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“Lemonade! Twenty-five cents a cup!” Some say that our earliest memories are indicative of our later years. Sometimes I wonder if I was born to sell.
My earliest memory dates back fourteen years, when I opened a lemonade stand outside a neighborhood garage sale. With my fat piggy bank and enthusiastic little voice, I quickly emptied my large dispenser, proudly earning $20 that day. Little did I know that my lemonade startup was just the first of many other business ventures to come. In elementary school, I founded “Secret Club” with six other girls. Together, we handmade cards, friendship bracelets, and keychains, which I then sold at a little table after church. Once enough money was raised, we invested all profits towards buying a goat for an African family through World Vision. Even at a young age, seeing how business profits can benefit others left a deep impression on me, and I still commit at least 10% of any personal or corporate earnings to organizations like Food for the Hungry.
From managing a pomegranate fruit stand in elementary school, to establishing Back-to-Eden Ranch in middle/high school (we sold organic produce, eggs, and meat, and averaged 100 chickens and African guinea fowl at any given time), to selling Cutco products through cold calls and demonstrations for a summer job, I realize that my motivations ultimately stem from a desire to make a tangible impact, whether this looks like sponsoring a child’s education in Ethiopia or providing wholesome food at steep discounts to families in need. In high school, this desire prompted me to explore opportunities related to government, an interest piqued through speech and debate. While interning for Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, I witnessed firsthand the influence and power elected officials had to enact change in society. The more experience I gained in this internship and others, however, the more I learned that serving in government is, in a sense, not too unlike working in sales. Public service requires earning the trust of your constituents and selling your own qualifications and platforms for change. Beyond proving that you possess adequate experience, you must demonstrate a genuine understanding and care for your communities.
Although government definitely remains in my long-term goals, I want to understand the people I represent before representing them. Personally, that means pursuing a sales or startup career after graduation. A Haas degree will not only enable me to achieve my dream of working in the corporate sector, but will, importantly, empower me to dream beyond myself and my business. Haas is renowned for social entrepreneurship, and I especially look forward to taking classes in the UGBA 192 series. For me, sales and government is ultimately not about profit or power, but about people – consumers who drink my lemonade, so to speak, and citizens who are impacted by the decisions I make. If I was born to sell, then I want to sell beyond myself, for the people that need me.
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