Meeting a new supervisor is an intimidating experience. So imagine if the new supervisor was once a fierce intermural soccer opponent. Diane Gremillion, ’16, found herself in just that situation when she began her internship with Cici Pandol, ’14, at SoapBox Soaps, a social enterprise based in Alexandria, Va.

“Cici absolutely did scare me in the I.M. soccer game,” joked Gremillion. “That’s exactly why I’m letting her boss me around now!”

The desire to work for a socially-minded company like SoapBox Soaps is natural for many Jepson School students, so when Pandol, director of communications, needed a summer intern, she posted a listing on SpiderConnect that led her to hire Gremillion.

“The same core desire to do good drew me to SoapBox’s mission, just as my want to effect positive change interested me in Jepson,” explained Gremillion.

A small company, Soapbox Soaps relies on interns working with a large degree of independence and responsibility. As a supervisor, Pandol uses her background in leadership to know how to be an effective mentor and to engage the talents of her team and interns.

“My first day at SoapBox, I was put in charge of two interns and given the task to create a marketing team and programs. My background in group dynamics, psychology, and knowledge of previously successful leadership principles gave me a huge head start on the very steep learning curve that I embarked on with those two great interns. It allowed me to use 100 percent of their knowledge and skill sets so we were an efficient and successful team,” Pandol said.

Working directly with someone who shares her Jepson School experience, Pandol saw the added benefit of being able to anticipate Gremillion’s questions.

“Being able to talk about the teachers we had and classes we have in common is really fun,” said Pandol, “but more than that, I know that Diane has the same education background as me, which helps me understand her style of problem solving.”

Through her connection with Pandol, Gremillion developed a greater understanding of the purpose of her assignments and the nuanced strategy that goes into creating change, which she will use as she pursues a career in law.

“SoapBox is doing great things for the world because it changed its business model and expectations for itself as a company. Similarly, I think in other realms—not just social entrepreneurship—systemic shifts can make huge impacts to better society. That’s partially why I am so drawn to the legal profession—from logical reasoning, standards are created and can change how people’s lives are affected,” Gremillion elaborated.

Gremillion learned that to create change her work will have to be as energetic and competitive as an intermural soccer game.

“From Cici and the SoapBox team, I’ve learned that to learn the most, you have to step up to the plate and then get scrappy with your research and learn absolutely everything you can. It’s kind of a fake-it-till-you-make-it, but with a whole lot of hard work behind it,” said Gremillion.