Alumni Perspective: Erin Renee Griffith

Degree and graduation year: Bachelor of Science in Labor and Employment Relations, 2016

Current hometown: Akron, Ohio

Current career and workplace: President of Summit Building Services, LTD.

What does a typical workday look for you?
A typical workday starts with responding to emails from clients and text messages from employees. Throughout the day, I’m communicating with employees about projects requested by our clients, managing the operations of our existing cleaning contracts, and prospecting for new clients.

How did you get into the field you are currently working in?
Prior to enrolling as a Penn State World Campus student, I worked in sales management for a cutlery company. It was there that I learned I had a real passion for people and their development, both personally and professionally. After relocating to Akron, Ohio, I sought many positions in human resources, but was ultimately hired by a large cleaning company. I really enjoyed the job, primarily working with staff to provide the best service for our customers. I never would have imagined it, but I now run my own cleaning company.

How has Penn State World Campus impacted your career?
Penn State World Campus allowed me to plan my wedding (spring semester 2015), get married and go on my honeymoon (summer semester 2015), plan and launch my company (fall semester 2015), obtain the company’s first clients and hire our first employees (spring semester 2016), and graduate with my bachelor’s degree on May 7, 2016. Without the flexibility of World Campus, I would not have been able to accomplish all of these things.

What were some of the challenges you faced when you were a World Campus student and how did you overcome them?
As I mentioned, I was very busy during my time as a World Campus student. I was an employee, a girlfriend/fiancée/wife, a stepmom, and I held a leadership position in our church. The only time I can remember feeling extremely overwhelmed was my first semester of spring 2015. I was convinced I could not handle taking six classes in addition to everything else going on in my life. My adviser, Julia Glover, did not recommend taking that many classes to start, but I was adamant and wanted to graduate as soon as possible. I was able to overcome the challenges of all these responsibilities through strict time management. My calendar was color-coded with every assignment, meeting, and household chore that I needed to accomplish. By having a schedule that planned out all of my assignments day by day for the semester, it allowed me to focus on what needed to be done on that day. I worked this schedule around my paid employment, family activities, and still found time for fun.

How do you stay connected with Penn State?
One of the first things I did after moving to Akron was to seek out our closest alumni chapter. Being a Nittany Lion in the Buckeye State is not always an easy thing. In joining the Akron-Canton chapter, I gained a new family to love and support me as a student. I now manage the social media presence for our chapter and participate on our board to plan events.

What is some advice that you would give to current Penn State World Campus students?
#1: Break each of your classes into daily, easy-to-accomplish chunks, and put them in a calendar. The key to preventing stress is properly managing your time.

#2: Find the closest chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association and reach out to them! Many have football watch parties, picnics, scholarships, and professional connections that could not only help you while you’re working on your degree, but also provide great networking opportunities after you graduate.