StratComm students gather advice from Aramark VP

Entry into the “real world” can seem a little less daunting when college students hear success stories from those in their field.

Autumn Bayles, who recently spoke to a group of students from Ronald Denbroeder’s Communicating Leadership class at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication, has acquired a lot of knowledge and insight through her positions as senior vice president of strategic operations for Tasty Baking Company and her current position as vice president for strategic development at Aramark.

Bayles, who has made her mark as a successful  executive in the greater Philadelphia area, had these tips to share:

Internships are stepping stones: Many students have a specific vision or job they want. It’s important to realize internships can be the path to land your dream job. Bayles spoke highly of her internship experiences, explaining, “Internships are good because they build broadness backed up by real experience on your resume, making it more attractive to potential employers.  It also gives you an opportunity to ‘test-drive’ industries and functional areas.”

Bigger business is a different experience than smaller organizations: According to Bayles, “The bigger the company you work for, the bigger the organizational complexity.” This was especially true during her time at Tasty Baking Company, where she said the smaller, more intimate environment allowed for more access to her co-workers and more time to get to know them. In bigger businesses, everything isn’t as flexible.  However, given the added complexity, bigger businesses can offer different kinds of challenges to tackle.

Be a people-person: How one interacts with fellow professionals is of crucial importance. Networking and establishing connections with people can make the difference in someone who is successful versus someone who is not. Despite the competitiveness of this field, Bayles stressed the importance of being nice to people and to stand up for yourself when people are not being nice to you, citing the fact that, “Having tough skin helps.”

Bayles was able to give great professional advice to the group of Temple students. Concluding her presentation on professionalism and successful careers, she left the students with this quote from Benjamin Franklin: “We will find a way, or make one.”


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