Give us your “elevator pitch” (What you do, who you are, where you’re from).
I am a charismatic and motivated Millennial who is taking on life by fulfilling my own definition of what “success” means to me. I was born in California, raised in Pennsylvania, and I now gratefully call Oregon my home. I am an Oregon State University proud alumni that graduated with a major in Speech Communication, and minor in Business and Entrepreneurship. I was hired by a large corporation to start my first post-graduate career in the Spring before I graduated. After two years with that company, I decided to advance my career by accepting a new position with a family-owned company called PakTech. I have taken on a Sales and Customer Service position in which I oversee each project (new, or existing) from prototype to production phase. I also facilitate communication between each department, and work with key department heads to ensure that projects are completed and tasks are accomplished. I feel fortunate to work for a company that truly values it's employees and allows us the freedom to contribute our thoughts, and grow in our careers. After graduating from college, I realized that tackling finances in the real world was quite difficult. Outside of work, I create content for my blog called Generation YRA: a Millennial's Guide to Securing a Strong Financial Present and Future. I take on explaining financial concepts and terms in-depth with a dash of quirkiness to allow Millennial's to learn and feel empowered about their personal finances. If I am not in the office or creating content for my blog, you can find me running (I am currently training for a half marathon!), reading, dancing, cooking, enjoying a cold pint (of kombucha, craft beer, iced coffee), or spending time with my wonderful family, friends, and fiancé!
If you could spend one day with any famous person (past or present), who would it be?
I would absolutely be fascinated if I could spend a day with Henry David Thoreau. I have always been in awe by Walden and I consistently think about the underlying themes of his writings. With the technological landscape growing at a rapid pace in society today, we are finding more ways to become interconnected. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love technology, but I have this deep curiosity of what it would be like to entirely disconnect. I would ask Thoreau questions about the time he spent at Walden Pond, and how one could accomplish what he learned in this day and age.
Do you feel college and post grad education is essential for success? Why or why not?
I feel that college and post-grad education is important, but not entirely vital. Obviously, there are multiple industries where it is mandatory to have a degree (law, medical field, etc.). There are also many industries/professions that value potential for growth and whether someone can be trained, rather than just a degree. Many would argue that college and post-grad education will facilitate your application process for different jobs, while others will argue that experience trumps education. It is quite a difficult debate. Through my experience, having the degree was one thing, but how I maximized that degree through my college years spoke volumes about my success (i.e. internships, clubs/organizations, volunteering). I also feel that success does not have to stop right at the institution phase. People create their success by continuing to educate themselves, through networking, and by also gaining hands-on experience. To summarize: yes, I do feel college and post-grad education can aid in success, but I do not feel it is absolutely vital. There are a multitude of individuals who did not attend, or finish college that are incredibly successful (i.e. Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg).
What’s your favorite book?
This is a difficult question for me because I love to read (from personal finance, to fiction, non-fiction, self-help, and everything in between)! If I had to pick just one, I would select my favorite book as Life of Pi. I would choose this book because I was reading it on an airplane flight and one of the flight attendants noticed I was reading it and expressed excitement. At the end of the flight, that attendant gave me a personally hand-written letter (one of my absolute favorite forms of communication). She said to me, “It's important you don't open this until after you finish reading the book. Enjoy!” After I completed the book I opened the letter and it had a series of thought provoking questions that the flight attendant learned from her book club (they read Life of Pi as well). I hold this book near and dear to me because I think sharing books with one another is what makes reading so wonderful and powerful. One book can touch multiple lives in different ways.
What causes or organizations are your passionate about?
I am passionate about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Five years ago my dad passed away from pancreatic cancer and it turned my family's world upside down. As one of the most deadliest cancers, it is also sadly one of the most underfunded in terms of research funding. Although my contributions may be just minor right now (donations and participating in events), every bit helps to ensure that this cancer can receive more funding for research efforts. It would be phenomenal to see the statistics of survivors from this cancer increase during my lifetime.
What’s your favorite quote?
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl
Describe your dream vacation.
I grew up going on vacations with my family to Disney World (as a side note, I worked for RadioDisney for 6 years, too)! I would have to say my dream vacation will always be the answer of visiting one of my favorites, Mickey Mouse. There is a plethora of fond memories I hold from going to Disney World, and not to mention the food is absolutely sensational! Getting that vitamin D from the Florida sunshine, experiencing a thrilling thunder storm in the afternoon, and exceptional customer service all around the resort. All of that is definitely what I would hope my dream vacation would envelop!
Where do you see yourself in 25 years?
In 25 years I see myself obtaining my self-defined version of success and happiness. I will find myself feeling financially secure and well established in my career of choice. I intend to remain active physically, mentally and emotionally. I can see myself surrounded by lots of books, a supportive community, and a wonderful equilibrium of time spent in my career growth as well as with my loving family. My (then) husband Andrew and I may also be carrying out our dream of a business plan that's been in the works for quite some time now. Oh, and I am sure we will have some lovely kids & dog(s) in tow as well!
What’s currently on your radar? Tell us about your latest project.
My latest project is building my Generation YRA blog! It has been an incredibly enriching experience that has allowed me to network with a wide array of inspiring individuals. It takes reading, research, and learning but the payoff has been immense. With only a couple of months since it's fruition, I intend to focus on the growth of creating a community where Millennial's can feel welcome to learn about personal finances and how to utilize money as a tool with confidence. I have also started a video log series at Generation YRA called the “FiveNance Dance.” It's a 5 minute video each week that breaks down a financial concept with an incorporated dance move...it's new & definitely something that people would not expect. Personal finance and dance, who would have thought?
Any advice for recent college grads?
Do not be afraid to take on life with curiosity and vivaciousness! Never lose that innate quality to want to learn more. If there is an opportunity to learn, take every approach to do so. Many people you may encounter in life have decided to stop learning once they were finished with school. You will always maintain an edge in the real world if you continue to educate yourself. Attempt as much as you can to not compare yourself to others. Each one of us is on our own journey to success in which we will define/accomplish in varying ways. Expand your network, connect with others, and continue to harness your excitement for growth. I guarantee that each experience (positive or negative) is an opportunity to better yourself as an individual. You've got it, I know you do!
Connect with Alyssa:
Be sure to check out Alyssa's phenomenal website: www.generationYRA.com and connect with her on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alyssawindell . Additionally, you can follow Alyssa on Twitter & Instagram @lyssawindell
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