Q&A with Drew Riedel
Q&A with Drew Riedel
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Drew Riedel (BSBA ’08) arrived at Fisher and ultimately underwent a journey of self-discovery as he sought his place in the world. Now an account coordinator at CoverMyMeds and a member of 6-1-forte, a local A capella group, learn how the traditions and opportunities he discovered at Ohio State played a crucial role in his path.
What brought you to The Ohio State University?
The Office of Minority Affairs reached out to prospective students in Southwestern states to promote a culture of diversity, and my high school guidance counselor believed I would be a good fit for a Midwestern school. As a Mexican-American from Phoenix, Arizona, I was struck by the difference in climate during my first visit to campus on a cold November day. Then I saw a video of the marching band and knew I’d have a family here. I found myself suddenly and deeply plugged into a history of tradition unlike anything I’d ever known.
I also connected to SPHINX Senior Honorary, the Association of Ohio State Class Honoraries, homecoming court, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, joined the rowing team and ran in campus area marathons. There were many forces at work to bring and keep me here. Serving as an ambassador for diversity shaped my personal narrative during the undergraduate years. In the end, my guidance counselor was right; I love the Midwest. People here are willing to take a chance on you.
How did your experience at Ohio State shape your career path?
Meeting others from all walks of life opened the door for my readiness to engage with the world. Fisher College of Business provided interview preparation, a sense of professional pace and generally pushed me to excel. “Do something great” was a common refrain in those years, challenging me to make my own mark. I took a close look at who I was as a person, as a Buckeye and as a member of society. I was surrounded by people who were moving forward, and I was on that journey with them no matter what.
After graduation, I worked as a caregiver for adults with disabilities. I was able to apply principles from my business degree as an advocate for individuals who offered distinct and refreshing perspectives on the world. As I sensed that opportunity come to a natural close three years later, I received an email from my college about openings in a local Fortune 500 company. That customer service position built upon abilities honed in my previous role, but also brought something new to my skill set. I was able to see a supply chain from top to bottom, learning all that occurs from product conceptualization to distribution.
While I was finding a place for myself in the business world, my love for the creative community continued. As president of a music fraternity in my final year of college, I was challenged to perform and grow musically. I came into Ohio State as a percussionist and left as a vocalist. My mother encouraged the study of business in case I chose to pursue music production. While I didn’t want to produce records, I enjoyed singing recreationally, performing in talent shows — including American Idol auditions, and eventually connected with a 5013C called SNAP Performance Productions. I performed musicals through their final season. When it came to a close, I partnered with friends to form an A cappella group called 6-1-forte, and remain active as a tenor (and part-time soprano).
What advice/insight do you have for Ohio State alumni and students interested in your career field?
Start working. I believe the millennial generation wants meaningful work. Then we come face-to-face with available jobs where the meaning is unclear or our impact seems marginal. My first position out of college wasn’t glamorous, but I dug my heels in. That opened the door for the next opportunity where I had further chance to soak in knowledge. If you know that the next step is out there, go for it full steam. I reached out to available resources for career support, I sought counseling and I spent time in solitude connecting with my values and interests to set a course for my personal vision.
Find people and settings that will cultivate your talents and move you toward your goals. Eventually I landed at CoverMyMeds. I sought an organization that would push me. I knew I wanted to combine my business acumen with an interest in healthcare. The service orientation that drives me is ultimately about healing, and it feels good to be part of a team that aligns with my mission. Seek mentors. For me, they came from church, counseling, peer groups and other sources that helped identify blind spots as well as strengths.
Don’t give up the things that make you feel alive. The arts community has been a huge anchor in my life. If I’m going to make an impact on society, I need to do so in a way that doesn’t neglect my humanity. If you have a side interest, protect it. Maintaining personal identity is critical in the pursuit of inspired, soul-driven work that affects and engages the world around us.
Content provided by The Ohio State University Alumni Association.
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