Mallory Allred (2016 in Art History & History)
Assistant Director at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC
Tell us about your current job role/employer and what you’re currently working on.
I’ve been in my current role at Wake Forest for a year and am loving it: every day I get to work with institutional data and create complex data models which result in powerful, real-time data visualizations.
What was the most challenging aspect of your first “real world job” and what did you learn from it?
The first six months were a difficult transition. I had a month off between graduating and starting my job. Full-time work was a radically different pace than anything I had encountered before. But, I learned that Wake had taught me the skills I needed to persevere through something tough and how to take control over the situation around me.
What advice would you give to new Wake Forest graduates about developing their personal life habits after college?
You’re going to have to be flexible and allow yourself a lot of grace while you find your new rhythm. Rely on things you’ve always liked to help you re-center yourself when you feel out of touch with your own needs. Oftentimes, you’ll find a system that works for you once you’ve already messed up — i.e. I completely forgot to pay a bill on time before I found the spreadsheet system that has worked for me for the last three years.
How have you made personal and professional relationships in your city, company, or community?
At first I was quite nervous and found myself missing all my friends who had left Wake Forest. It took me a while to gain my footing and start reaching out to people and groups which interested me, I had to learn to go at my own pace. The best thing I did was adopt a dog: it got me outside and connect with the rescue she came from and people were always interested to hear about her!
Have you been mentored by anyone at Wake Forest or in your professional life? If so, what impact has that relationship had on you?
Yes! I have found or have been approached by so many people who are willing to mentor me. Mentoring has been a life changing thing for me: it built confidence, helped me find structure, and learn to trust that there were folks who were willing to offer constructive criticism because they fundamentally cared about my growth.
What advice would you give to current Wake Forest students and/or young alumni who are about to start their first professional job?
Give yourself some time to adjust to so many new things and try to find someone who can act as your mentor quickly. Embrace your mistakes as teaching tools and seek guidance from others when you get stuck: never underestimate how powerful saying “I don’t know but I want to find out” can be or how hard it is for others in the work place to say.
What are your future career goals or plans? How are you being intentional about working towards them?
I want to keep progressing along the recent trajectory I’ve set for myself, and I realize that will require additional education at some point. I’m reaching out to folks who inspire me and asking them for advice. Often, they in turn give me action steps and points of growth. It’s been incredibly helpful.
Story published in September 2020. For current updates about Mallory, visit her LinkedIn page.