Amy Panza sitting amidst fall colors

Amy Panza

When Cal State Fullerton’s business college launched the Executive in Residence program in spring 2020 – which connects student mentees with Southern California professionals, many of them alumni, serving as mentors – little did marketing and management senior Amy Panza ’20 know that the experience would not only provide invaluable personal development for her future, but also launch her post-graduation career.

“The biggest thing I took away from the Executive in Residence program was a new way of looking at things,” she says of her semester under the mentorship of former Toyota executive Mike Groff ’78. “I started to think more long-term about how to improve myself and apply that to my career. I started thinking less about a specific job and more about how it would help my goals. I definitely struggled with these things before meeting Mike, but after our meetings, he opened my eyes to many things.”

Earlier this summer, Panza turned to her mentor to decide between two post-graduation career opportunities and ultimately selected an associate media planner role at Revenue Frontier, a Los Angeles-based marketing agency.

“The primary function of my new job is to schedule the purchased media across our various TV stations and platforms to ensure that all media is scheduled to perform the best,” says Panza. “The largest part of this position is data analysis and scheduling.”

Making the Next Moves with the Help of a Mentor

Despite the challenges of the coronavirus-induced worst labor market situation since the Great Depression, Panza received two full-time job offers, a testament to her tenacity and commitment, as well as the preparation afforded students in the Executive in Residence program.

Mentor and mentee compared and contrasted the growth potential and company cultures for each position.

“He gave me a list of things to do before making a decision that included doing research on the work culture, who was running and working for these companies, what the growth opportunities are for these positions, and visiting both offices to envision myself working at each,” says Panza.

“We had spoken in the past a lot about the importance of work culture, so that became something I really focused on in taking this position,” she says. “Another factor was the presence of women in the workforce, which I had not thought of previously, but Mike pointed out to me.”

Launching Your Future Through the Executive in Residence Program

The Executive in Residence program is currently accepting applications from business students for the fall 2020 semester. With 16 mentors across many industries and backgrounds committed to taking the next generation under their wing and contributing to their success, this semester’s program offers even more opportunities to connect and grow.

Panza encourages her Titan peers to take advantage of the program for their best chance of succeeding in our challenging times.

“I do not know how I would have been able to make this decision if it weren’t for Mike,” she says. “He is always giving me a different perspective and making me think about things that I never considered. We have talked about ways that I can improve myself to be successful. I really appreciate being able to have someone to turn to who has been through this before and found a way to be successful.”

Are you a Southern California professional interested in impacting the lives of students such as Panza? Reach out to Cal State Fullerton business college senior director of development Paul Stover at pstover@fullerton.edu to get involved.