Every college graduate wants to impact the world in some way. Whether it’s in medicine, law, education, or another field, students want to make a difference with the education they have received. Christendom alumni leave the college with the same desire, plus a deeper focus as well: to go out and restore all things in Christ. Alumni Laura Cermak and Emily Brown are taking that mission to DC right after graduation, joining the team at Saffron Ventures to help create new businesses and to help students and young professionals thrive worldwide.

Located in Washington, DC, Saffron Ventures is a relatively new company, mainly offering students and young professionals from around the world the chance to study abroad and gain hands-on training in various career fields like law, medicine, and business, while also launching new for-profit and not-for-profit companies. Cermak, a political science and economics major, first learned about Saffron while interning in DC between her junior and senior year of college. While in the city, she visited Saffron and was immediately drawn to the company’s culture and the opportunity to help grow and start businesses.

Emily Brown (left) and Laura Cermak (right).

“I filled out the online application and went through a series of interviews, including a 10-hour, in-office interview day at the end of July,” says Cermak. “I was delighted to be offered the job of associate in October. Director of career development Kristin Stephens provided a lot of guidance as I was preparing to accept the offer, giving me the confidence to ask important questions about pay, benefits, and other practical details.”

When Cermak joins Saffron this fall, she anticipates working in a combination of sales, marketing, operations, and program design, all while market testing businesses and nonprofits to see if they are viable. Cermak believes that her education at Christendom helped prepare her for her first step into the post-graduate world, giving her the necessary communication and critical thinking skills to excel.

“My Christendom education has prepared me very well for this next step in my career,” says Cermak. “Through in-class and outside-of-class experiences, I have learned to adapt quickly to different environments, to communicate effectively, to examine views and hypotheses rigorously, to handle challenges gracefully, and to tackle projects with both attention to detail and mindfulness of the end goal.”

Brown, a history major, feels similarly to Cermak, noting that the rigor of Christendom’s education helped her develop the critical thinking skills needed to work at Saffron.

“I feel that the rigor of the academics here is a natural progression into Saffron’s company culture. Christendom’s academic program makes you keep yourself organized and on top of everything all at once, and that is exactly what Saffron expects of its employees: the ability to multitask and keep everything organized without taking too much time or letting anything else drop,” says Brown, who will be an admissions coordinator at Saffron. “The ability to think critically and ask provocative questions will be of utmost importance for me as I interview potential fellows for our programs because it will give me a good window into their personal goals and why they believe the fellowship is right for them.  That in turn will help me decide if they are a good fit for our programs.”

Saffron Ventures helps create new businesses, along with helping students and young professionals thrive worldwide.

Brown joins fellow alumni Leif Pilegaard (’15) and Robert McKay (’16) on the admissions team at Saffron, helping students interested in attending Saffron’s Beacon and Lex fellowship programs for business consulting and law. Brown first heard of Saffron online, applying to work for the company soon after. She believes that her time working at Christendom, along with aid from the career office, helped her land the position.

“I believe that, along with my high GPA and ACT scores, my experience as a student ambassador at Christendom and as a tutor in the college’s writing center was critical,” says Brown. “The interview process for Saffron is very intense, and in preparation for that, Mrs. Stephens was incredibly helpful in helping me review my resume and make sure I had everything I needed for my interview day. She was also very helpful in helping me after I was given an offer to make sense of everything I was given so that I understood exactly what benefits I was getting and which would be the best choice for me right now.”

Cermak and Brown are ready to thrive as young professionals at Saffron, getting an experience that will hopefully propel them to even further success in the future. From the rigorous education to the work opportunities to the aid of the career office, Christendom helped prepare both of them for their next steps after graduation every step of the way.

After flipping their tassels in a few short weeks, Cermak and Brown will begin to impact the world, following through on the college’s mission and joining countless other Christendom alumni in the DC area, working to restore all things in Christ.

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