Alumni Spotlight: Shannon Kaye

Alumni Spotlight: Shannon Kaye

Shannon Kaye is a recent graduate of the Business and Entrepreneurship Department. Shannon currently works for a local start-up company called Dormigo. As the executive assistant for CEO of the company, Shannon is excited to put her creative approaches to good use at a rapidly growing company. We were able to catch up with Shannon and hear more about the steps that led her to her new career.

Shannon, you currently work with a startup called Dormigo. What is Dormigo, exactly, and how did you get connected to the company?

Dormigo is a short-term rental management startup based in Chicago and growing in Nashville and Austin.

I was actually SUPER lucky, and this position kind of fell into my lap – one of those “preparation meets opportunity” type of situations. I was working three part-time jobs in the service industry while I was constantly looking through job boards for the right full-time opportunity. Around the holidays last year, I was at my first job and was heading to a cater-waiter gig in the evening (tuxedo pants and all), and my brother texted me asking if I wanted to go to his company’s holiday party with him. I dropped the tux at home and bailed on the gig with the hopes of doing some solid networking and, at the very least, having a good time. I also just had that gut feeling. Like, I just…needed to go (or I really didn’t want to wear the tux)…it felt important or opportunistic. If I didn’t go, I was going to miss out on something. This party was where I met the COO of Dormigo. We were making our way through small talk as two of the many plus-ones at the party would normally do, and he invited me to have lunch with the founder of the company the following week. Within 48 hours of that lunch, I had the job.

Why did you decide to work with a startup as opposed to a more established company?

I really felt like this particular startup chose me, but through my relentless job searching, the positions I was finding just never seemed like a good fit for me. No matter what filters I used on job boards or how many times I changed my resume, I just wasn’t finding the right place, and the right place wasn’t finding me. I knew that every established “big business” wasn’t looking for me, and I didn’t know how to find what I needed through an internet search. I knew that to find that, I needed to make in-person contact. It was really a question of finding a place that was open to a creative approach to business. Working for a startup is by far the best place to do that. As the assistant to the founder and CEO, I work in every department, and all of my actions have a direct impact on the company.

Once you graduated from Columbia College Chicago, what were your first steps toward professional life?

The first step toward my next move was just to hustle and start the hunt. When I graduated I had actually already had a job for over a year with a local small business that I thought was going to carry me through the next few years of my professional growth. I was busting my ass there and at two bars trying to make changes and prove myself or whatever, but I realized that they just really weren’t open to my input. It’s actually crazy because I was with them for a long time and the day (I’m not kidding, literally the day) that I told them I accepted an offer at a startup, my manager offered me a full-time position. I still knew it was time for me to move on.

In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspect of post-collegiate life?

The hunt is the hardest. Not just finding the open positions that you’re qualified for because, luckily, right now, that’s the easiest part. It’s finding the right way to find the job that is the BEST fit for you – and it’s really a process of trial and error. You really need to hustle, stay positive, and not get discouraged.

Can you tell us about one of your valuable experiences at Columbia?

Generally, the support and encouragement from all of the educators is the root of all of my valuable experiences there. Most notably, I was empowered to produce the first Manifest event for the Business and Entrepreneurship Department. I got to collaborate with an awesome team of classmates to celebrate the creativity that exists in our department.

Do you miss your college days?

I do! I really miss being in a classroom and interacting with so many brilliant people all the time.