We’ve all heard the saying, "It’s not what you know, it’s who you know."
And it still rings true. Career advancement requires skills and smarts, but hiring managers can’t always see those qualities on résumés.
That’s where your Warrington network can make a difference. There are more than 65,000 Warrington alumni throughout the world eager to help you fulfill your career aspirations.
Here are a few stories of Warrington connections that led to career success.
Chase Daniel (MSE ’12) had already graduated from the Thomas S. Johnson Master of Science in Entrepreneurship Program when Wylie Nagler (BSBA ’89), Owner and President of Yellowfin Yachts in Sarasota, came to speak at Warrington.
But because of Daniel’s interest and background in fishing and boating—and a timely heads up from Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center Director Jamie Kraft—Daniel made sure to attend Nagler’s talk.
That meeting has had an indelible impact on Daniel’s career.
Daniel, 29, introduced himself to Nagler via email, and visited with Nagler after his talk to receive feedback on his own entrepreneurial venture. About six months later—around the time Daniel was preparing to enter the U.S. Marines Corps—he reconnected with Nagler, who offered him a job at Yellowfin despite not having an immediate opening.
“We made room for him,” Nagler said. “I’ll make room for the right individual. In today’s world, finding quality people is really challenging. I was always impressed with him, and I thought he would really fit in well in our culture.”
“I very well could be in the Marines right now,” Daniel said. “The chance to build these high-quality performance boats was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s a blessing, and Wylie’s become a great mentor.”
After three years at Yellowfin, Daniel is the company’s Offshore Production Manager where he oversees about half of Yellowfin’s 200 employees. And it all started with that one friendly email.
“There’s value in every situation you have an opportunity to be a part of,” Daniel said. “You can always learn something from making those contacts.”
In the College’s GatorNest program, area companies receive consulting services from students to help their businesses grow.
But the companies aren’t the only parties receiving a benefit.
Grant Mombach (BSBA ’15, MIB ’16) did such great work supporting PlayLife, a mobile app designed for college students, that PlayLife’s creators—W. Stephen Hagenbuckle (BSBA ’85) and Kevin Farm—asked Mombach and another student to remain with the venture after their GatorNest commitment expired.
“Grant is fantastic,” said Hagenbuckle, Managing Partner at TerraCap Management. “He’s a deep thinker with a great blend of professional and social skills. I envision very good things for him in the future.”
The extended exposure to mobile apps and the startup community through GatorNest has Mombach’s sights set on New York where he will take on a full-time business development role with Tunity. Mombach said working closely with the College’s quality students and its successful alumni have been instrumental to his professional development.
“There’s a different quality, a different mindset here,” Mombach said. “I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s second to none.”
Four years ago, Jeremy Delaplane (BS ’00, MIB ’02) appeared on an alumni panel for the Master of International Business program. Delaplane, a Vice President at Viacom, and a frequent guest speaker at MIB, concluded his remarks with the obligatory invitation you often hear:
“Here’s my email address; feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.”
“I’d say only about one-quarter of them follow-up,” Delaplane said. “Most alumni who come back to UF to talk to students are excited to help. We want to help.”
Jason Koester (BSBA ’11, MIB ’12) was one of a handful of students to take Delaplane up on his offer, and that initiative has been well-rewarded.
After graduating from MIB, Koester was frustrated with his career in the travel industry. He reached out to Delaplane—who Koester had been staying in regular contact with—for advice on his impending move to New York.
“Jeremy went above and beyond,” Koester said. “He connected me with 10 of his friends, who all worked in the advertising industry in New York.”
The advice Delaplane’s friends gave Koester helped him land an entry-level position at Turner Broadcasting, and, later, Funny Or Die—the Will Ferrell-Adam McKay online comedy site.
Koester, 27, is now a Senior Account Executive at Moviepilot, Inc., a fan-centric media company in Los Angeles. When Koester interviewed for his current position, he realized his interviewer—Chad Bowman, Moviepilot’s Vice President of Sales—knew Delaplane as well. Delaplane provided Bowman a glowing recommendation to help Koester secure the position.
David Saperstein (MSRE ’16) has a vision for commercial real estate: Have a community’s inhabitants decide what businesses surround them.
But how does a 22-year-old make that vision a reality? Employ the help of The Gator Nation.
Saperstein’s venture is Habuu, an online real estate platform where people can vote on what types of businesses should occupy vacant commercial spaces.
Habuu requires successful partnerships with the public and the commercial real estate industry. So Saperstein enlisted the help of Nick Banks (BSBA ’90), Managing Director of Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group and a member of the Advisory Board for the Nathan S. Collier Master of Science in Real Estate Program. Banks provided key insights on how commercial brokers would use the platform, and Saperstein and his team tailored the user experience to satisfy brokers’ needs.
Saperstein also enlisted the help of Advisory Board member Julie Augustyn, Director of Real Estate at Office Depot. She connected Saperstein with her contacts at RealMassive, a commercial real estate site that provides Habuu with real-time market listings both the public and commercial brokers can access.
"I couldn't be more thankful for the guidance and help I received from Nick and Julie early on,” said Saperstein, who recently led Habuu through its Closed Beta stage. “Though the Habuu platform is still very much in its beginning stages, we are miles farther along than we would have been without their insight. They truly care about helping us succeed, and continue to support us as we grow."