Three Questions for...
“I graduated in 2014, but started at Chatham in the fall of 2007,” says Sally Guzik, “slowly and surely working to complete my my undergraduate degree in Women's Studies and Latin American History over seven years. I had to work full-time throughout college, and take a few breaks due to financial constraints and family obligations.”
1) What’s a typical day at work like for you?
The company I work for, CIC, provides high-quality, flexible office and co-working spaces. As director of CIC Philly, I lead the development and implementation of our strategy and vision, and I am “the face” of CIC here in Philadelphia, our newest market. A big part of my work is establishing partnerships with governmental agencies and community stakeholders who are invested in supporting entrepreneurs and new technologies.
It's not a typical 9-5 job: each day is different and I work a lot of hours (but I love it!). I often find myself at meetings or events, brainstorming and collaborating to support funding, resources, and programs for startups here in the city.
Because my work is so intense, I try to take the time for self-care. On Wednesdays, I participate in a meditation class in our wellness room, and after, I grab a salad from our community partner Simply Good Jars, a local food entrepreneur whose salad machine we're launching in our cafe.
2) How did Chatham prepare you for where you are today?
My collaboration and teamwork skills were built at Chatham. I was attracted to the school because it was an all-women's college at the time and the class sizes were small. I wanted to build my critical thinking skills and found a passion for advocacy work which led me to become a feminist and environmentalist.
Two of my biggest supporters, and frankly the drivers in why I was able to graduate, were Dr. Louis Martin and Dr. Melissa Bell. Dr. Bell's courses opened my world to the realities of women's issues and reproductive justice, which led me to become a doula in Pittsburgh for several years.
Dr. Martin's classes shaped the course of my entire career after Chatham. From learning about working-class history through an oral storytelling class to discussing Latin American history and political and social movements, I found a passion for connecting my personal history to my future work in the startup sector.
They support me to this day, and as a first-generation college student, I wouldn't have graduated without them.
3) What advice do you have for current Chatham students?
Listen to those who are different from you. I had classmates from Sikkim, India who left everything behind after a devastating earthquake; befriended other first-generation college students who were raised in working-class families and struggled to find a place in college; and learned from classmates who grew up vastly different from me. I listened to often marginalized students' points of view to challenge my own biases. Discuss your coursework with classmates, force yourself out of your box, and use this time to develop passions and interests that make you a kinder, more compassionate individual.