ASI Alumni Interview: Chris Wyrick

ASI Alumni Interview: Chris Wyrick

Chris Wyrick, ASI President 2007-2008, at Pizza with the Presidents

Chris Wyrick, ASI President 2007-2008, at Pizza with the Presidents

What is the best thing about ASI?

I was involved with ASI for three years. I liked my involvement for a couple of reasons. One of the things that I really liked was just being able to see the inner-workings of the university and being involved with so many different things that as a non participating student government member I would have never seen. In the Student Government president position especially, you get to see a lot more. It’s kind of sad that students don’t get to see that kind of stuff.

When I was a commuter student, I could care less. But it was fun to see all those different moving parts both at ASI and the University. That added so much more to my college experience and I have so much more respect for how colleges operate. Especially being the ASI president my senior year, that was a nice closure piece for me so I could say that I’ve done everything that I could as a student at Cal Poly Pomona.

Employed at ASI:
2005-2006: ASI Elections Chair
2006-2007: ASI Attorney General
2007-2008: ASI President

Major: Finance, Real Estate and Law
Graduated: 2008

Committee Involvement: 15-20 committees

Currently employment: C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
Job title: Account Manager for two and a half years

What professional skills did you learn while working at ASI that you use in your current job?

I think just understanding and appreciating how businesses operate. By that, I mean appreciating the different working arms within organizations and the different roles that they play and how they all impact companies in different ways. This is important to me because now I’m in more of a strategic selling mode where I’m talking to higher-level contacts, so appreciating what things managers oversee and understanding their workload and how they are pulled in different ways is helpful to know.

Also, appreciating what is impacting how their opinions are formed and understanding the pressures that are put on decision-makers in higher roles and how they look at things a little more strategically from a top-down perspective.

What really motivates you?

I am really driven by wanting to learn as much as I can in any situation. For instance, when I was at Cal Poly Pomona, I decided if I was going to be a super senior that I was going to get the biggest bang for my buck! I was going to learn and experience everything so that I would walk away from college with an understanding that I tapped Cal Poly Pomona as a resource as best as I could and I got everything out of that experience that I could.

That’s the same thing that I am doing with my career right now. I always challenge my boss to push me and to help me learn something new to drive my career and to make more money. I expose myself to new things that we are doing as a company and that motivation of learning extends to more responsibility. I’m never satisfied with where I’m at.

How has ASI shaped you as a leader?

I think as ASI President, the first time I ever had a direct report which was my administrative assistant  in the Student Government Office. It gave me that appreciation of becoming a manager in the sense of having a direct report and understanding the different aspects of being involved with management, dealing with issues and advocating for your employees.

I think that the experience helped shaped me a leader and helped me to understand group dynamic and how to motivate people to be successful. You don’t want to micromanage employees too much. You want to give them leeway so they feel like they have some creative license. If you want to get people onboard with a specific topic that you support, I learned how to do that with dialogue. ASI helped me to identify my management and leadership style.

Who is your role model after you graduated from Cal Poly Pomona?

One of my role models is K.J. Schmit, an old general manger that no longer works with our branch. We would go get lunch and talk business and he would always foster that “what are you doing for you mentality.” He would ask me: “what are you learning, and how are you pushing the envelope?” He always appealed to me because he was never satisfied and he helped to instill that in me.

How do you plan to make an impact at your workplace?

I like to work hard and I like to play hard. I like to have fun while I’m working. Our jobs can be very mundane so I try to build a positive environment. Sometimes when I’m not having a great day it impacts other people so they feed off of my energy so I try to be positive as much as I can. Having a positive attitude and creating positive relationships can impact your workplace.

What do you think your most memorable experience was at Cal Poly Pomona?

My most memorable experience was being AS President. I had a great time at Cal Poly Pomona and made great friendships. I met my girlfriend, or soon to be fiancé, there. All of those things were great but what I am going to carry with me for the rest of my life is being ASI President. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are 20,000 students that go to Cal Poly Pomona and not many of them can say that they had this experience.

Chris and his fiancé, Chelsea Harbin, met at Cal Poly Pomona.

Chris and his fiancé, Chelsea Harbin, met at Cal Poly Pomona.

What was the best advice you got while working at ASI?

I got a lot of great advice from many people. One of the things that really stays with me is something that I took from Cora Culla, executive director of ASI. When Cora was going through health issues she would be on the phone talking to me about the Rec Center or whatever needed to be immediately addressed and she would not let anything stop her from working. Her positivity all the way through that difficult challenge was so great—her act of selflessness was humbling for me. Her dedication was impressive and I got advice from Cora by just watching her. It’s about staying positive and understanding that other folks count on you to do your job. That girl is in a league of her own.

If you could change on thing about ASI, what would you change?

I wish that ASI could find a better way to communicate to students exactly the role that we play in their everyday lives. I know we always try to do it through the Student Government Outreach Tour but it’s never successful. I wish that we could we could download it in the students minds like in the movie, “The Matrix.”

I wish that ASI could make more of an impact at the university regarding studies and the educational side of things. Students don’t know that ASI can’t make an impact on colleges or classes. I think entities like the Bronco Student Center and the Rec Center will increase awareness of ASI’s role.

What advice do you have for a current ASI student employee?

Step outside your comfort zone early and often and get involved in stuff that you might not be familiar with.

What would you recommend to a Cal Poly Pomona student to encourage them?

The one thing I wish I did when I graduated was I wish I got involved with an internship at Cal Poly Pomona. That’s the one thing I didn’t do because I was lost at the end of my college career. Finding a job when you graduate is hard. I would recommend going through an internship earlier rather than later because it’s going to take a lot longer than you think to get a job.

Also, swallow your pride. To think you are going to make a lot of money when you get out of college or that you’re entitled to it is a little bit far-fetched. Take the time to find a place that you really fit and you feel like it’s a good environment for you to work in. I wish I had done that because I my first job out of college I got stuck at a job that paid just $11 an hour but I needed to pay bills at that time.

There are a lot of avenues through campus that are available like professors and the Bronco Athletic Association. It took me two years to find my current job and I just got promoted.