Chantee Steele will graduate from Drexel's LeBow College of Business in June 2013 and she knows exactly what her next step will be. Chantee has accepted a position at Deloitte LLP, the largest professional services network in the world specializing in audit, financial advisory, tax and consulting. In fact, Deloitte offered Chantee the job in May, almost an entire year before graduation.
"It goes to show the real power of networking," she said.
Chantee is involved in a number of student activities and organizations on campus, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and she is the vice president of the campus chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).
"I attended a few NABA meetings and I thought, this is definitely going to help me in my future," said Chantee. "I learned so much about becoming a successful professional."
It was through her involvement in NABA that Chantee made a connection with her mentor, LeBow College of Business graduate Jesse Rhodes '98.
Jesse and one of his classmates started Drexel's NABA chapter when he was a sophomore in 1994. As its current Philadelphia chapter president, Jesse often returns to campus to participate in NABA events and meetings.
"Chantee and I met at a NABA event," said Jesse. "She saw me at the event and came right up to me and said, 'I want to talk to you'. And it was her determination to make sure we connected that really drew me in."
In the following days, Jesse and Chantee kept in touch over e-mail and scheduled a time to meet for lunch on campus.
"I never intended to use Jesse for an internship or a Co-op, it was more about getting to know him and his experiences with NABA," said Chantee. "Eventually Jesse introduced me to a lot of professionals and I was sure to keep in contact with everyone that I met."
Jesse explained what that first meeting with Chantee was like for him.
"We talked and had great dialogue," he said. "I could tell that she was vested, that she was someone who gets it. She was thinking about graduation and about her future and she was only a sophomore at the time. Over time I became a cheerleader for Chantee. I would tell people that she is great and that she's not just interested in getting a job; her interests are broader."
Jesse, who is a senior manager at Deloitte, also sang Chantee's praises to his colleagues within the firm.
"We know what it takes to be successful at Deloitte and she was showing all of those signs," said Jesse. "Deloitte offering her the job came from us already knowing her through her constant involvement and her efforts to meet the right people."
And while she may have accepted the position at Deloitte, Chantee's relationship with Jesse is far from over.
"I know I'll be asking him for help and advice all the time!" said Chantee. "I still have a lot to learn from him."
In addition to Chantee, Jesse is a mentor to several students and professionals. He says that he loves mentoring because it keeps him honest, and it gives him the opportunity to offer others what he never had.
"As a mentor I'm trying to embrace NABA's motto, lifting as we climb," said Jesse. "I'm lifting up the next generation as best as I can. I have learned lessons that I can share with Chantee so she doesn't have to learn them the hard way. And now her job is to lift someone else up."
Chantee is also a 2012 recipient of the Drexel University Alumni Association's Leadership Scholarship, president of Drexel's Black Student Union, vice president of the Multi-Cultural Greek Council on campus, and is a mentor in the Pennoni Honors College.
For more information on the Drexel University Alumni Association's Scholarship Program, including the Alumni Legacy Scholarship available to children and grandchildren of Drexel alumni, click here.