Our two alumni scholarship winners have had entirely different paths for school and through COVID, yet both have used CEO skills of communication, networking, determination,and thinking outside the box to have progressed to where they are today.

Jessica Glasco, CEO 17, is currently attending Southeastern Illinois College where she is a TRIO member. TRIO is a program for first-generation college students. Jessica is working toward her associate's degree while hoping to be accepted into the nursing school.

She works full time with Integritas as an ER medical scribe while being a full-time student and living on her own.

She stated, “The CEO class changed my entire personality. Thanks to it I am able to talk to anyone in a professional manner, and I interview very well too! I have such a hunger to succeed! I want nothing more than to see my career and my small Cricut business thrive!”

Samantha Smith, CEO 16, graduated from Lindenwood College in 2020 with a BS in Marketing. She is currently co-founder of On Brand Marketing—a female-founded digital marketing agency with a modern approach to digital strategy, web design, and product innovation. She met her business partner Traci Bushur while they both studied abroad, but Samantha’s story has had unexpected twists and turns along the way.

“I graduated college after a semester in London and was ready to book a one-way flight with a single suitcase to NYC and make it work, then COVID hit.

“I immediately reached out to a family I had nannied for in the Chicago suburbs and asked if they needed some help finishing out the school year, when we still thought covid would be over in a few weeks. A few weeks turned into the summer, and before I knew it I had been living with the Kushner's nearly six months.

“It was fall of 2021 and I decided that even though nannying was the best solution for my short-term needs, I needed to continue growing in a more professional and long-term career. I began doing virtual assistance for an influencer in Chicago: SEO -search engine optimization (something I did for my CEO business), affiliate marketing, and social media management.

“I then applied to work for a major medspa in a full-time marketing role and was quickly declined for "lack of experience."

“I knew I was capable so I asked if they had any shadowing or internship opportunities and shortly after was connected with Amie Martin, owner of Aesthetic Mentor, an aesthetic training company.
“In a matter of months I was doing web design, SEO, and managing the entire Instagram account. During this time, Amie asked if I knew a video editor. Ironically, that week one of my best friends I studied abroad with had launched a Youtube channel. Shortly after, On Brand was born.”

Samantha and Traci have created a successful partnership. “We have established a name for ourselves in the Chicagoland region and beyond. Locally, we created the Gift What Matters email and social media campaign for Rendleman Orchards last fall, we designed the Country Roads Flowers & Gifts website, and we are currently collaborating with Union County Women in Business & Business pro bono to create their logo and rebrand for their 30th anniversary this summer.” Samantha also serves as a UCCEO mentor and presenter.

“I know I wouldn't be doing what I am today without CEO.”

Scholarship funds are from past classes' class business earnings.

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