How Philly tech found this college grad a home: Alyssa Dingwall - Technical.ly Philly

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Nov. 5, 2013 12:30 pm

How Philly tech found this college grad a home: Alyssa Dingwall

I wrote an article for Technical.ly Philly detailing that frustration I felt after receiving positive feedback from 13 job interviews but no job offers. My goal was to bring some awareness to the hiring situation for young college graduates in Philadelphia, and I hoped to maybe gain a connection or two. It worked.

The Philadelphia skyline from the South Street Bridge in October 2013.

(Photo by Christopher Wink)

Editor's Note: This April, Alyssa Dingwall wrote a guest commentary describing her frustration about finding a challenging second career path in Philadelphia. Doing so helped her get placed with a company, and this is that story.
Full Disclosure: Technical.ly Philly is a tenant of the building in which First Round Capital has its headquarters.

Earlier this year, I was frustrated.

I wrote an article for Technical.ly Philly detailing that frustration I felt after receiving positive feedback from 13 job interviews but no job offers. My goal was to bring some awareness to the hiring situation for young college graduates in Philadelphia, and I hoped to maybe gain a connection or two.

It worked.

The amount of feedback I received — positive, negative and otherwise — was astounding. A few people asked me to send my resume, while others criticized the lack of professional background I included in the article, which wasn’t meant to be a job ask at all, but showed people were reading and interested.

Some peers applauded me for speaking up and could empathize with my situation, while others told me to stop whining: ouch.

One local leader I failed to mention in my piece — First Round Capital managing partner Josh Kopelman — reached out to me and asked to meet. After picking my jaw up off the floor, I quickly accepted his offer. I visited him at his beautiful space in University City to discuss my ambitions, and what avenues I thought I could follow to achieve my goals.

I was prepared for battle: I had a 30 second pitch ready, and expected to spend little more time with Kopelman. When he entered the room wearing a t-shirt that read “I’m not angry, I’m from Philly,” I finally took a breath. I honestly can’t remember the details of what we spoke about.

Kopelman is a seriously intent listener, but he rarely reveals clues about what he is thinking. He had a couple people to put me in touch with, but could not guarantee anything past an initial meeting. Then, he said, it would be all up to me.

I am now happily employed as a market developer at Center City image analytics firm Curalate (a First Round Capital portfolio company, you’ll note) and have been here for six months. My days are spent identifying, researching and pitching prospective clients, crafting email messages, among other tasks.

I work with some of the coolest, smartest and most talented people I have ever met. Work challenges are exhilarating, and I love the chance to voice my opinions and follow through on ideas. As a bonus, our team is currently 40 percent women, which I’m obviously a fan of.

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ryan werner alyssa dingwall curalate

Alyssa Dingwall and Ryan Werner, both Curalate employees who got Curalate’s attention in unconventional ways.

In true “Philadelphia is a small world” fashion, my peer and desk-neighbor Ryan Werner and I were friends in college, but had no idea that we were both being hired by Curalate.

Philadelphia is gaining traction as a great city to found a company in, and I fully support that shift. We are a smaller community than the big traditional bi-coastal startup hubs, but that doesn’t put us at a disadvantage. I am confident that if my piece was published in a similar vein in a different city, I would not have attracted the attention of anyone on the Forbes Midas List of top tech investors in 2012 and 2013.

Not every young college graduate can write a guest post and be hand-selected for a role: I’m lucky in that way. So this isn’t meant to be a solution for everyone, it’s meant to show that there is a community willing to work to build our creative class and this is a place to build  a career.

While I believe that I have thanked Josh Kopelman as profusely as I am able, I know that the best way I can show my sincere appreciation is to continue to live and work here in Philadelphia, and contribute to our community, which is exactly what I plan to do.

So thanks Philly, for being your awesome self. I would not be here without you.

Companies: Curalate
People: Josh Kopelman
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