Recent graduate Adrian Hattan made way to Weatherhead and Cleveland by way of Pace, Florida. Now, after a successful (and busy!) four years, he's officially a 2020 Fellow for Venture of America. Learn more about Adrian's time at Case and Weatherhead and how he landed this opportunity.
1. What year are you and what is your major?
Adrian: I just graduated with a major in Marketing and Business Management with a Concentration in Organizational Leadership.
2. Why did you choose Case, specifically Weatherhead?
Adrian: My grandpa had worked with a great engineer from CWRU and brought me to tour when I was still interested in Biomedical Engineering. I loved my experience visiting the campus, and even though I had changed my desired area of study, I was excited for the resources that CWRU had and the chance to live in Cleveland, a city I always admired. When I was a tour guide I always shared that as a kid, “Cleveland was my Paris,” and, honestly, it still is. CWRU, the WSOM, and Cleveland gave me so much in my four years, and I will be forever grateful for all of the experiences and amazing people that I met.
3. What concepts, professors or classes stick out to you during your time at Weatherhead?
Adrian: Dr. Anita Howard taught me about collective leadership and leadership as a collective force of every-day decision-making. This completely changed the way I look at life, and this learning in my first semester SAGES class propelled me forward into all of my leadership experiences at CWRU. Richard Buchanan taught me the definition of “creativity as a change in perceptions.” He also facilitated the creation of a board game with two of my dear friends, a project that taught us so much about creativity and earned us an Honorary Mention at Baldwin Wallace University’s IdeaLabs competition. Corinne Coen showed me the importance and joy of working to understand others and expressing empathy intentionally. Samantha Erskine reminded me of the necessity of standing up for others while owning your identity. I have spent a lot of time at CWRU working with diversity and inclusion efforts, and her class added so much great theory and business examples to that work. I feel very lucky to have learned from such dynamic leaders.
4. How do you think Weatherhead has prepared you for life after graduation?
Adrian: Weatherhead has prepared me for life after graduation in many ways. Because of the emphasis on presentations and group work, I feel that I’ve really gotten the chance to learn from those around me. Additionally, taking classes and working with people from STEM backgrounds is hugely beneficial in sharpening technical language and understandings. I feel that my course load still allowed for participation in a lot of extracurricular activities where I could really put my learning into practice. I have also been introduced to so many great individuals here, and I know that I belong to a class of rising leaders.
5. What (if any) extracurricular activities on campus or internships did you participate in while you were a student?
Adrian: During my time at CWRU, I’ve been involved with Sigma Nu Fraternity, as a member and as the President. I’ve also worked at the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women since my freshman year, which led me to get involved as the Greek Life Inclusion Chair. I spent every summer in Cleveland, working as a campus Tour Guide my first summer, working for Estee Lauder at Nordstrom my second summer, and working as a Digital Marketing Intern at Brandmuscle during my third summer. My work at Estee Lauder led me into my involvement as a Research Assistant in the Sociology department. I’ve worked with Dr. Cassi Pittman Claytor to research beauty industry racism and the difficulties surrounding inclusive marketing. I’m now working with her as a marketing assistant to prepare for the September release of her new book. I’ve been a member of Student Turning Point Society for all four years, I spent a year and a half as a Representative for the Undergraduate Student Government, I spent 2 years as an Emerging Leaders Program Facilitator, and I got to be an Orientation Leader one year. I really tried to take advantage of every opportunity I was given, and that opened so many doors!
6. Talk about Venture For America – what is it, what will you be doing, what was the application process like, etc.?
Adrian: I first learned about Venture For America when I ran into a Cleveland Fellow at a CreativeMornings event in Ohio City. As she told me about her work, I knew I had to learn more about VFA. I got home, looked up the program, realized the opportunity, and then started the application process. VFA is all about mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs by matching recent graduates with startups in cities with emerging entrepreneurship ecosystems! This allows for an incredibly powerful network of young business leaders to be formed, in addition to bringing talented graduates to cities outside of the traditional bubbles of NYC and the Bay Area. I found out that I already knew some VFA Fellows that were CWRU grads, and I reached out to them for help. Everyone gave me great feedback and advice throughout the process. After making it forward a few rounds, I traveled to New Orleans for the Selection Day interviews. Though it was certainly the most unique interview experience that I’ve had, everything ended up working out in my favor! Now, as a 2020 Fellow, I will be participating in a Virtual Training Camp for the month of July, where I will meet the ~230 other Fellows and learn skills that I can bring forward into the startup where I will work for the next two years. The Match process has just started, so I will Pitch myself and be Pitched to by startups partnered with VFA. The interview processes with each startup looks similar to a normal job search, but the added component is that they’re ready to support a Fellow’s growth and learning. This gives me some extra stability when beginning a career in startups. VFA has a presence in 14 cities, including Cleveland, so I hope to stay nearby, especially to aid in the recovery from COVID-19. I am looking at marketing and product management roles, and I’m excited to see where I will land! For the startups, they can be assured that they are meeting great candidates, as the Class of 2020 had an 11% acceptance rate and nearly half of the 2020 Fellows have already started their own company. The people that I have met so far have already inspired me so much, and I know that this network will be tremendously valuable throughout my future! I’m grateful for CWRU and the WSOM for helping me to get here.
7. What are your long-term goals post-graduation?
Adrian: My long-term goals include starting a company or working closely with structuring a company in a non-traditional hierarchy, understanding and working towards making a responsible economic impact in my community, and holding the door open for people traditionally kept at the margins while highlighting the prosperity of working in diverse, robust teams. I also hope to help create more support for LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurship and more education surrounding allyship in the world of startups. I have a lot of passion and knowledge for the beauty industry, and I’d love to explore that more. Additionally, I would love to find more ways to use my platform as a young leader to empower others towards their massive potential. I love learning about organizational behavior and positive psychology, and I hope to continue infusing those fields throughout my leadership and daily life.
8. What advice do you have for an incoming Weatherhead student?
Adrian: Constantly seek and evaluate opportunities, especially at the beginning of your time at CWRU! If you try out a bunch of different activities in the beginning, it will allow you to find your true passions, along with things you can become involved with that will energize you rather than drain you. If you do this from the very start, you can build a powerful network early, and that will be so helpful to have throughout your college experience versus just at the end. Have courage and be kind! Meet everyone you can and be curious. Find some stationary and deliver hand-written letters when someone helps you. Put your gratitude out into the world—don’t keep it unsaid.
Want to learn more about Adrian, his time at Weatherhead and his plans for the future? Connect with Adrian!