My Rollins Gateway: Filling Her Plate to Fill Her Cup
December 07, 2021
By Adrienne Egolf
Neny Lairet ’21 found her ideal career path by pursuing an interest in international business and embracing opportunities to be a leader at Rollins.
Neny Lairet ’21 likes to stay busy. The international business major completed her four-year degree in just three years, immersing herself in everything Rollins had to offer—from serving the community to joining a student organization to interning at a local startup. Today, as e-commerce manager for Kramer America, she leads customer service and online business strategy for the Central Florida-based auto company, a position that fills her days with planning meetings, data analysis, and market-based decisions. And she’s already set her sights on a graduate degree. The hustle suits Lairet, who’s been on the go since high school when she first became interested in studying international business.
“It appealed to me because I was an international student, and after having moved countries a couple of times, I knew that I wanted to learn more about how international expansion and operations work,” she says, recalling the years she spent bouncing between Venezuela, Panama, and Central Florida. “I was intrigued by how companies adapt and standardize different aspects of their brands, products, and services to each country and culture, and I wanted to learn more about the strategy behind that.”
It was a niche pursuit, and she admits she wasn’t quite sure where the path would lead. But Lairet found her place at Rollins, where she complemented her international business degree with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies. From service learning experiences with local nonprofits and serving on the Business Student Leadership Council to an internship that would set her on course for the career she didn’t know she wanted, explore some of the pivotal waypoints on Lairet’s personalized pathway through Rollins.
A pivotal moment in Lairet’s career came when she landed an internship at Knoza Consulting, a local optimization startup founded by alumnus Adam Schwartz ’10 ’12MBA. She went into the internship prepared for the scope of the position by rigorous coursework in classes like Statistics for Businesses and Global Business Strategy. And she brought soft skills to the role too.
“My group projects at Rollins that required critical thinking and collaboration prepared me with the necessary skills to succeed,” she says. “My business classes went beyond the technical content from our textbooks and taught us how to think like managers—strategically and with growth and expansion in mind. This was my first job in e-commerce, and I discovered how much I enjoy developing business operations and improving systems and processes.”
Lairet uses the leadership and teamwork skills she gained through her major and internship every day in her role at Kramer America, managing the brand’s website along with eBay, Amazon, and Walmart sales channels.
Liberal Arts in Action
Lairet remembers her first-year orientation and hearing advice to get involved as much as possible—so she seized it. She signed up to be a peer mentor and a social media ambassador. She became a student assistant in the business department. That opportunity led to her most prominent role at Rollins when her supervisor encouraged her to join the Business Student Leadership Council. She eventually became the organization’s president, planning campus-wide events, such as internship panels and a business forum series and guest lectures from business icons like Lee Cockerell, former vice president of Disney. “He gave an awesome speech,” she remembers, “about the best way to build and lead a team.”
Mentors made all the difference in Lairet’s journey through Rollins, from her advisor, business professor Sheryll Namingit who gave her the encouragement she needed to complete her degree early, to her first business professor, Allen Kupetz. “He introduced me to the world of management in e-commerce through my internship at Knoza,” she says. “I wouldn’t have known about that internship opportunity if Allen hadn’t brought the CEO of Knoza, Adam Schwartz, to our class, and I wouldn’t have the job I have today without that internship.”
Lairet may have known she wanted to pursue international business in high school, but she had no way of knowing where that path would lead. Thanks to Rollins, she feels confident about where she’s going. “Rollins definitely sets you up with a mindset of constant improvement and growth in every aspect of business and yourself,” she says. “It teaches you to think about the possibilities, opportunities, and potential obstacles you may encounter when expanding or taking on a new challenge, and that mentality is the key for success.”