Senior Caitlyn Reinecker nearly canceled the call that landed her a job with Frito-Lay after graduation.
After a day interning with Hass Group International during winter break, she went to get dinner. She was scheduled to talk with an employee at Frito-Lay that evening, and as she was driving around lost in West Chester, Penn., snow started coming down.
“So I parked my car in this parking lot and talked to her,” she said. “I thought it was just a friendly conversation, and it turned out to be an interview. I sat in my cold car for an hour and a half. I got out of the car and had to shovel it out to leave.”
That call led to another with human resources and a trip to California for an interview in February.
In July, Reinecker, a business administration major with concentrations in marketing and management, will begin her new career in a sales training program in Murrieta, Calif. Over the course of a year, she’ll drive a Frito-Lay truck and stock shelves. From there, she’ll help manage seven sales drivers until she’s given a permanent location to manage her own.
Reinecker’s new job is the culmination of four years of involvement with the business school beginning her senior year of high school.
Reinecker just about decided to go to school at home in Rochester before she spent a night at Ithaca College. She credits the Dean’s Hosts in the business school for changing her mind.
“I wanted to be like them,” she said. “I was really impressed by their professionalism, their knowledge.”
Kate Roberts ’08, a former Dean’s Host who Reinecker connected with at the event, said Reinecker stood out from the other incoming students.
“She’s one of the tiniest people on campus, but her enthusiasm, her attitude and her personality go way beyond her tiny build,” Roberts said. “As a freshman you can be really timid on campus, but she just had her mind set on the opposite direction.”
As a freshman, Reinecker signed up for nearly every business school club. She became most actively involved in the Dean’s Host program, becoming co-chair her junior year, and Peer Advisors, a program for new students. She was also asked to help start Business Link, an initiative to connect alumni and students.
Randy Williams, principal at WMS Consulting LLC, where Reinecker interned, and one of Business Link’s founders, said she has been a driving force in getting it off the ground.
“She’s been a big supporter of getting these regions going and empowering local students and local alumni to step up and make it happen,” he said.
Reinecker also joined a student initiative to encourage the business school to hire a full-time alumni and corporate relations coordinator. In Spring 2010, the school did so, and Reinecker began working for the coordinator. But she didn’t need an official job — she’d been doing this all along.
Her phone often buzzes with text messages and calls from unrecognizable numbers asking about everything from internships to classes. In just a 45-minute-long interview, more than five students approached her for advice, and she even had a lead on an internship for one.
“I love telling people to actually get involved and actually try to make a difference with other students,” she said.
Mark Cordano, associate professor of management, said he teases her about a personality test she took during a leadership retreat in the fall.
“She was listed as a warrior, and that’s quite accurate,” he said. “She has an opinion about what will work out well, and she fights for it.”
Reinecker said personal goals push her. In her three summers as “lemonade girl” at a stadium in high school, she always made top commission.
“Once I achieve something, I just set the bar higher,” she said. “I don’t need a monetary reward. I don’t need a plaque or anything.”
Williams said Reinecker will stand out after graduation.
“Caitlyn is going to be the new breed of alumni for Ithaca College — an alum that as she leaves the school, she’s going to stay connected to the school,” he said.
As she prepares to move across the country, Reinecker said she’s excited for the next chapter of her life.
“I want to start a new thing again,” she said. “It forces me to go out of my way and meet people — not like I have a problem doing that.”