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Ag Springboard Teaches Resilience

Posted: March 21, 2014

Jobi Calixte, a consultant at Ernst & Young Accounting Firm, says competing in Ag Springboard helped her to learn resilience and how to overcome obstacles as a professional in today’s work environment.

“After the whole [Ag Springboard] experience … and seeing my strengths and weaknesses, I’m in a better position to fail. If I come across a difficult challenge, it will be easier for me to get back up from that [challenge],” says former Ag Springboard competitor Jobi Calixte, as she reflected on her team’s competition experience. 

 
Calixte focuses on strategic growth and marketing and acquisition work while collaborating with various start-up companies at the E&Y accounting firm in New York. 
 
The Ag Springboard student business plan competition finale is April 10. Finalist teams will present their business plans for start-ups in the food and agriculture sectors and the winning team will receive a grand prize of $7,500. The competition is open to both undergraduate and graduate Penn State students of all majors. 
 
Ag Springboard allowed Calixte to understand that focusing on the future is just as important as evaluating the present. 
 
“As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to see farther than right now and more so weeks and months into your business," says Calixte, adding that it’s critical to not lose focus of the big picture.
 
Calixte and her team pitched the idea of producing coffee from coffee beans cultivated in Haiti. 
 
Although her team did not place in the competition, Calixte emphasized all she learned about entrepreneurship, successful presentation and preparing a business start-up idea throughout her participation in Ag Springboard. She graduated in December 2012 with a B.A. degree in finance, with a focus on economics. 
 
Calixte is now responsible for consulting with US and foreign companies about start-up strategies, performing pre-marketing and acquisition tasks, and providing verification assistance. She is heavily involved in both national and global strategies. 
 
Ag Springboard shaped Calixte’s mindset by enhancing her analytical planning and application. “I find myself being more analytical and trying to step out of processes and out the box,” says Calixte. Her thought process has changed from one driven by passion and personal emotions, to a more rational, forward and realistic viewpoint. 
 
Learning from your team is just as important as learning from other teams in the competition, explains Calixte. Getting to know the other competitors is important “because there is a lot to learn from your peers,” says Calixte. Watching other team dynamics and processes is critical when evaluating your own team’s performance because it can help pinpoint valuable team strengths and weaknesses. 
 
Looking back, says Calixte, Ag Springboard was one very beneficial stepping stone.