Every Praxis grad has a unique success story. Some go on to start their own companies. Others become masters in a specific skillset. Most of them grow quickly into new roles and responsibilities no matter where they are. We recently sat down with Praxis grad Elisa Serrano. Here’s what she had to say about her Praxis experience:
What was the most valuable part of Praxis to you?
The most valuable part of Praxis to me was the feedback I was constantly given. Everyone there is to help you succeed and will do anything they can to do so.
What company did you apprentice for? What did you do there and what did you learn?
I started at VitusVet as a Sales Development Representative. When people hear sales they have so many preconceived notions that come to mind but having this experience was extremely valuable to me. I’ve never been the type of person to talk on the phone much but this taught me confidence in my voice, not only for me but also the company. I learned resilience and self-discipline. You get shot down a lot as an SDR but you really learn how to use that as a learning experience to move forward stronger in the future. It was really important to also have the communication between your fellow SDRs and supervisors because they can be very encouraging and see things in a different way than you. My team happened to work remotely so I had to learn how to stay on task and really focus on the goal at hand while working from home.
What were you doing before Praxis? What are you doing now?
Before Praxis I was working in a Montessori Elementary school, which I loved but knew the tech industry was the place I wanted to be in the most. After Praxis I have worked at a website called Basic Invite, and now work at a tech company called Thumbtack.
What was most surprising about your program experience?
Everyone in Praxis takes you seriously because they want you to succeed. It’s scary going into a new company or program while feeling like you might not be good enough but they make you feel empowered and important.
What are the top 3 skills you gained from your apprenticeship?
What are your career goals moving forward?
I want to stay in the tech industry but have several fields in it that I am interested in. I am focused on recruiting and talent acquisition currently but have thought about moving into social media or onboarding. Luckily, my company really cares about us as employees and wants us to discover and grow where we are interested in.
What was the biggest thing you accomplished because of Praxis?
The experience I gained. Some people are so surprised I have already built up my résumé while they’re not even done with college yet. It feels great to know what I want and know that I am more than capable of getting it.
What advice would you give to someone starting the program?
Use the resources they give you! Praxis works for you if you work hard for Praxis. This experience will be whatever you make it out to be. Your advisors are there to help you through every step of the way and offer incredible feedback with whatever projects you have.
Get to know Elisa
After high school I quickly jumped into my my first classes of college because that’s the normal thing to do, right? I also started a job in the education field, at a Montessori school, working as a teacher assistant in the classroom while working with the Title 1 program. I had no experience besides my random odd job babysitting gigs. I wanted to learn as much information about the program and what I needed to be successful in my position. I was new and I was the youngest. Being thrown into it though I caught on quickly. I was the youngest and newest but I was going to be the best. My lead teacher trusted me to take over the class while she was out of town for two weeks. I increased my students reading scores by 2+ years. I soon figured out that I was learning more by my hands on experience at the school I was working at than sitting in a classroom. I was taking classes I had no interest or passion for. There was classes I HAD to take that had no value to my end goal. I had no interest in them making it hard to stay motivated. I was surrounded by classmates who were there because again, going to college right out of high school is what you’re suppose to do. I found myself needing more. I have decided to expand on the skills I have developed and invest in myself.
By joining Praxis I [gave] myself the opportunity to open myself to a group of people who also break the mold to encourage my growth. I get the hands-on experience I wouldn’t get from professors who are long out of the field. I am using the time others are in class to build my personal brand. I can show future employers I have worked hard and have the portfolio to prove it. I have the chance to… BREAK THE MOLD.”