Erica Billingslea ’13 is a Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business alumna who earned her master’s degree in Economics. After graduating, Erica put her degree to work landing a position as an Investment Analyst for the Virginia Retirement System (VRS).
In the fall of 2013 and notably in her first year out of VCU, Erica made a pledge to the School of Business Annual Fund. She used installment giving to spread out her gift over several quarters enabling her to make a larger gift.
Why did you give?
I loved my time at VCU. It also just feels good to give back. I know that my education was made possible through the generosity of the alumni who came before me. So it’s important for me to give back and pay it forward so the incoming class can benefit like I did.
What experiences at VCU helped inspire your philanthropy?
I think the difference between undergraduate and graduate is that with my graduate degree, I knew what I wanted to do in my career. Both Darlene Ward in Career Services and economics professor Dr. Ed Millner were helping me achieve my goals for my education and career path. We laid out a plan for what I wanted to do with my degree and they offered to make connections to help me get there. I was able to land internships at firms that didn’t normally accept interns, which led to a natural transition to the VRS after graduation.
I also participated in the Ram to Ram mentoring program and I’m still in contact with my mentor even after graduating. I think that’s a wonderful program and great resource, but not enough students take advantage of it.
Both of these experiences helped to build and strengthen my connection to the school, and to know that I had individuals at the school who were committed to me and advancing my career.
What advice do you have for current students or other recent graduates?
The faculty are there for you, and they’re willing to go to bat for you. Take advantage of all of the resources that VCU and the School of Business have to offer. Know what you want, go for what you want, and engage others to help when needed.
And most importantly, give back! Installment giving is a painless way to give.
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