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Alumni Panels Provide Advice to Current Students: Businesspeople offer new strategies

On Nov. 4, Rollins hosted the “Distinguished Alumni: Business and Entrepreneurship” panel. Three Rollins alumni sat on the panel: Stacy Van Praugh ’93, Tony DeChellis ’84, and Lindsay Phillips ’07. Van Praugh has worked her way through the fashion industry, to arrive at her current job as head vendor for Oscar de la Renta. DeChellis works for the Credit Suisse Bank. Though Phillips only graduated from Rollins a few years ago, she already owns her own shoe and accessory business, known as SwitchFlops.

The alumni spoke about their time at Rollins and how it infl uenced their career paths. Van Praugh originally majored in international relations, but discovered that her love for fashion was stronger than for politics. Phillips, on the other hand, had known that she wanted to open her own business since she was 16, noting that after graduation, “I just followed my dreams.” DeChellis told the audience very honestly that he entered Wall Street because his other friends were either doing the same or opening their own businesses.

The main topics of the panel were Rollins’ infl uence on their lives and their advice for future Rollins graduates.

DeChellis believes that his success is due to his liberal arts education. “Rollins taught me how to think, not what to think,” he said. Phillips said that Rollins taught her how to be more social, which is a skill she encouraged everyone to learn if they wish to succeed both at an interview and at a workplace. Van Praugh stated that the amount of work she did for Rollins trained her for the amount of work she would have to do in real life.

Their parting words were to be confident in yourself and about what you believe, to pursue as many internships and gain as much work experience as possible, and to use the education you get at Rollins and the people you meet to build up a social network that will help you succeed.

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