Making Meaningful Connections: Jessica and Shirley’s Experience with the WWIN Networking Portal

Jun 28, 2023

Graduation was a major milestone for Jessica and the beginning of a new chapter in her journey as a WWIN alum. Last year, she became the first in her family to attain a college degree, graduating with a B.A. in Information Systems and Supply Chain Management from the University of Washington Foster School of Business. Jessica knew that building a strong network was vital to making the leap from college to career, and she quickly recognized that the wide-ranging professional experience in the WWIN community would be an asset in her career exploration. 

Through WWIN’s new networking portal, Jessica reached out to Shirley Heath, a recently retired Microsoft executive and former president of the WWIN Board of Directors, to learn more about starting a career in product management. “I saw Shirley’s experience and knew immediately how valuable her insights could be,” Jessica recalls. “I took a leap of faith and introduced myself – and I was so excited when she agreed to meet with me.”

Shirley was impressed with Jessica’s positive energy and organized approach to their meeting. The two discovered that they had experiences in common personally as well as professionally. Growing up in a low-income area in Mississippi, Shirley had watched her own mother struggle without a college education. “It was clear to me that education was the ticket out,” she says. “I found my own path with a lot of people supporting and encouraging me. That kind of support is what drew me to WWIN to pay it forward. It’s no surprise to see women like Jessica get to be Star Scholars and become successful: these are women who do the work.”

Jessica is excited to stay connected with Shirley and other members of the WWIN community. Recently, she became an Alumnae Volunteer. She has also continued taking steps toward her dream by completing the Summer Venture in Management Program at Harvard Business School. She and Shirley encourage Star Scholars and mentors alike to take advantage of the new networking platform. “There is so much wisdom and experience in this community,” Shirley says, “There are truly impressive people here who are rooting for Star Scholars and would be delighted to help.”

Learn more about the WWIN networking portal

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