My name is Karina Reyes and thanks to the Greenwood Project, I was able to land my first internship at Northwestern Mutual Chicago this summer.

During my last four years of college, I was always pushed to apply to internships in order to get a taste of what the real world would be like after graduating from Illinois State University. The ultimate dilemma when looking for a work is that you need prior experience in order to land a good paying internship, and most of the time, in order to get that experience one must volunteer their time with non-paying internships first. I, like many other students, cannot afford a non-paying internship to gain experience and knowledge at a well-known firm, hence, rendering me under-qualified in comparison to my peers.

Luckily, thanks to the Greenwood Project, I can explore my interests and have the exposure needed within the finance industry to succeed while working in corporate America.

During my time as an administrative assistant at Northwestern Mutual(NM), I have had the chance to shadow the different departments that all play an important role in helping the company succeed, I have met the managing partner, Corey McQuade, who is a true leader and leads by example, and I have received exceptional mentorship from Tara O’Dea.

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McQuade and O’Dea, among the many other leaders at NM, and the individuals who volunteer their time to the Greenwood Project have all helped me evolve into a much stronger, prepared, and successful person in just a matter of months.

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I’m excited to continue expanding my network and to learn about the different positions available within the finance industry to pursue a career in the business world one day. Many thanks to the Greenwood Project for this opportunity and for selecting me, along with 11 other of my colleagues, to travel to New York for Greenwood’s annual Wall Street Tour.