On March 3, 2017, Kara Gordon, now a junior double majoring in supply chain management and marketing, attended the Social Enterprise Symposium (SES) in Van Munching Hall.
Hosted by the Smith School’s Center for Social Value Creation, SES takes place every year. For Kara, it served as an introduction to a new side of business that connected her interest in sustainability with her career goals in a way she had never previously envisioned.
Since coming to the Smith School, Kara has actively pursued several professional development opportunities. She interned at local technology startup Indiggo, where she honed skills in social media marketing and market research. Kara also secured an internship with Siemens Building Technologies as a procurement analyst. In that role, she learned about negotiating, helped implement eSourcing technology, and collaborated with other interns to organize a three-day executive conference.
Kara described this internship as her most meaningful professional experience because it gave her a greater level of confidence in her career path and brought clarity to her true passion areas: supply chain and sustainability.
“Before the internship [with Siemens], I had no real experience in supply chain,” Kara said. “I wasn't completely confident [about] what a career in this field would look like. But through that experience, I learned so much about supply chain, and saw how my interests in sustainability fit within it.”
Kara’s advice for undergraduates looking to align their profession with purpose is to “always stay open to new events and experiences, even if you aren’t sure exactly where they may lead you.”
“It's important to put yourself out there, and take advantage of all the resources UMD, Smith, and the Center for Social Value Creation have to offer,” Kara said.
After all, what brought Kara to the Social Enterprise Symposium in 2017 was course credit. But what she found was a meaningful resource, as well as a group of like-minded Smith students who gave her the encouragement to forge a path at the intersection of business, supply chain and sustainability.
“My only wish,” Kara explained, “is that I would have connected with the Center for Social Value Creation earlier on in my academic journey.”
Learn more about the Smith School's undergraduate program.