and Mr. Hunkele networked to get us to meet Emmy Award-winning journalists and the owner of Fenway Park. Senora Bartkiewicz’s husband has come into class to talk about app development and showed us the potential of turning an app into a money-making business. In theater, we’ve done workshops with actors who were a part of the original Broadway cast of A Chorus Line.”
These are the opportunities Avon wants to continue.
“I always found that Avon was a real community, even though I was only a student for one year,” he shared. “Where a lot of places are 98% focused on getting accepted to college—which makes sense because it’s the natural progression—I’m happy to be a part of this partnership between alumni and students. It’s always good to take a step back and look at the big picture every once in a while, and I think internships are a good way to do that.”
If you or your company would like to explore an internship opportunity with Avon students, or if you’d be able to come and give a presentation to a few classes, we would love to hear from you! Please contact Luke Archambault, Alumni Engagement Coordinator.