When Brooke Willemstyn, ’19, met Dan Welsch, ’08, she knew immediately that she wanted to work for him.

Welsch’s work with a boutique consulting firm was of interest to Willemstyn because “their business model is unique,” she said.

Impact Makers, a for-profit consulting company, gives 100 percent of its profits to nonprofit community partners. When the two met on campus in the spring of 2018, Impact Makers did not have an internship program; but when Welsch met Willemstyn, he knew she had to be on the team.

“I went back to our organization and pitched them the idea for an internship program,” Welsch said. “We had a pretty rigorous application process, screening 65 applicants from seven different schools, and Brooke was one of the best candidates. She accepted a role with us for the summer.”

Willemstyn said it was a different internship experience because the program was brand new, so she was able to work with multiple departments throughout the summer.

“It was interesting because they went about designing the program by picking the most important projects, but they didn’t fall under one just functional area,” Willemstyn said.

She built the company’s first sales playbook, which Welsch says the team still uses today.

“Brooke helped us put together our go-to-market materials for the data practice. She pulled together our qualifications, built templates to help us respond to requests for proposals, and designed sales materials for our personnel,” Welsch says. “There’s been a lot of traction from what she worked on since her time with Impact Makers.”

Willemstyn said working in a new program was intimidating, but it gave her the freedom to collaborate closely with executives on projects.

“It was scary at first to be thrust into that ambiguity, to learn new processes and systems,” Willemstyn said. “But it was a dose of the real world, and becoming confident in my abilities.”

She is now completing her business minor, and says she is directly applying many of the tools she learned while interning at Impact Makers to her Robins School courses.

“This is the first year I’m drawing on experiences from my internship in class,” Willemstyn said.

Welsch says as Willemstyn draws on her internship, he and the other executives at Impact Makers are using what she worked on to improve their company.

“The sales process she helped define is being used as we’re undergoing some process change ourselves, and we’re using that to drive those conversations,” Welsch said.

Two of the three interns this summer at Impact Makers were from the University of Richmond, and Welsch said the skills that Richmond impresses upon students outside the classroom in programs like the Jepson EDGE Institute and Q-camp make a big difference in the hiring process.

“Richmond students have those soft skills that really translate in the consulting business,” Welsch said.

Thinking back on the day she met Welsch, Willemstyn says she is extremely grateful for the opportunity, and glad she pursued an education at a university like Richmond that fosters those experiences.

“It feels kind of crazy to be honest,” Willemstyn said. “I can’t help but think that it was a case of right place right time, and being pushed by the Richmond environment to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Willemstyn is now working with Welsch on tailoring the internship program for 2019 students, and will join Impact Makers as an associate consultant after graduation in May.

You can learn more about Impact Makers and their internship program here.