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Professional Growth During Hard Times

Justin Lee, Poole College Communications Intern | Monday, February 27, 2012

“The greatest part of being involved with start-ups is realizing that it is possible to pursue your dream through commitment and a devotion to pushing the envelope,” said Sara Wall, a former student in the bachelor of business administration program with a concentration in entrepreneurship in NC State’s Poole College of Management.

“Entrepreneurship has the unique ability to equip dreamers with the tools they need to pursue those dreams,” she said.

Wall got her start in the real world of entrepreneurship as an intern at StartupWithMe, a web-based facilitator for aspiring entrepreneurs to connect and create meaningful partnerships, based out of the Triangle.

Working remotely, Wall completed operational tasks that helped the company’s team members locate leads, establish contacts and facilitate communication.

She said working with the start-up’s open and accessible entrepreneurs – Neil Bagchi, Justin Gehtland, Aaron Houghton, Rachit Shukla, and Sumit Vohra made the internship enjoyable.

“It was a great way for me to learn more about what it takes to be a job creator in an economically down-ridden time,” Wall said.

As she neared the end of her internship with StartupWithMe, the partners began brainstorming job opportunities for Wall. She now works as an operational manager at Two Toasters, an applications development company located in Durham, N.C., a startup launched by Shukla. The name, she explained, was inspired by the television series The Office.

“With the growth of Two Toasters,” Wall said, “Rachit felt that there was room for a new position. I can’t stress the importance of networking enough,” she said.

Wall’s responsibilities at Two Toasters include marketing, public relations, social media, quality assurance – testing applications – and any other tasks that help with the overall well-being of the company.

With the exception of dealing with the traffic from home in Raleigh to her new job in Durham, the transition from being an intern to a full-time professional posed little difficulty for Wall.

“The transition has been easy,” she said. “I love working at Two Toasters. Everyone is young and ambitious, and knows how to have fun.” For example, the office space features a ping pong table in the middle. Co-workers said they won’t play against Wall very often, though, as she wins too often.

For the future Wall said she seeks to integrate her passion for vintage and antique artifacts, music, animals, and local food with the knowledge she has cultured through her experience with StartupWithMe and Two Toasters. Current ideas include opening a bakery that sources local ingredients and developing an application to make antiquing easier.

“I hope to always do what I’m passionate about,” Wall said. “There is no reason why ideas can’t be turned into fruitful endeavors. No matter what I choose to do in the future, I know it will be out of a sincere belief in what I’m doing.”