One of the best parts of the Franklin experience is the bonds formed with other Frankliners, but what happens to these friendships after graduation? For many they become professional contacts, which is how four alumnae found themselves working together in Minneapolis.

Samantha Solon ’16, Quinn Flanagan ’13, Sydney Anderson ‘12 and Ashton McGinnis '12, who hadn’t even attended Franklin at the same time, could never have imagined they would all end up working together at the same company.

Sydney Anderson '12

The first of the four to join RightSource Compliance, an innovative company taking on the important task of improving the low-income housing situation, was Sydney in December 2012, who then recommended Quinn for a position in June of 2013 immediately after she graduated. Samantha was hired in 2017, and Ashton in 2018, both on the suggestion of Quinn and Sydney. Obviously, just having a contact at a company doesn’t guarantee a position, but they all credit their professional head-starts back to their student leadership experience, which translated into real-world, hirable skills. All four of them were either RA’s, Orientation Mentors or Academic Mentors. Then there were the LLLS positions, volunteer experience and a myriad of student initiatives.

Quinn Flanagan '13

This foundation of leadership, responsibility and initiative has been a huge advantage. As remarked by Ashton, who has the most professional experience of the four outside of RightSource, “The feedback I get from people is that my experience level is so much higher than it should be for a 28 year old, and that’s true in a lot of ways thanks to my student leadership experience at Franklin.” Currently the Associate Director of RightSource’s creative department, Quinn explained why she invited Samantha and Ashton to apply. “It wasn’t ‘let me recommend my friend for this job’, it was ‘let me recommend this person whose work ethic, reliability and creativity I can confidently vouch for’.” Sydney agrees, given that to be a Franklin student, "you have to jump into the deep end, not just to go, but to stay. Because of that shared experience I know we can rely on each other. It’s wonderful to work with people who I know and trust. I can walk away confident that my Franklin colleagues will be able to creatively problem-solve and figure things out.”

Samantha Solon '16

At RightSource, this team of Franklin Alumnae has proven to be versatile and indispensable. They are among the youngest in the company - Samantha in fact is the youngest - yet they have helped the company grow exponentially. As noted by Quinn, “Cool things that have happened in my time at RightSource: we have filed a patent, and I am listed as an inventor on software I played a key role in developing. I have helped to author policy around how the Department of Housing and Urban Development will implement digital signature and document storage, and I have helped to scale the company from 5 people to nearly 50 employees.”

Ashton McGinnis '12

Aside from their different roles in the company, they have all been instrumental in developing the company’s remote work policy and improving its work-life balance. Here too, Franklin played an instrumental role. Sydney, who travels the most out of the four, explained how the Franklin experience helped her to navigate, and love, a life on the road. Speaking about her role in pushing for distributed work she says, “We are not only comfortable living that way, we prefer it. We learned how to live this way at a college where we would be writing our papers on EasyJet so that we could travel to incredible places on the weekends.”

There are several lessons to be learned from the experience of these four alumnae. Samantha, the most recent graduate, was quick to point out that even though it is a small university with a small alumni services department, the quality of the network has more than proven itself. “Networking with alumni, especially those who may have graduated a few years ahead of you, is going to be the easiest path to a job. I found the concept of networking really intimidating after graduation, but what made a difference for me was being open to opportunities (and locations) that I might not have envisioned for myself before.”

These four are also a perfect case for the flexibility and enriching qualities of a Liberal Arts education. According to Samantha “To be successful in any work environment, you need to be able to think critically, problem-solve effectively, express yourself coherently and self-advocate with confidence. My Franklin degree gave me the building blocks for all of those skills. They’ve made me successful in my current position and passionate about an industry I could never have imagined before.” Similarly, Ashton pointed out how, even though they didn’t attend Franklin together or even study the same majors, “we share a common understanding and passion. It also instilled in us the importance of a work-life balance, so now the four of us just combine the two. We didn’t all know each other at Franklin, but today we are friends, colleagues and travel buddies.”

Read the full story in the Alumni Series by Samuel Miller '17.