“Is the pizza here yet?!?” I sputtered at the new girl as I ran in and out of 150 Dodge Hall at Northeastern University, preparing for another packed room at the Entrepreneurs Club in the winter of 2012. It was Eileen Han’s first club meeting, and she had emailed me several times before to confirm her attendance. It was obvious that she was nervous; as an international student from Korea, Eileen rarely went to big events with mostly American students, always shy about her beginner English skills. It wasn’t until Eileen sent me the most appreciative follow up email I had ever received, that I even began to comprehend how her attitude enabled her to be so special.
Eileen began to send more emails to members of the Entrepreneurs Club’s leadership team, and before we knew it, everyone knew her name. She would post status after status on her Facebook page, recapping her genuine excitement and gratitude for becoming a part of our community at Northeastern. Truth be told, I had never seen anything quite like it: someone so incredibly excited about EVERYTHING, so visibly thankful for each opportunity she earned – Eileen quickly went from a stranger to a centerpiece in our group. By the end of the year, she was the only member invited to our management team’s BBQ and she received an award for her contributions.
After I graduated and took the helm as COO of influencers@, I knew I wanted the continued privilege of working with Eileen. Thanks to recruiting efforts from Matt Bilotti, Eileen joined our team there as an intern last fall. Similar to the Entrepreneurs Club, she started doing simple things like data entry. She was hungry for more, and quickly took on our accounting, bookkeeping, payroll and bank reconciliation responsibilities. She learned fast and just like at the Entrepreneurs Club, went from stranger to expert overnight. Eileen became known as the “rock” of our team – she would bake a cake when we were struggling with a tough week, and always be there with well articulated words of encouragement, which she called an #Eileenism. Once again, I had never experienced an attitude quite like hers.
Eileen’s success so far can be summed up with one word: attitude. Eileen always, and I mean ALWAYS, has the most optimistic, encouraging, positive attitude. When I am depressed, she is upbeat. She’ll pick you up when you fall and carry you to the finish line. It is that attitude that will enable her to succeed beyond most people’s wildest dreams. Similar to Orit Gadiesh, Eileen’s persistence, genuine positive attitude and caring for others will propel her to the top. Make no mistake – that great attitude will be coupled with a tremendous amount of hard work, staying up after everyone else is asleep to study more english. We can all learn an important lesson from Eileen: if you have the right attitude, you can start with nothing, knowing nobody, and quickly take yourself to a position of importance, where you are respected and valued by all. I’m excited to see all of the great things she does in the future, and I’m proud to call her a friend.