My Life as an Orr Fellow- Tajé Wilson

Taje and Orr Fellow and Steele Employee Hannah Sobieski

The end of my college career aligned with the beginning of COVID. That left me in a weird spot where I was unsure of if I wanted to go directly into the job market after college or further my education in graduate school or as a cosmetology student. I went to cosmetology school after graduating from Indiana University Bloomington because the beauty industry was something that I always found meaning and purpose in and grew up around since my mother was a beautician. I’m also big on having various skills so I don’t feel confined.

When I was a senior in college, I was aware of what Orr Fellowship was but chose not to pursue being in the program at the time due to studying cosmetology. Once I finished the exam to become a licensed cosmetologist, I applied for an Orr Fellowship. It was a program that I was always drawn to and interested in.

Orr Fellowship is a post-graduate experience where high-achieving, recent college graduates are paired with a vetted company in the Indianapolis area. Fellows commit to working with their partner company in a full-time salaried position for a minimum of 2 years.

Orr Fellowship exists in part to make the transition out of college easier as recent college graduates start their first job. Aside from work, Orr Fellowship hosts retreats, an annual boats day in Bloomington, monthly meetings, business speaker series, case competitions, and a wide range of other professional and social events.

The application and interview process to become a fellow is long and rigorous, with about 6% of applicants being accepted. In the last stage of interviewing, I interviewed with four companies in one day. When I sat down with Wes Steele and Katy Esser, Steele felt the most like home. My interview with them was very conversational and straightforward. I appreciated them being honest about what working there would look like. I was paired with Steele and have been there for 7 months as part of the Customer Success Team.

The best part of being brought into a company as an Orr Fellow is not being treated like an intern. Sometimes after college, recent graduates entering their first jobs aren’t trusted to do much. At Steele, I have always been treated as a valuable and trusted part of the team. I have been given support from the entire Steele team as I’ve learned my role and our complex industry. It’s also been nice to work at one of the smaller partner companies because of the opportunities for growth.

Another great part of being at Steele is having other Orr Fellows work there as well. There are four active Orr Fellows at Steele and one prior, so we have a built-in community of fellows actively supporting each other and building relationships inside and outside of work.

I have had an amazing experience as an Orr Fellow at Steele and look forward to continuing to grow with this company.