College of Business > News & Events > “Portraits in Resilience” From the Driehaus College of Business, Part 2

“Portraits in Resilience” From the Driehaus College of Business, Part 2

Students, Staff and Faculty Share Their Stories From the Pandemic

​ It’s been just over a year that the first pandemic lockdown catapulted us into one of the most challenging years of our lives. Last month we launched the first part of our “Portraits in Resilience” to commemorate how the experience has affected our community at the Driehaus College of Business. What follows is the second installment in our series that highlights stories of resilience among our students, faculty and staff.

Ari Widen
Ari Widen

Ari Widen
MBA Student
Kellstadt Graduate School of Business

I have been trying to physically and mentally take care of myself as much as possible. Getting creative with exercising and finding new hobbies has been really helpful. While being confined to our apartment, my girlfriend and I would find online workout classes to try to do every evening, and we would get friends to do them with us at the same time. I also started reading novels again and finally decided to start playing guitar again.

Professionally, this was the first time I have ever worked remotely so I struggled at first with getting into the work mindset outside of the office. Not being able to physically see people also made the introductory phase of my new job more challenging. Thankfully everyone on my team was open and willing to schedule time to talk, both about work and non-work-related topics, so I feel like I got to know my coworkers much quicker than I initially thought it would take in a remote setting. Our video calls really helped to build our team chemistry.

The Kellstadt Career Management Center was such a great help for me in prepping for my internship interviews and helping me adjust my internship search strategy once COVID-19 forced everyone to stay off campus. My internship is what led to the full-time job I now have as a business development professional at Workstorm.

One of the main things I’ve learned from all of this is to try to keep a good attitude and adapt to change as best I can. I hope this is the most challenging year that we will all have to endure.

Thomas Carswell and cat Finch
Thomas Carswell with his cat, Finch

Thomas Carswell
Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing Student
Driehaus College of Business

This past year brought its fair share of challenges for me. I love meeting new people and creating relationships in my personal and academic life, and fostering those new relationships was made very difficult by COVID. Adjusting to this new form of virtual interaction was my biggest hurdle. And yet, I can think of several great new friends I made this past year, and I have never even met them in person!

The biggest lesson I learned this past year is how to best leverage my newfound free time. When my commute to the city was completely removed, I wanted to utilize that time in a positive way instead of just watching TV. I researched different certifications and supplemental learning that I could pursue to better position myself post-graduation. I ended up with new knowledge of things like cloud infrastructure, CRM (customer relationship management) platforms and persuasion techniques that I would not have had the time to learn before COVID.

The Center for Sales Leadership faculty were my most helpful resource while we were in lockdown. Since I will be graduating in June, they knew that I was heading into a tough job market and helped me leverage their networks to secure meetings with recruiters. Never take for granted how much your professors want to help you succeed.

Alyssa Westring
Alyssa Westring

Alyssa Westring
Associate Professor of Management

My book “Parents Who Lead: The Leadership Approach You Need to Parent with Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create a Richer Life” came out in March 2020 and I abruptly switched from planning a book tour to trying to help parents cope with the incredible demands of work and parenting in a pandemic. At the same time, both of my kids (ages 9 and 11) have been in fully remote school throughout the duration of this time. It’s definitely been a challenge to try to be a source of support for other parents (and my students, colleagues and collaborators) while also dealing with the stress of having my own kids home 24/7.

My students have helped me so much. Every week, I read their thoughtful and engaged writing for my courses and find inspiration in their stories of resilience, optimism and commitment to social justice. They remind me that the work we do at DePaul matters, and that we are cultivating the next generation of leaders in our classrooms.

Through this experience I have learned about the importance of community. We’re all in this together and I’ve learned just how much connecting with others (even if it’s over Zoom!) is a source of hope, energy and inspiration for me. We have to find creative ways to build community… and when we do, those conversations are more authentic and meaningful than ever.

Willie Reddic
Willie Reddic

Willie Reddic
Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Curricula

My biggest personal challenge over the past 12 months has been keeping my daughter entertained as I work. She is at the toddler stage so she is very busy and curious. It seems whenever I have a meeting she wants to informally participate. Not being able to be face to face with my students has also been challenging. I truly miss the personal interactions with my students and colleagues.

I also began my position as associate dean this past year. Although I am learning a tremendous amount from my colleagues, not being able to spontaneously ask a question down the hall of the dean’s suite is quite daunting. I miss being able to sit down over a coffee to pick my colleagues’ brains. And yet, despite the fact that we are fully remote, my colleagues are very responsive and too many to count have helped me throughout this past year.

Both our students and faculty have shown tremendous resilience and perseverance during this pandemic. DePaul’s Online Teaching Training Series (DOTS) has helped me a great deal in designing my courses and my students have provided me with very constructive feedback on things that have worked well and not so well in my online courses. Going through these challenging times has presented opportunities for us all to learn and evolve.

Read more portraits in resilience.