NAME: Alyssa Connell
CLASS YEAR: 2002
HOMETOWN: Cedar Falls, Iowa
MAJOR: Communication arts
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Owner of Connell Aviation Group, an aviation and aerospace communication firm based in Cedar Falls with offices in Arizona and Minnesota; Connell Communications Inc., a general turnkey marketing and communication firm; The Point of Style, a women’s clothing boutique; and runway THREE-SIX, an aviation/aerospace apparel shop
What experiences as a student sparked your entrepreneurship or fueled your abilities as a leader and person in business?: When I was a student at Wartburg, I developed the entrepreneur spirit. Because of the vast leadership roles offered to students, it was easy to gain a working knowledge of guiding people and organizations. And because of the college’s servant-leadership focus, it has always been my focus to find ways to make a positive impact.
What were some of the challenges you faced in starting your own business, and how did you overcome those?: I think one of the hardest challenges any new business owner faces is effectively articulating your vision to others. That, and stamina to see it through. This is some of the hardest work I’ve ever done but also the most rewarding.
How does your Wartburg education come into play in your day?: I call on my experiences at Wartburg College daily. I cannot imagine receiving a better foundation to launch from than what I received at Wartburg. There are still so many goals I haven’t reached. As an alumna of Wartburg, I know the resources are there to help get me to where I want to go.
What advice would you give to Wartburg students based on your professional experiences so far?: First of all, we love Wartburg students at our company and have employed several in important communications roles. I would tell Wartburg students to pay attention to how they communicate. Unfortunately, most people have the attention span of an Instagram feed. However, the written word is still valuable. Good written and oral communication skills are what will set recent graduates apart in a crowd. For the students thinking of starting their own business: Work for someone else first. Gain some experience on their dime.
Read more from Alyssa in the Wartburg Magazine.