One of the most important questions Fellows are asked during recruitment is "what do you actually do as an Orr Fellow?" We often respond with a simple, 30-second "elevator pitch" relating to the themes of the Fellowship. This is great for career fairs, but it doesn't answer what we actually do with our lives. This blog post will look at the last few months of my life, add some pictures for evidence, and shed light on what it takes to be an Orr Fellow.
Working In the Real World
I am fortunate to have Interactive Intelligence (ININ) as my host company for the next two years. ININ is a leading developer of contact center software (think 1-800 customer service, but cooler) and employs more than 1,000 people. During my first year, I am in a rotation program where I can become familiar with ININ while learning how I can help the company succeed. I have spent the last four months working with the Product Management team, in their CaaS (Communication as a Service) department. I won't go into details, but one of my projects involved internal and marketing research for a new product being developed. I also help manage pricing lists and quoting tools that span six currencies. I will soon be rotating to the IT department to take on a new role.
It is hard to generalize my day-to-day activities. Some days, I might meet with my executive sponsor, CFO Steve Head. Steve has been an excellent mentor and has shared plenty of business knowledge with me. We also share interests in car racing. He has even volunteered to take me out on the track in his Porsche (don't let me drive, Steve!) Other days, might be spent developing new features for our quoting tool. Since joining ININ, I have met employees from Great Britain, Japan and Australia. One thing is certain: the greatest aspect of my job is the culture in which I work. The people of ININ are amazing and the company's "Work Hard, Play Hard" mentality is a perfect fit for the Fellowship. Whether it's collaborating with my manager or de-stressing on our rock-climbing wall, I love what I am doing and I believe I am making a difference.
Working In the Fellowship World
I am going to be honest here: Fellowship obligations do not feel like work. We have monthly Fellowship meetings where we reconnect and discuss our progress and goals of the Fellowship. Each fellow also belongs to a committee. Purdue grad Branden Burke and I manage our Twitter page. I have learned an amazing amount about social media from working with Branden and had a blast in the process. We also have monthly Business Leader Meetings (BLMs) where we meet with leaders in the Indy business world. Some leaders thus far include Angie Hicks (of Angie's List - read Eric Franklin's article), Scott Jones (of ChaCha), and Governor Mitch Daniels.
Fellows do participate in many other activities outside of monthly meetings. We partake in several philanthropies to help improve Indianapolis. Additionally, Orr Fellowship provides an annual retreat for its new members. The retreat is a fun weekend spent at the Edward Lowe Foundation in Cassopolis, Mich. Recently, we had the opportunity to support Fellow and CMO of CoatChex, Ashton Chaffee, with the company's debut on ABC's Shark Tank. Although Andy Simmons and I looked goofy with our CoatChex bow-ties, it was for a great, entrepreneurial cause.
Enjoying a Post-Grad World
Indianapolis has a lot to offer its residents, especially recent college graduates. Broad Ripple is an obvious choice to go have a beverage with friends. Downtown Indy and the Keystone Fashion Mall area have nice restaurants and great shopping. There are plenty of exercise classes and community events to keep us engaged as well. Many in the Fellowship enjoy concerts regularly at the Klipsch Music Center. Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan were a few of the recent performers. Although you won't exactly be living like Jason Aldean with a Fellow's salary, you will have plenty to live comfortably and have a good time in the process. I've had no problems surviving.
There is plenty to do outside of Indianapolis as well. Although raised a Boilermaker, I recently ventured to Bloomington to tailgate with Fellows. The IU Fellows were great hosts and did not harass me too much because of my alma mater. A group of us also visited Melissa Jackson's lake cottage in Pennsylvania. We spent the weekend outside grilling, tubing and enjoying the weekend. Even though I left with many bruises from tubing, the trip was definitely a success (below).
Make Your World a Better Place
In short, there are plenty of great opportunities in the Fellowship. Within your host companies, you will gain executive mentorship while making a positive impact. Working in the Fellowship, you will learn from the best Indy has to offer while helping to make the city a better place. Socially, you will have plenty of chances to let loose while making new friends in the process. What are you waiting for!? Sign up today.