Sarah Potter, '08

Spider network leads alum to career success

October 22, 2009

“I found my job completely through networking,” said Sarah Potter, a University of Richmond alumna who graduated in May 2008. “I know a number of my classmates who also found their positions through the connections they made at Richmond.”

After graduation, Potter, a sociology major and former UR Bonner Scholar, began work for AWF Consulting in Washington, D.C. As a finance assistant with the organization, Potter assists in the planning and execution of large fundraising events for political candidates.

“During the second semester of my senior year, my political science professor, Dr. Palazzolo, and I were discussing my plans for after graduation, and I mentioned my interest in politics and fundraising,” Potter said. “He introduced me to Ashley Flanagan, a Richmond alumna and the founder of AWF Consulting. A couple of months after we were introduced, I was offered a position as her assistant.”

Potter’s career exploration process began with a number of “lengthy conversations” with an advisor in the Career Development Center. She also participated in the CDC’s Spider Road Trip, Spiders for the Common Good, in Washington, D.C., which allowed her to explore the non-profit and government industries in the city.

“I think fundraising was the perfect choice for me,” said Potter. “I can clearly see the results of my work, and I really enjoy learning about the political process and being a part of the Washington political scene in such a charged and exciting time.”

In addition to helping her land her first job, networking gave Potter instant connections in her intended field and a pool of professionals and friends in a new city.

“The Spiders for the Common Good trip helped me decide that D.C. was definitely the place I wanted to be after graduation, and I was able to make connections with Richmond’s D.C. Young Alumni chapter.”

Potter’s current position working for a Richmond alumna has also prepared her for the next step in her career - law school.

 

“I have learned so much about the political process and the fundraising field, and my boss has been a great teacher and mentor,” she said. “I would really encourage others to reach out to alumni and use their connections – networking is critically important.”