This year, the Lerner College celebrated eight excellent alumni at its 27th annual Alumni Awards of Excellence. In the Alumni Spotlight blog series, we’ll get to know these professional trailblazers with Q&A sessions.
We begin the Alumni Spotlight blog series with alumna Esther Sportello, winner of Lerner’s inaugural Rising Star Alumni Award. Sportello (second from right), is pictured above with Lerner Dean Bruce Weber (far left), and members of the Lerner Advisory Board Alyson Filippone (second from left), partner at EY, Class of ’01, B.S. in accounting, and Joseph Biloon (far right) director and retirement planning specialist at Financial House, Inc., Class of ’99, B.S. in business administration. The Rising Star Award recognizes recent alumni who exemplify the qualities and spirit of Lerner’s Alumni Awards.
Sportello, who graduated with her bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2012, is an accomplished product manager at Capital One and an active Lerner alumna. Read on to learn more about her journey to becoming the first ever Lerner Rising Star Award winner:
Q: How does it feel to be selected for the Rising Star Award?
A: It’s a great feeling, I’m grateful and immensely proud. I’m honored to be considered Lerner’s inaugural Rising Star, striving to make a difference while being a corporate citizen and mentoring the next generation of Blue Hen business leaders.
Q: What made you decide to pursue a business degree?
A: Like most high schoolers, I didn’t know what I wanted to study in college, but what my parents did make clear was that entering college without a major was not an option. My parents are business owners, and growing up, I watched them build their business from scratch, dealing with an array of challenges and triumphs. I decided to become a business major to gain a broad set of transferable skills I could leverage later when I faced challenges or decision points, like my parents had.
I ultimately graduated as an accounting major and started my career in public accounting. With a few twists and turns, I’m now a digital product manager, bridging the gap between technology and business, leveraging what I learned with my business degree every day.
Q: What opportunities did you have during your time at the Lerner College, and how have these opportunities influenced your future career?
A: The two resources I utilized the most were Lerner’s Career Services Center, led by Jill Panté, and Delta Sigma Pi, the business fraternity. Each of these provided invaluable opportunities like learning how to network, mock interviews, dressing for success, and so many more skills I used to get my first job and still use today.
Q: Why do you decide to give back to the Lerner College?
A: I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors and role models in my life, some who I’ve stumbled upon and some who have found me. They have always been there to provide advice, support and play devil’s advocate for me. They have truly helped me navigate my career and make the best decisions for me. Who knows where I’d be without these great mentors to lean on? I give back through volunteering because I want to help Lerner students the way so many people helped me.