Rylee Neville ’21, Is Inspired to Open Her Own Business Through Her Experience with Dr. Catherine Wiberg at Profitable Alignment in Touchet, WA.

My name is Rylee Neville. I’m going to be a senior this year, so this summer was one of the last opportunities to grow from an internship experience with the help of the Whitman internship grant. For the past month, I have been working with Dr. Catherine Wiberg at her consulting business, Profitable Alignment. Profitable Alignment is based in Touchet, Washington, but this summer most of the work is online. The main objective of Profitable Alignment is to help people know, own, and build on their business or organization’s strengths. Dr. Catherine Wiberg, my supervisor, coaches and consults her clients as she seeks to increase their employee engagement, customer engagement, company innovation, and profits. 

This internship has opened my eyes to the perspective of being a business owner as well as a strong female leader. My supervisor, Dr. Catherine Wiberg, is both. Her work inspires me to someday develop and own a small business. Our work has given me the confidence to understand that this dream of mine is not so far fetched, and it is within my reach to become a small business owner. I am grateful for this opportunity because I have learned so much in just one month with Profitable Alignment. 

Here is a glimpse into what I’ve learned so far: 

  1. Every business owner must find the best way to organize their data for their specific needs. One way to organize data is through a CRM-customer relationship management, which is a software program. I was introduced to organizational tools for business owners that are easy and accessible. For example, we work with Podio almost everyday. Podio is a database system where Dr. Catherine was able to develop her own CRM. I find this helpful to know and practice because I can use these tools in future jobs and in my future entrepreneurial endeavors. 
  2. Networking is key in business. I knew this before, but I truly understand it now. Also, when networking it is important to keep track of who you talk to and why (which is where the CRM comes in handy). 
  3. Entrepreneurship means: see a problem, solve a problem.
  4. Autodidact: a person who has learned a subject without the benefit of a teacher or formal education; a self-taught person. My supervisor taught me this word. Her and I are similar in this way, we are both autodidacts. We want to learn by trying it ourselves, and if we fail, we will try again until we teach ourselves to succeed. To me, this seems as though it is one of the main strengths that an entrepreneur or business owners should possess. 
  5. Appreciative intelligence–recognizing what is good and building on your strengths. Everyone has different strengths. Dr. Catherine helps her clients, and myself, recognize those strengths and build from them. 
  6. Other than business related specifics, this internship has affected the way I view life. My supervisor focuses on telling her clients to reframe their past, rewrite their present, and to redesign their future. I have learned that past trauma or any negative experiences can actually be useful if you reframe them, and use them to shape your future success. This can be related to entrepreneurship. One can use their past experiences to develop a unique and influential business idea. Or, reframing one’s past may give that person extra motivation and inspire them to work everyday towards a goal. 

I am grateful for what I have learned. I’m sure that in the next month,  I will experience more and will have to add on to this list. I will use the skills I have gained from this internship in the future. By the end of my time with Profitable Alignment, I want to understand the specific steps in building my own business from scratch. Dr. Catherine Wiberg is extremely intelligent and inspiring, and I want to learn as much as I possibly can from her in the short time I have left with Profitable Alignment. 

Experiences like Rylee’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez

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