We’re always looking for great alum stories to share! Do you have one? Contact BRIDGES Director of Communications Kat Netzler.
How did you first learn about Bridge Builders?
Sophomore year in high school at a “special meeting” in the school gym. A man I’d soon come to know as “Big Yo” was getting me out of class, so I liked him from the beginning.
What is your favorite Bridge Builders memory?
The day I finally remembered all of the words and signs to Love in Any Language. Just kidding; but that was a close second. If I had to put an exact memory down on record, I’d say it was the time I heard that I had been chosen to work as a staff member the summer after graduating.
What did you gain by becoming a Bridge Builder?
An open appreciation for things that were different than me and my beliefs, activities, preferences, etc. In short, an open mind. One of my favorite memories as a post-high school Bridge Builder was inviting some of my fraternity brothers to a step show on campus. None of them had ever even heard of the concept before, but I managed to get a few to come along. They loved it. I’ve been in the business of starting companies for a living since college, and it’s been super interesting to see just how many pieces of the puzzle fit in to things I did and learned as a student and staff member. So much of the foundation of what I do now on a daily basis – everything from building a team and solving problems to communication and coming up with a plan – was laid during my time as a Bridge Builder.
What are you doing now?
Since graduating from Saint Louis University in 2012 I’ve worked in SLU’s Center for Entrepreneurship as the Marketing Strategist, where I help students start and run companies. I also work part-time at Tesla Motors. In my ‘spare time’ I start companies. My first app was called Swagulator; it tells you ‘how much swag you have’ based on how you answer questions. I’m a co-founder of a self-proclaimed internet sensation called Invisible Girlfriend/Invisible Boyfriend, and I’m in the process of building out a few other tech-based products and websites now (some of which you’ll be hearing about sooner rather than later, hopefully!).
Do you still keep in contact with your Bridge Builders color group? If so, can you name the members of your group?
I do! Ironically, I was just on the phone with one of my group mates last night. (If you ever get a chance to talk to Ricky Richardson, you should.) Admittedly, I keep in touch with more of the staff members than I do folks my own age, but it’s all in the family, right?
What’s the best part of being a Bridge Builder alumni?
A good friend of mine and a fellow Bridge Builder alum himself, Anthony Nguyen, told me something I’ll never forget about my time with and after Bridge Builders: the whole purpose of the program is to go out and put what you learn and take away from the experience into action in the ‘real world.’ As a Bridge Builder alum it’s on you to go out and make the mission a reality. It’s a challenge in more situations than not, but if anyone is prepared for it, we should be.
What’s the most interesting thing about you?
A boss at one of my jobs just told me that I “could be the most interesting person of my generation.” So I’m going to go with that. Who knows; maybe I’ll be in a commercial some day with a drink in my hand saying something like, “I don’t always recommend going through a program, but when I do, it’s Bridge Builders.”