Led by Spirit, Lessons by Northwood

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Jon Krawczyk (’04) dived into the family business before he even graduated, working between semesters. Today, Jon, a native Michigander, is the owner of Superior Pools of Southwest Florida, a pool installation and design company. Jon says Northwood’s focus on leadership, team effort, and individual commitment prepared him for his role today, “I learned a lot about business at Northwood, but the single most rewarding lesson is how to create a brand image,” said Jon. “Marketing and advertising are vital, but without good reviews and a strong brand image, a company gets nowhere.”

Recently named a “40 Under 40” by Business Insider, Jon says his recognition is only meaningful as long as he’s honest and truthful in his work, a valuable trait he learned at Northwood.

From Northwood Homecoming Queen to the queen of tech. For Mindie Kaplan, founder and CEO of Rated VR, a virtual and augmented reality company in New York, the transition has been a learning experience. Mindie has developed her marketing career thoughtfully, doing her time in the industry for over a decade – learning the ropes in media and branding at Microsoft, Nissan, and Ford.

“After being on the corporate side for the majority of my career, I was finally prepared to go out on my own,” she said. “I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit, but I wanted to wait for the perfect time and the right industry to leave my mark. I got off to a great start at Northwood, learning the value of networking. This has become and continues to be the biggest part of growing my business’ success.”

Jacqueline Brooks had big dreams. So after graduating from Northwood in 2006, she moved to New York City with $500 in her pocket and a dream of making it in the fashion industry. She paid her dues - living in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment with four roommates and working in low-paying internships, sometimes even for free. Inspired by her father’s success as an entrepreneur, Jackie eventually partnered with her sister to purchase the family business.

Jackie says, “I learned so much from attending Northwood, even in sports. Being a student-athlete taught me business basics - how to balance my time, how to be a good leader, how to work with others - and that’s where I developed my work ethic.”