How I got here: Theatre Major to Orr Fellowship

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How I got here: Theatre Major to Orr Fellowship
September 10, 2018 by Mario Formica

I’m on the floor, rolling on my back. Forwards then backwards. I gain momentum with each roll. The music begins to swell and the energy in the room grows intense. Faster, faster. I feel each vertebrae bend and hit the floor. The moment is approaching. Whoosh! With one ecstatic, giant roll I jump to my feet. Blood rushes to my head and I stagger to find my footing. Fight the urge to think. Act on impulse. I start shouting and get on my knees. While crawling around I interact with others, noting the invisible grid, the lines, my peers and I have imagined on the floor. My professor claps their hands. We stop.

This was a normal day in one of the acting classes I took as a theatre major at Miami University. It is very different than my normal day now as a customer relations specialist. So, how did I end up in Indianapolis, working for an integrated online retail company, as an Orr Fellow? Great question.

Throughout college I took a wide range of classes. Along with my theatre studies, I also chose to take courses in microbiology, history, music, and business. My interests were wide and that was reflected in my career aspirations. I went from wanting to be an actor, to a teacher, to a writer, to a producer. Suddenly, senior year snuck up on me.

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Fall semester of my senior year, I enrolled in an introduction to entrepreneurship class. On the first day we were placed in small groups. The objective of the course was to find a common problem among a group of people, research the problem, and create a solution. All semester, my team members and I collaborated to build a business model from the ground up. I found this facet of business exhilarating. This course introduced me to my love of entrepreneurship and the fast-paced environment of working in a small business.

Sometime in the middle of the semester I realized two things. One, I had a plethora of interests I wanted to explore. And second, I thrived in situations where I was able to collaborate with a diverse group of people. That’s when I learned about Orr Fellowship.

A current fellow who had studied art in college came and gave an in class presentation on Orr. It was the first time I had heard of the fellowship. I learned the mission statement, “To develop the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs,” and made a note in my planner to follow up for more information.

The next day I met with other Fellows at the university-sponsored career fair. I distinctly remember one of them saying, “It sounds like you’re interested in a role that is like nothing you’ve ever done and one that challenges you. And it sounds like you’re looking for a community of people you can learn and grow with after college. That’s what I’ve found through Orr.” I immediately went home and applied.

Fast forward to now. I just celebrated two months at my host company, SupplyKick. You might be wondering, how does a degree in theatre prepare you to work at a tech company? Although we aren’t rehearsing Laban movements on the floor, the skills I learned through studying theatre have transferred to the work I do in customer relations. Teamwork is vital. Nothing can be accomplished if there isn’t open communication between teams, especially at a company with only 37 people. I utilize my creative skills daily, whether that’s strategizing how to increase positive product reviews or collaborating with others on various projects.

Throughout this professional journey I’ve learned so much about who I am, the way I work, and what I’m passionate about. All of this has happened in a short two months. I am proud to be an Orr Fellow because it means I care about the community I live in, that I challenge myself to learn something new every day, and I am surrounded by 120 other intelligent, tenacious Fellows who I now consider family.

Back to the Blog

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