Only after she had time to finish the interview, drive home, have dinner and relax did Ashley Clark, a junior Waynesburg University marketing major and accounting minor, acknowledge the phrase that had been buzzing around in her head all day.
“Every day is an interview,” a piece of advice imparted by Clark’s Waynesburg University accounting professor Joshua Chicarelli, resonates in all aspects of her life. Clark believes that each day is a generous gift from God and therefore treats all of her interactions as a means to make a lasting impression.
That advice served her well that day and throughout the days of her upcoming internship with 84 Lumber Company.
“An education at Waynesburg not only prepares you for your career, it also offers a close-knit experience with professors and advisors, which is crucial for development and preparation in the work world,” she said. “A professor personally recommended that I apply for an internship at 84 Lumber. He saw the position and told me that my skills would fit well there.”
And fit well, they did. Clark impressed 84 Lumber with her “quiet confidence” and strong character, resulting in a summer-long marketing coordinator internship at the company’s corporate headquarters in Eighty Four, Pa.
“They told me that a lot of applicants all have the same qualities and skill levels, but they were looking for something different,” Clark said. “Confidence can make all the difference.”
Clark said her confidence came from practice and the knowledge that her Waynesburg University education could hold its ground in a fast-paced corporate marketing environment.
“After interning for a couple of months, my boss told me that I was chosen because I researched the company and could confidently answer questions, as well as ask my own questions at the end of the interview,” she said. “I would not have been so prepared without Waynesburg.”
At 84 Lumber, Clark created and managed a multi-departmental and 30-store-spanning advertising calendar that allowed her to keep track of the company’s advertising needs, contracts and costs. She proofed and sent ads to local and regional newspapers and sent weekly updates to concerned parties.
“A lot of money is spent on advertising, and it is important that all the ads are created correctly and are on time,” Clark said. “I was really able to showcase my organization skills and I enjoyed working with various departments, store managers and newspaper representatives.”
She also served as the contact person and organizing manager of the annual 84 Lumber Boy Scout Golf Outing event and helped to plan a customer event for more than 400 people. Throughout the summer, she fulfilled ad requests from many of the chains’ 250 store locations across the United States.
One of Clark’s favorite experiences was volunteering alongside her 84 Lumber coworkers as they partnered with Rebuilding Together and the Pittsburgh Steelers to rebuild a veteran’s home in the area.
“I continue to believe that it is essential to incorporate serving into a business organization because it helps to stay you humble and thankful,” she said.
In December 2014, Clark will graduate a semester early and begin working in retail marketing and advertising at Lowry's Western Shop in Washington, Pa. She will create and manage the shop’s advertisements throughout the year, bringing with her a wealth of advertising experience from her 84 Lumber internship and from selling advertisements for the campus newspaper, the Waynesburg University Yellow Jacket.
Her internship became the culminating point for moving forward into a new semester with enthusiasm and energy, and eventually on to a job with that same disposition.
“All of a sudden, it just clicked that my purpose at Waynesburg University is so much more than just going to class and learning,” she said. “It is making friendships in unfamiliar places, connecting and networking. It is being brave and being myself. It is an interview every day and a chance to make something out of myself. We have that opportunity every day that God lets us wake up in the morning, so why not make the most out of it all?”