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For the NEXTernship program, I shadowed Mark Ledogar, the Senior Vice President and Principal of One Smooth Stone, an event and communications agency outside of Chicago. Not only did Mark provide me with an accurate portrayal of the event management industry, but was also a great example of a full-time work schedule. One Smooth Stone is a small but well-managed and effective business. Mark and his co-workers take pride in spending time and care to plan and manage their clients’ events. Mark respects and cares for his co-workers, but also has high standards for them. With his positive attitude and strong work ethic, he creates a light-hearted but diligent work environment. During my shadowing day, Mark showed me one of One Smooth Stone’s ongoing events. All of the employees at the event were relaxed and in control of the event, and more than willing to talk about their experiences in the industry.

Mark is an admirable and successful businessman, but also exemplifies a passionate alumnus. He uses his event management skills to plan Northwestern events, and is involved in the Board of Trustees, the Alumni Association, and Homecoming. He reflects his “purple pride” through his continued involvement with improving the undergraduate experience.

This experience allowed me to think about my future after graduation and gain insight into the real-world and what it entails. It also showed me how I can continue to have an impact on Northwestern even after I leave. The NEXTernship was a fantastic way to network with alumni, think about the future, and appreciate Northwestern’s amazing education and resources.

Becca Smith is a sophomore Communication Studies major interested in a career in the Event Management industry.