By Rachel Schwarz

After graduating from college in May 2010, I was lost. I returned home unemployed and doomed to live with my parents forever. At the end of June, I was fortunate enough to find a job working for Karen Cortell Reisman after what seemed like 1000 interviews over a six-month period. I felt confident, nervous, and desperate all at once. I was ready to have some responsibility. I was very ready for a paycheck.

Initially, working for Karen was a year-long commitment that would help occupy my time until I ventured off to law school. Almost instantaneously, however, it became much more. On day one, I improved the quality of my handshake, which ultimately helped with law school interviews and networking opportunities.

Karen incorporated me into her business and her life. Although I was her employee, she would discuss ideas for speeches with me and allowed me to proofread her powerpoints. I always felt like a team player. As a result, I quickly developed a real connection to Karen’s brand and a dedication to her success.

In this year with Karen, I learned time management skills and found I had self-motivation. I developed my writing skills and utilized my creativity. Most importantly, I got first hand experience working with others in a work place environment. I had people relying on me to get my job done by a certain deadline. I was expected to do everything from mail letters and renew website addresses all the way to re-teaching myself HTML code and creating a Facebook Fan Page and converting files from unknown formats into ones that were able to be burned onto DVDs.

As I journey out to Lexington, Virginia to begin my first year of law school, I will remember not only the technical and personal skills that I learned, but also the incredible growth I underwent. I am an advocate of Karen’s as an employee, friend, and unsuspecting student. My education took place without my knowledge, and as I reflect back on the last fifteen months, I am astounded at how Karen quietly transformed me from an unsure graduate to a self-sufficient future lawyer.

Thank you, Karen, for a wonderful year. Before I present my first closing argument in court, expect an e-mail from me, because I want you looking over my notes, helping me with eye contact and conviction, and once more confirming the strength that you have instilled in me this year.

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