From health care to finance, civic service to cultural engagement and more, Kansas City’s businesses and nonprofits are flourishing with trailblazers who have been able to make their mark, thanks to their Bloch education.
The 2017 Bloch Magazine highlights how a few Bloch grads, who came to UMKC from different walks of life, took advantage of Bloch’s diverse opportunities and have since been putting their skills to the test to make an impact across the Kansas City metro area.
Searching for a challenge as a student led Vreni Fernandez on a path where she’s in the driver’s seat of her own success.
Fernandez began at UMKC as a pre-physical therapy major with a minor in business administration. But soon, she found herself changing gears.
“By the end of my freshman year, I found I enjoyed my business and marketing classes more than my anatomy classes,” she says. “So I made the switch to become a full-time business major and shortly afterwards, I joined two organizations – Delta Sigma Pi and Enactus – to help me network within the business community.”
In addition to her business-oriented extracurricular activities, Fernandez volunteered for a variety of organizations during her time as a student. As she began to search for an opportunity to engage with a local-start up, she found herself in the right place at the right time.
“The Kansas City Automotive Museum’s founder had contacted one of my professors, Pamela Dobies, about a concept for a car museum in Kansas City,” Fernandez says. “I have always had an appreciation for cars, and I am a proud Kansas Citian who loved the challenge of being involved with a large project form the ground up.”
This connection landed Fernandez an internship with the Kansas City Automotive Museum, and worked her way through the ranks.
“My internship turned into a board position, which led to a hired position once we received a major donation,” she says. “I actually had a job offer from another company when the museum received its first major donation, making it possible for us to open an interim position. I was too dedicated to leave during such a pivotal and exciting time.”
Fernandez served in that interim capacity for one year before being named the museum’s Executive Director.
Luckily, Fernandez was able to launch her career in a city that could support her dreams.
“I have called Kansas City my home since I was a young child,” she says. “From a professional perspective, Kansas City was – and still is – a blossoming metropolitan area with tons of economic growth. It’s a great place to be if you’re a young professional.”
And she plans to keep working to keep Kansas City on the map.
“I am very proud of my accomplishments here, and I hope that I can make my city proud by bringing another work-class museum to our town.”
Vreni is highlighted in the 2017 Bloch Magazine. To read the full edition, click here.