As the sun beams through the windows of the Scheinfeld Center, it is nowhere near as bright as the smile that radiates from its director sitting behind the desk.
In 2014, Julie Samson took on the role as executive director of The Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at City College. From then on, she has been a supporter of students and members of its community towards achieving their goals in business entrepreneurship, such as marketing, finances and community outreach.
“The Scheinfeld Center is all about helping entrepreneurs shine, so my responsibilities are aligned with that.” said Samson as she engaged in a conversation about the work she does within the center and her regional responsibilities.
A Colorado native, Samson spent time in Bend, Oregon before settling in sunny Santa Barbara.
With a master’s degree in professional communications from Westminster College, Samson has also been a small business owner for over 20 years. Some of which were successful while others were not.
Although achieving success is important to many of the students Samson mentors, she makes sure to make it aware that “whether or not you feel sufficient for the challenge before you is not the measure of your readiness or capacity for success,” but that most importantly it is surrounding oneself with support from people that believe in you.
City College student Saturne Tchabong, an international relations major, doesn’t fail to mention Samson’s great sense of style, but how interning under Samson’s wing has influenced her to see how powerful women are.
“Julie has helped me to see what being a strong woman in power looks like,” said Tchabong. “Not only has she set a great example for me, but she has also taught me communication skills that are very vital in the world of business.”
Samson’s commitment in helping her students gain hands-on experience has pushed her to make changes in bridging the gap between college and the work force. Of which one of her mentee’s has found helpful along with the personal skills she has acquired interning with Samson.
“I have had the opportunity to work for Julie as an intern and learn not only the professional skills necessary to succeed in the business field, but also personal skills such as integrity, persistence and passion needed to thrive as an influential business leader,” said Daisy Mendez, an international business student.
Samson’s interns have made it known that it is “very rare” to meet someone like her. Having a mentor like Samson has made it possible for them to envision themselves working as strong leaders in the future.
While being a mentor is one of her duties, Samson has also played a key part in the development of The New Venture Challenge that has taken place at City College for the past six years. The challenge is a “shark tank” competition that takes place on campus each spring allowing college students from Santa Barbara County and high school students from the area to submit a pitch of a business plan or idea.
“It’s all about teamwork and having clarity of the outcomes we want that drives our daily tasks,” said Samson. “We will have a great event this year.”