The Campuswide Honors Alumni Chapter was proud to host its first Honors Alumni Spotlight Webinar Series on October 30, 2020, by featuring entrepreneur and Campuswide Honors alumna Julie Schechter. Graduating from UCI in 2007 with majors in Dance and Global Cultures, Julie then went on to earn her law degree from Harvard University. After working as an attorney for several years, Julie decided to pursue entrepreneurship in order to express her creativity. She began her first business, fitBallet, which provided live fitness classes to New Yorkers. Seeking to reach a larger audience and to start a product-based rather than service-based business, Julie subsequently founded Small Packages. Small Packages provides pre-curated care packages to send during life’s various events, helping to connect people and overcome the physical distances that exist between us.
During the webinar, which was facilitated as a conversation between Julie and CHC alumni board Vice President of Membership and Programs Arlene Ho (2015), Julie shared with the audience of honors alumni how she was able to start her own businesses and what she learned along the way. She noted that business is dynamic and daily challenges are expected to arise; therefore, a necessary quality of an entrepreneur is to be risk tolerant and chaos seeking. For those interested in pursuing this path, Julie emphasized that there is a tremendous amount of information available online. In the early stages of her business endeavors, she joined online communities to connect with other business owners, and recently, she took over digital marketing for her company with the help of affordable online courses. These virtual communities were an invaluable resource, introducing her to people who were open to sharing advice, offering a second opinion, and providing moral support. Julie advised of the importance of not only forming relationships during her journey, but of also maintaining them. Her company, Small Packages, was designed to do just that.
An alum in attendance shared their thoughts about this webinar:
As someone who has aspired to start a business one day, it was very interesting for me to hear Julie’s perspective. The online formatting of the event made it possible to learn from an alumni living on the east coast as I participated from the west coast. The Honors Alumni Spotlight Webinar Series also helped to connect fellow alumni in the audience. At one point in the webinar, Julie reminisced about her experience being an honors student and, in particular, her time as a resident in the Shire. This sparked commentary from and conversations between alumni who had also lived in the Shire in the comments box; it was great to feel the sense of community that characterizes Campuswide Honors. I look forward to participating in future webinars of the series and learning from other alumni who have embarked on various career paths.
You can learn more about Small Packages and support Julie’s business at https://smallpackages.co/. If you are interested in speaking as a part of the Honors Alumni Spotlight Webinar series, let us know by completing our Alumni Involvement Form at http://honors.uci.edu/alumni/how-to-get-involved/.
Contributed by Ece “AJ” Tan ‘17