Home Alumni in Action Paying Your Enactus Experience Forward

Julie Michel
Hilbert College, 2001
B.S. Business Administration

If you draw on your Enactus experience, you will adapt well.

“Typically when you are in college, you go with the flow, attend classes and get involved in some extracurricular activities. But when you join an Enactus team, you gain a totally different perspective,” says Julie. “Enactus became a part of me. It helped me develop the real-life business experience necessary to become a well-rounded person and get a good job. It provides challenges that add skills, values and character. It’s because of Enactus that I have my career. “

A Trade Settlement Manager for Rich Products Corporation (Buffalo, NY), Julie started her career in 2001 as an intern for the In-Store Bakery (ISB) division. In the same year, after graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Hilbert College (Hamburg, NY), she was hired as an Associate Sales Analyst within the Food Service Division. She was responsible for tracking sales and special programs like incentive programs, and supporting the sales force. In 2012 Julie accepted her current position, where she facilitates managing trade settlements (disbursements and customer deduction transactions for the Foodservice, ISB and Canadian divisions.

“I learned about Rich Products through my Enactus experience. In my senior year at Hilbert College, my professor started an Enactus program. I served as the inaugural president and on the presentation team. I was searching for a meaningful speaker for a community event and approached Bob Rich, Jr., the company chairman. He accepted our invitation, became familiar with our team, and I learned about the company. Eventually I was invited to intern there.”

Rich Products Corporation is a leading supplier and solutions provider to the foodservice, in-store bakery and retail marketplace. Fortified by three generations of family leadership, more than 9,000 associates live by The Rich Promise: We will treat our customers, our associates and our communities the same way. Like family. “Rich’s is a family company in every way,” says Julie. “When you walk down the hall, everyone says hello and smiles. We even treat customers like family. It’s an open and friendly environment that has a supportive culture.

“I feel blessed that with Rich’s support, I can still be part of Enactus. I continue to support the local colleges and universities in western New York by inviting them to Rich’s to practice their competition presentation, so we can offer feedback to help them be better prepared.

“Through the projects we create and the presentations we give, Enactus members develop skills that are critical on the job. I gained communication skills, confidence and the ability to see the big picture. Students might be able to get an internship, but the average student can’t get the leadership experience that you do through Enactus. In a few weeks, I have to travel to a sales meeting and conduct a training seminar. I have to outline my presentation, prepare an agenda, and then lead the session. I’m not sure that I would have the same level of confidence without the presentation experience I gained from Enactus. Today I manage six people, and even though I never studied to become a project manager, having participated in Enactus, I felt prepared to manage people and projects.

“Because I got that chance, I feel responsible to extend the opportunity to others to learn to lead. I encourage others in my group to manage aspects of our projects. And I push them a little outside of their comfort zones if needed; it gives them the opportunity to see that they have the ability to lead, and that builds confidence.”

My Insights:

Always keep a piece of Enactus inside yourself, and carry that confidence with you. Draw on what you learned and reflect it in everything you do personally and professionally. You have the responsibility to pay what you learned forward. You can judge at a regional competition, become a business advisory board member, help out on a project, host a local team, be a mentor or hire an intern. I know I will always be thankful for Enactus. I feel like I was rewarded and benefitted from that experience, and now it’s my turn to give that back.

My advice for students who are just entering the workforce is not to be afraid to admit you don’t know everything about the job. Just give it one hundred percent and, if you draw on your Enactus experience, you will adapt well. Always be honest, carry yourself professionally, communicate clearly and show your drive and desire to succeed. And if you are still looking for that first job or internship, be patient and persevere. You will be discovered, and you will find that perfect match!