When Cloe Andersen started working as a barista at the ReyRey Café as a sophomore at Wright State University, she had no idea what opportunities the job would present her.
Now a contract center analyst at The Reynolds and Reynolds Company, the Wright State alumna reflects on how the café led her to where she is today.
The ReyRey Café is a student-run coffee shop located in Rike Hall, home to the Raj Soin College of Business. It opened in 2015 as a partnership between Reynolds, headquartered in Dayton, and Wright State.
The Raj Soin College of Business was seeking to create new entrepreneurial opportunities on campus for business students as well as students from other majors. Reynolds was looking for ways to raise awareness for the company and support high-achieving students. The company decided that sponsoring a business like the café at Wright State seemed like a good fit.
Wright State students can work as baristas at the café, which also partners with Boston Stoker Coffee Co. A portion of the proceeds goes toward a student scholarship fund. But the coffee shop is more than just a place to work — it’s also a place for students to gain practical skills.
Junior and senior business students can join the café’s student management board and serve as chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief operations officer or chief marketing officer. With faculty guidance, students operate the café like it’s their own, learning how to lead a business and practically apply what they are learning in the classroom.
While working as a barista, Andersen applied to the student management board, served as chief operations officer and assumed some of the duties of the chief marketing officer.
During her senior year, she held the position of CEO. A naturally shy person, Andersen admits that “applying to be on the student management board was a shock to everyone that knew me.”
But she said the experience was good for her.
“The café really cracked the shell that I had created for myself and gave me so much self-confidence. It pushed me outside my comfort zone in such a positive way,” she said.
While serving in various leadership positions with ReyRey Café, Andersen learned the scope of what it takes to build a business from the ground up. Her team faced many challenges. They were completely new to the café, and Andersen said, “it felt like we were entrepreneurs starting our own business.”
She and her classmates had to plan how they would market themselves, interview and train new baristas, and solve practical issues like lowering operating costs.
“We would try something, and sometimes it wouldn’t work like we thought it would,” she said. “We would then have to be innovative and work together to try something new on the fly.”
Reynolds met with the student board several times while Andersen was a student. She also visited the Reynolds campus in Dayton and spoke about her experience working for the café.
Not long after she graduated from Wright State, Andersen was hired by Reynolds as a contract center analyst, a position she has been in for the past four years.
Anderson said the values she learned to love at the café have also been integral to her work at Reynolds: “innovation, hard work and a love for those you work with, your customers and the overall community.”
In the contract center, Andersen observes how Reynolds puts these values into action.
“I see the new and innovative solutions we are trying to provide for our dealerships. The contracting process itself is also constantly evolving to be quicker, more understandable, and better for both Reynolds and our customers,” said Anderson.
The ReyRey Café at the Raj Soin College of Business gave Andersen opportunities to grow and learn not only as an associate but also as a person.
“I’m so lucky to have found work that is personally rewarding,” she said, “both at the ReyRey Café and now with Reynolds.”
Anderson encouraged current Wright State students to pursue opportunities outside of their comfort zone.
“There is growth in discomfort,” she said. “Wright State gives so many opportunities to learn and grow if you are open to them.”