Spotlight on Vanessa Bak
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Vanessa Bak is a student member of ACCED-I and was recently awarded a regional scholarship that will allow her to attend the Annual Conference. She currently has an assistantship with the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program at Ohio University. In the summer of 2018 she had a summer practicum with Conference and Event Services that has changed her life.
How did/does your ACCED-I student membership help you advance in your career?
The ACCED-I student membership gave me the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to attend the Annual Conference in Providence. Since I am currently in Ohio, travel to Providence requires a flight, and the scholarship to attend the Conference was a big help. I am excited to meet other folks passionate about conferences and events on college campuses.
What is the best advice you ever received?
“You are always interviewing.” This was the advice given to me toward the end of my summer with Conference Services. My supervisor told me this just to remind me that someone is always looking at what you are doing, both in a positive and negative light. It is something I always keep in the back of my mind now.
What advice would you give to a student?
Depends on the student off course, but, before I started college, I got a canvas that said, “Do it with passion or not at all.” It was a gift from my high school drama club, and it is something I repeat to others when they feel burnt-out or have too much on their plate. I personally know that if I cannot do something with passion, I will not put my best foot forward, so this is what I think about before I make commitments.
Did/Do you have a mentor or colleague that you look(ed) up to for guidance?
I would say I have had the privilege of many mentors through my graduate school experience especially, but one that sticks in my mind is my direct supervisor for Conference Services this past summer, Nikki Ohms. Nikki truly loves her job, and she instilled a passion in me for the work as well. She challenged me when I needed it and was always around for a good laugh. I really appreciated having her as a supervisor even for a short time, and she is someone I turn to when I need to get out of my own head.
Describe something that you did at work that you are most proud of.
I don’t think there is one particular moment I can think of, but I love when students write thank-yous at the end of the semester. It reminds me that my work has a purpose and that I do make a difference in the lives of others.
What do you love most about your job?
I actually love customer service! Between undergrad and graduate school I worked at Starbucks for a year and loved the customer interaction that I got. I believe that is part of why I loved my summer work with conferences: I love making a customer’s day and working with them to resolve an issue.
What do you like least about your job?
Right now what I like the least is that my time at Ohio University is coming to an end! I graduate this coming May and it will be hard to leave this place and these students I have come to love over the past two years.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your student membership in ACCED-I?
I just wanted to thank my conference services supervisors for encouraging me to apply for the scholarship in the first place! Thank you to everyone who wrote me a recommendation letter so that I could go to the Annual Conference. I cannot wait to meet everyone there.