Jillian Riddell worked for five years in sales in corporate America before becoming the head of a local business—all before the age of 30!
She is an alumna of Ashland University, where she earned a dual degree in Business Management and Marketing in 2007. Jillian is now the Sales Representative at The Brickyard in Sheffield Township, where she oversees all the day-to-day operations of the company. The Brickyard is a subsidiary of Consumers Builders Supply Co., which is owned by Jillian’s family.
“I was going to go right into the family business after college and then I made the decision at the last minute not to,” said Jillian. She had worked in three different sales positions before deciding to return to Lorain County to work in the family business. “I wanted someone else to break my bad habits. I wanted someone else besides my father as my boss to teach me how to work in this business, how to meet deadlines, and how to deal with various types of people.”
Jillian interned in 2005 at both Sacred Landmarks Initiative and the Lorain County Visitors’ Bureau (now called Visit Lorain County). Even though her internship sites weren’t directly related to her career path, Jillian says that her internship opened many doors for her after college graduation in many ways.
“When people see “intern” as your work experience on applications they know that you know how to work,” she said. “During my college experience I was shifting from various summer jobs as lifeguard and babysitter. Those were great ways to make money but they weren’t resume builders. If I hadn’t made the decision to participate in the internship program it would have been much more challenging after graduation to make my career decisions.”
Jillian encourages students to explore different experiences and opportunities through their internships, even if they are not directly related to their future career goals.
“You have the rest of your life to work in your chosen field,” she said. “I got to work through the internship for a non-profit and saw how the non-profit world works. This is something I could appreciate and grow from to learn more about what’s out there besides the corporate structure and business mindset.”
According to Jillian, the best part about her internship experience was the many opportunities for networking and the importance of building relationships.
“With LLCIP you become a member of a group of people with whom you are sharing both your internship experiences and learning to form those important relationships,” she said, adding that she is still friends with people from her internship class over seven years later.
Jillian continues to be active in Lorain County and has recently become a member of Leadership Lorain County’s Best Class of 2013 Signature Program.
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