An Eye for Style: Business Management Graduate Empowers Others through Fashion
When Aida Santana walks across the stage at commencement next month and receives her Associate Degree in Business Management, she’ll do so knowing that she has fulfilled her late mother’s final wish – and so much more.
In just a few years, the Andover resident has gone from being a student unsure of her ambitions to a college graduate, burgeoning entrepreneur and business leader. But the path to her current status hasn’t been without challenges.
Faced with a range of financial and personal hardships while raising a daughter and balancing full-time work and school, Santana often struggled to realize her goals in her early years as an NECC student. It was solely at the firm insistence of her mother, who was battling breast cancer, that Santana continued forward with her college education.
“I initially enrolled in NECC to grant her last wish,” she says. “But NECC changed my life.”
Santana reflects on the fact that many of her professors went out of her way to push and mentor her toward success, with one even going so far as to lend her textbooks during a time of particular financial struggle.
“I made it to the finish line due to NECC’s support, understanding, and to the extra mile that some of the faculty members took to ensure I was informed of all the help and support NECC could provide,” she says. “I sincerely wouldn’t have made it here if it weren’t for NECC.”
In 2017, Santana was inducted into the National Society for Leadership and Success, which would provide her the additional boost she needed to refine her goals.
“The speakers and leadership exercises made me realize what my true passion was and is: to empower others.”
A graduate as of December 2018, Santana is now taking that passion head-on. Over the course of the next year, she plans to launch Ritnery, her own Lawrence-based personal stylist business designed to empower consumers with a range of customized clothing options.
“My ultimate goal is to make a positive impact in my community,” she says. “I would like to continue my mother’s legacy and give back.”
She adds that a portion of her business profits will ideally support breast cancer research and patient care.
Santana is now furthering her business education through EparaTodos, a Lawrence-based nonprofit that aims to help Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs focus and execute their business plans.
NECC offers associate degrees in accounting, business management, hospitality management, business management: healthcare practice, and business transfer. For more information, please visit www.necc.mass.edu.
To learn more about the 2019 Commencement, visit the website.