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May 05th, 2023

Dual Success: HPU Helps Strickler Sisters Conquer Career Goals

Both will jumpstart their careers by joining GeorgiaPacific in Atlanta, Georgia.
Lauren and Sloan Strickler, fraternal twins from Newburyport, Massachusetts, are heading south after graduation from High Point University to make a double impression with one of the world’s largest manufacturers of paper and pulp products.

Both are joining the Jumpstart Associate Program at Georgia-Pacific in Atlanta, Georgia. They agree HPU prepared them for the 12-to-18-month rotational program, where they will go through three different sectors of the company before joining one of many teams within Georgia-Pacific.

“HPU provides its students with many resources to help prepare them for success,” said Lauren, a business administration and marketing major. “From providing me with countless mentors to numerous learning labs, HPU ensures that its students are supported with anything they might need to achieve their goals.

“Through internships, leadership positions and access to the incredible individuals who make up our In-Residence faculty, I have been able to learn things I can apply to my career as HPU has prepared me for how the world is going to be, not just how it is today.”

Lauren and Sloan Strickler at GP

Lauren and Sloan Strickler are pictured outside Georgia-Pacific headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

Connections Build Confidence

Sloan, a finance and sales major, said HPU helped her achieve her goal to become successful and confident in every opportunity she takes and build relationships that last. For example, she recalls Oliver Stoutner, an assistant professor of management and director of HPU’s Business Fellows Program, invited her to attend a dinner at 1924 Prime with Ed Hajim, an author and Wall Street executive with more than 50 years of investment experience. She discovered Hajim was the founder of Nantucket Golf Club in Nantucket, Massachusetts. After connecting with him personally and professionally, she asked him for advice. Hajim told her, “Travel, do something different, work at the Nantucket Golf Club.” She applied the next day. As a result, she interned there last summer delivering customer service and relationship management, while building relationships with some of the world’s top executives.

“My goal while at HPU was to meet as many people as I could and build lasting relationships, and I can confidently say, ‘Mr. Ed Hajim is now a close mentor and friend of mine, thanks to HPU,’” said Sloan.

Sloan also achieved her goal set during high school to intern with CBRE, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate firms. Senior management selected her as a member of its Multifamily Capital Markets Team and entrusted her with oversight of the company’s development pipeline to identify new growth opportunities.

“This experience was so rewarding as I was able to take what I learned back to the classroom and apply both the hard and soft skills to develop at a higher level,” said Sloan. “Looking back, even throughout the interview process, HPU has prepared me with a lifelong skill set of professionalism and taught me the importance of relationship building.”

Lauren Strickler talks with Domino's Pizza CEO Russell Weiner, who she recorded a Q&A session with during her junior year. Lauren Strickler talks with Domino’s Pizza CEO Russell Weiner, who she recorded a Q&A session with during her junior year.

Lauren also worked for Nantucket Golf Club and Ipswich Country Club while an HPU student. One of her most impactful HPU experiences was leading a recorded Q&A session during her junior year with Russell Weiner, CEO of Domino’s Pizza.

“This opportunity allowed me to engage with Russell Weiner on a deeper level, and I was able to learn so much about his background, his progression throughout his career, as well as his advice and wisdom that I’ve taken with me as I’ve moved through my time here at HPU,” said Lauren. “It allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and stretch myself to succeed in a new area, which gave me a newfound confidence. Fast forward to my senior year when he returned to campus, I was able to reconnect with him and talk about future plans. He is someone who has become a mentor to me and will continue to remain one, and an individual who I’ve been privileged to build a relationship with.”

The Impact of Mentorship

The twins worked an externship at the 2023 Masters Tournament. They found numerous mentors and professors who challenged and supported them both inside and outside the classroom at HPU. Both described Larry Quinn, chair of the Department of Marketing and Sales and director of the Professional Selling Program, as not only a mentor and advisor but lifelong friend.

“Professor Larry Quinn encompasses the values of HPU and is an incredible example of what it means to support students in all aspects of life,” said Lauren. “I met Professor Quinn as I was touring HPU, and he immediately introduced himself and offered himself as a resource as I was going through my college search. Fast forward through my four years at HPU, and he has become one of my greatest supporters who helped me refine my leadership skills through serving as the president of the Professional Selling Club, an organization to which I credit much of my growth and success.”

Lauren and Sloan Strickler with Larry Quinn, chair of the Department of Marketing and Sales, in the airplane fuselage inside Cottrell Hall.

Lauren and Sloan Strickler with Larry Quinn, chair of the Department of Marketing and Sales, in the airplane fuselage inside Cotrell Hall.

Sloan said Quinn embodies the values at HPU.

His warm heart, infectious laugh and positive outlook on life touches every student he comes across,” said Sloan. One of his most special qualities is seeing the potential in us, even when we don‘t see it in ourselves. My freshman year, he convinced me to compete in the Two Minute Drill competition. With hours of help and preparation, I placed third out of 50 sales club existing members. He helped me and sold me on the idea of joining the sales program, of which I was a member for all four years and served two years on the executive committee with him as our role model and support system.

Lauren and Sloan made lasting impressions on everyone they encountered on campus, Quinn said. He described them as two of the most extraordinary students he met during his tenure at HPU.

“Lauren and Sloan are standouts for their example of high moral character and strong personal values,” Quinn said. “They radiate a warmth and respect for all every time they enter a room. They are always ready to meet and welcome newcomers, without hesitation. Each is a strong group leader, who motivates her team with a positive energy and a capacity for planning and efficiency to organize and clarify the efforts of her team.”

Leading with Life Skills

Leadership was one of many life skills both Lauren and Sloan refined while at HPU.

Hard work, curiosity and initiative are just some of the life skills and values that HPU has helped me develop in preparation for longterm success,” said Lauren. Curiosity and a love of learning have helped drive me both inside and outside of the classroom.

As I enter my career, I am eager to always learn more so I can continue to grow. With the countless opportunities available on campus by taking initiative, I have been able to reach new heights. If you put yourself out there, it will benefit you long term. In an environment where I have a support system of professors, faculty and most importantly, my family, I have been taught to say yes even when you’re nervous and to try new things because people will always be there for me. If you’re able to take initiative and go out in search of new experiences, you will encounter lifechanging opportunities.

Sloan agreed the life skills she learned at HPU opened opportunities and said knowing how to leverage them ensures lifelong success.

As a business student you are exposed to endless opportunities to help build your life skills, build rapport, challenge yourself, learn from executives and professors who have their own success stories and much more,” said Sloan. I learned to build relationships, talk to my professors, say yes to every opportunity, follow up and make the most out of every experience. Next, I made sure I delivered on the opportunities. I learned to lean into discomfort and to challenge myself while navigating complexity. I was able to put my whole self into what I was doing, and the people around me recognized my drive and passion to succeed and want more. I learned to take opportunities and experiences moving forward in my own life.

I will be a lifelong ambassador for what this university has to offer, and I will continually give back to the HPU community that has given me so much.