Parting Words from WIB’s Executive Board Seniors

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The members of the Women in Business executive board have not only been model students, but women many students look to for inspiration on how to be better professionals, organizers and empowering leaders. To celebrate how much they have accomplished as they enter their last few weeks at Cal Poly, The WIB Wire asked the graduating class how they got to where they are today. Their answers exemplify the type of women they are, and inspire us to keeping learning about the world, others and ourselves.


“Be bold, vocal and unabashedly yourself in the pursuit of change.”

Shelby Sly
Major: Business
Concentration: Information Systems
Minor: Statistics and Women and Gender Studies
Position: Previous VP of Development, Co-Founder (Graduated Fall 2016)

How has your experience as a member of the executive board impacted your college career?
It has absolutely defined my time at Cal Poly in so many ways. It’s difficult for me to remember what it was like to be a student without WIB consuming— in a good way— all of my time and energy. In short, WIB is the reason I have the job that I do, the leadership experience I do and, most importantly, the relationships and friends that I do. It was an incredible gift to work alongside such intelligent, ambitious, compassionate young women, each of whom is so committed to changing the game for other women at Cal Poly and in their careers.

What’s your personal mantra?
Success is not about accolades or money, but the people you bring with you— the lives you touch and the change you create. Be bold, vocal and unabashedly yourself in the pursuit of that change.


“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

Hannah Poplack
Major: Business
Concentration: Finance
Minor: Law & Society and Political Science
Position: VP of Development, Co-Founder

How has your experience as a member of the executive board impacted your college career?
Being a part of WIB’s founding, and being entrusted to serve as a Co-President of the organization, has been the greatest responsibility and joy of my life, and has certainly shaped my Cal Poly experience. WIB plays such a critical role on our campus and in the lives of our students, and to be privy to the growth of the group and see this impact first-hand has been an extraordinary privilege. To see the organization in such incredible hands, and see so many young women taking on leadership roles, makes me excited for the organization’s future.

What’s your personal mantra?
“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” This advice means that it’s never too late to change your life and to strive for the opportunity you thought was out of your reach.


“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask a question is a fool forever.”

Kayla Lake
Major: Graphic Communications
Concentration: Web and Digital Media
Position: VP of Marketing, Co-Founder

What was the most challenging course you’ve taken at Cal Poly?
The toughest class I’ve ever taken was Computer Science 101. This class was rough from day one. I remember crashing three different sections in one day to try and get a spot, and after being turned down twice, I ended up barely getting into the class and knew immediately that I was way out of my league. Some of these kids had been coding since middle school and I didn’t have that experience. I was a year older than most of them and they already had a one-up on me. I felt like an amateur, but in the end I did it. I worked harder than I’d ever worked on a class in my life. I took notes like a maniac.

I learned to raise my hand when I had questions, despite the disapproving glares of my more experienced classmates. I spent my downtime in office hours but I did it and it felt good. So good that I decided to enroll in another CS class and begin working on my minor.

What’s your personal mantra?
Asking for help should never be shameful. “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask a question is a fool forever.”


“You can be in it, but not of it.”

Annie Wilson
Major: Business
Concentration: Finance
Minor: Law & Society
Position: VP of Outreach

How did you declare your concentration?
I’ll never have a hard time admitting that I think I chose the wrong concentration. However, choosing Finance is not something that I necessarily regret, and not anything that I try to dissuade students from. I’ve learned a lot from committing to something and later feeling differently, and I see this as a very valuable process for anyone to go through.

At the time, I chose Finance because I was good at it. The quantitative side is something that really clicked with me, and I thought the practicality of it was a reason in and of itself. But Finance never challenged me in a way that I think really benefited me, and that was a mistake I made early on as a student. What I tell students now when they ask me about concentrations is that, regardless of what you choose, do not let it box you into something if you don’t enjoy it. The majority of college graduates do not actually end up working in the major they chose in college, and I had to repeatedly remind myself these last few years. I hold this to an even higher degree at a school like Cal Poly, where you choose your major while still in high school. I have nothing but closure with the fact that I will probably never have a Finance-related job, but I derive the value of my degree by learning a new perspective and way to analyze. I have no doubt that it will be helpful.

What’s your personal mantra?
“You can be in it, but not of it.” My mom says this often and it means that you can be part of a group or organization and not agree with everything that they are saying or doing.


“Life works better when you make it work with you.”

Molly Parsons
Major: Economics
Concentration: Finance
Minor: Statistics and Actuarial Preparation
Position: VP of Activities

How has your experience as a member of the executive board impacted your college career?

The best lesson that I learned this year is that we are not managing our time, we are managing our bandwidth. Being busy and being productive can be two disjoint events. It’s silly to say, but I live by my Google Calendar and there have been some days where if I forget to schedule meals, I’ll forget to eat. I’ve noticed a tangible spike in my productivity after I began to structure my day to play to my strengths and mitigate my weaknesses. I wake up several hours before my classes so that I’ll have time to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for the day, to listen to a podcast and to go on a short walk while I drink my tea. My watch has an automatic feature to buzz me if I’ve been sitting for over 50 minutes and I try to take short breaks throughout the day when I get these alerts to walk around and stay active.

I also do a lot of temptation bundling, which is a concept where you will do something that you really want to do, but only if you do something that you really don’t want to do. So if I have a really long work meeting or a big block of studying, I’ll treat myself to a cappuccino; If I have to clean my room, I’ll put on the Daily Show during it; Or, if I have a large amount of reading to do, I’ll go out into my backyard and sit in the sun on a lawn chair to do it. Life works better when you make it work with you.

What’s your personal mantra?
Leave no stone unturned: You never know where an opportunity could lead or what you love until you get out there and try stuff. University is about learning, both inside and outside of the classroom. You’re learning how to be a happy, healthy, functioning human-being. For as much as you need to learn calculus, corporate finance and how to be successful in the professional world, you need to learn how to take cook, maintain healthy relationships and cultivate your passions and share them with others.


“Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.”

Annie DeBruynkops
Major: Business
Concentration: Information Systems
Position: VP of Events

What was the most challenging course you’ve taken at Cal Poly?
My most challenging course at Cal Poly was CPE 101. I took this programming class to supplement the other classes in my IS concentration and expand my computer science knowledge. It was definitely the hardest I’ve ever had to work for a class, but also the most fulfilling. Outside of six hours of class and lab per week, I went to almost every office hour, and the tutoring sessions offered each night (basically I lived on campus!). I was a regular and become friends with just about every tutor there by the end of the quarter. My advice to anyone taking a really challenging course is: Don’t suffer alone! There are endless resources at Cal Poly if you seek them out.

What’s your personal mantra?
“Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.” I start and end my day with reminding myself of five things in my life that I’m grateful for. It has made me a more positive, thoughtful and productive person, which I think has made me a better daughter, friend, teammate and student.

These women leave this organization with a legacy of excellence. The Women in Business Association has accomplished so much under their leadership, from the first ever Entry Engagement program to another successful Defining Her Future conference. We hope that this success follows them into the future.

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