RaceTrac Kicks Off Fall All-Access Business Series
KENNESAW, Ga. (Sep 25, 2018) — Three members of the RaceTrac leadership team visited campus earlier this month to help kick off the Fall 2018 All-Access Business Series.
Speaking to an auditorium of undergraduate business students on Sept. 5, Dayna Reed, executive director of reporting and insights; Jon Rier, executive director of financial planning and analysis; and Judith Bishop, supply chain continuous improvement manager, each shared personal stories about how they came to work for the $9 billion company. They also offered students advice for seizing opportunities in their own careers.
Left to Right: John Rier, Dayna Reed, and Judith Bishop with RaceTrac
“Experience is everything,” said Bishop, a Kennesaw State University alumna.
Bishop was a senior in the industrial engineering technology program when she received an offer to work part time as an industrial engineering assistant with The TJX Companies. She says the experience was critical to setting her on her current path, and encourages all undergraduates to pursue internships or part-time jobs in their chosen fields.
“Take advantage of internships and part-time jobs, even entry level,” she says. “If you want to be a restauranteur, take a job as a waiter so you can see what the day-to-day is. It’s amazing to see how you can grow in these positions with a positive attitude.”
The RaceTrac visitors also stressed the important role networking plays when starting a new career.
In 2002, Reed was two weeks away from graduating from Clemson University and had not yet found a job. She spoke to one of her marketing professors who knew of a paid marketing internship at the University of Massachusetts. Reed interviewed for the position and began a career in marketing and brand management that ultimately led her to RaceTrac.
“That one conversation with my professor two weeks before graduation set me on a trajectory for my entire career,” she said. “I can never repay him for what he did. He picked up the phone and helped get me a job.”
In addition to sharing their career stories, the guests also described the qualities that RaceTrac looks for in new hires.
“What I’m looking for is critical thinking,” says Rier. “I’m not expecting you to have the same level of experience as someone who has been working for X number of years, but I do want to see how you think through problems. If I’m interviewing you, be prepared to answer some weird questions. I want to see how your mind works.”
For Bishop, it is critical that interviewees demonstrate how their previous educational or work experience relates to the job, even if that relationship is not inherently obvious.
“You have to be able to connect the dots,” she says. “Entry level graduates often come to me with limited experience, but they should be able to talk about how they dealt with conflicts between their coworkers, or how they turned conflicts with customers into customer service experiences.”
The All-Access Business Series is organized by the Robin & Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center to provide students in the Michael J. Coles College of Business with opportunities to interact with major Atlanta-area employers. Each All-Access event includes a formal presentation followed by a networking reception between students and guests. All-Access events are held Wednesday afternoons in Burruss Building Room 151 throughout the academic year.
RaceTrac’s visit was the first in a packed schedule of Fall 2018 All-Access events. Other companies slated to appear during the fall include Target, Walgreen’s, Enterprise, Sherwin Williams, and more.
Joey Ruse, program coordinator with the Shore Entrepreneurship Center, urged students to attend multiple All-Access events during the semester to take full advantage of the experience.
“These are wonderful opportunities to connect and learn from businesspeople who have been where you are,” he says, “and who are achieving the things that you are striving to achieve as well.”