DHF Speaker: Jacqlyn Westhusing and Sara Rianda

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Jacqlyn Westhusing

By all accounts, Jacqlyn Westhusing has had a prolific career since graduating from Cal Poly in 2012. A quick glance at her resume confirms this: her job history is flush with impressive analyst and talent management positions at several firms, including Cost Plus World Market and, most recently, Airbnb. Despite working for such well-known companies, she’ll be the first to tell you that being passionate about your job is much more important than working for a company with a prestigious reputation. According to Westhusing, finding a job you love may not be easy – and might even require a major career change – but it’s worth it.

Upon graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in Finance and minor in Economics, Westhusing accepted a position at Cost Plus as a Business Analytics Intern. Later, she served as an Inventory Management Analyst for the company. While her education lended itself well to the quantitative nature of her work, she quickly realized that being able to perform a certain job didn’t necessarily amount to enjoying it.

Recognizing that being passionate was just as important as being practical, Westhusing returned to school to earn her MBA at the University of San Francisco. While there, she studied, recalibrated, and searched for jobs she would truly enjoy. Westhusing understood that in order to do what she loved, she couldn’t allow herself to maintain the status quo simply because she was on a “practical” path. Today, Westhusing works as a Talent Design Specialist at Airbnb. Her ability to step back, readjust her mindset, and ultimately change her career path – despite already having a job she was good at – is indicative of her ability to adapt and her relentless pursuit to find what she’s passionate about.

Westhusing is a shining example of what it means to be fearlessly adaptable in the pursuit of your passions. You won’t want to miss hearing about Westhusing’s experiences firsthand at the Defining Her Future conference this Friday.


Sara Rianda

As college women entering the workforce, we are often advised to “follow our passion” or to “just go with our gut” when searching for our first jobs after college. Recent Cal Poly graduate Sara Rianda knows this well. After graduating from Cal Poly in 2014 with a degree in Business, Rianda had the option to pursue full-time positions at both Apple and Black Rock, one of the top investment management companies in the world. For Rianda, the choice wasn’t totally black and white; she had enjoyed previous internships at both companies. Ultimately, Rianda decided to launch her professional career at Black Rock. After participating in their Rotational Graduate Program for one and a half years, she was placed into her current role as a New Product Innovation Associate.

In a stunning display of dynamism, adaptability and hard work, Rianda has carved out a career path that is not only “successful” by societal and industry standards, but also one she is passionate about. You won’t want to miss hearing Rianda speak about her tough career decisions at Friday’s Defining Her Future conference!


This Friday, Jacqlyn and Sara will be leading a jointly held breakout session about their choice to ‘re-pave their path’ and how they transitioned from Cal Poly to the working world at Defining Her Future: a Women in Leadership Conference.

Be sure to grab your tickets at dhf2017.eventbrite.com !

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