Sun Devil stories: Jack Wight and Carrie Dougher

Sun Devil 100 celebrates the achievements of ASU alumni who own or lead innovative businesses across the globe. W. P. Carey alums Carrie Dougher (BS Computer Information Systems ’15) and Jack Wight (BS Marketing ’15) were Top 5 honorees in the Class of 2018, giving official recognition to their elite status among ASU business leaders worldwide.

We caught up with Carrie and Jack to see what they've been up to since graduating — and got their thoughts on entrepreneurship, Sun Devil pride, and everything in between.

Tell us about your Sun Devil 100 experience — what has being honored has meant for you and your business? How does it feel to be honored by your alma mater?

 Carrie:  We found out about Sun Devil 100 only a couple of days before the application was due in 2017. We rushed to put together our responses because we knew it was an awesome opportunity, and a good way for us to reconnect with ASU and W. P. Carey. We were elated to be included in the top 100, and couldn't wait to find out what our ranking was in April.

 Jack:  I was so happy to see how many ASU grads had achieved so much. The Sun Devil 100 experience allowed me to have conversations with veteran entrepreneurs I never would have had the chance to interact with otherwise.

 Carrie:  Being honored has meant a lot to me, both personally and for the business. Personally, it feels great to be surrounded by other entrepreneurs and motivated individuals that all had the same starting point as I did. We were all given the same (or very similar) set of tools at ASU, and to see all the different directions that each of the honorees took those skills was incredible. For the business, we see a benefit on the recruiting side — being able to recruit other entrepreneurs or students who can help us grow the business.

How did you know entrepreneurship was the right path for you? Any experiences or influences that stand out as game changers?

 Carrie:  During my experiences working and interning while going to school, I had opportunities to learn from a variety of businesses ranging from start up to large corporation. Based on these experiences, I identified that I really enjoyed being a part of a smaller, growing business vs. a large corporation. It took me a few tries to get there, but I found my way! I also encourage all students to get experiences at different size companies to see where they fit best — finding the biggest and best corporation out there may not be where you are most fulfilled.

 Jack:  The concept of offering some sort of value to someone and creating a profit within that interaction has always been interesting to me. I first realized this when I started a pet sitting business at age 12, and continued to be fascinated with this concept as I transitioned into purchasing and reselling electronics.

What about your business is exciting to you? What might students be surprised (or excited) to learn about following a similar career path?

 Carrie:  The most exciting part of the business is to be able to see the impact I make each day, week, month, or year! Even more so now as a manager, I enjoy being able to act on the awesome ideas that my team brings to the table and share that feeling of accomplishment and contribution with them. I think in a lot of bigger companies, I may encounter a little more red tape or barrier to entry — not at Buyback Boss though. The awesome ideas that get implemented here every day all come from our team!

 Jack:  The rapidly changing industry and the niche markets inside of it. This challenges me to find clever ways to maximize on opportunities within the industry.

What does an aspiring entrepreneur need today in order to achieve and sustain success tomorrow?

 Carrie:  Resilience.

 Jack:  Unwavering confidence even when others may not believe in you.

How has the W. P. Carey School of Business influenced your journey? Any people of importance or highlights to share?

 Carrie:  W. P. Carey, in general, provided me with a well-rounded business education. While I was a computer information systems major, I can still rely on a lot of principles that I learned in the general classes like accounting, supply chain, marketing, and management. Even at their most basic levels, I think having this background shaped my business mind in a way that has helped me immensely in my role!

 Jack:  The people it has connected me with. Every single member of the Buyback Boss team is currently an ASU student, or an ASU alumni.

What are the most important lessons you learned while studying here? Since graduating?

 Carrie:  While studying at ASU, I learned to be resourceful. ASU and W. P. Carey offer so many resources, and if you don't utilize them, it's really your loss! Since graduating, I still learn new lessons every day — and I think THAT is the important lesson.

 Jack:  I took a marketing class taught by Adriana Samper, and I use the lessons I learned from her about consumer behavior as it pertains to marketing on a daily basis. After graduation, I have learned how important it is to stay true to the core values of an organization to effectively scale it.

How have your college education and experience shaped your professional career? Your personal life?

 Carrie:  My college experience shaped my professional career both in and out of the classroom. In the classroom, obviously learning the curriculum and basics was necessary to succeed in the professional world. Outside of the classroom, being encouraged to do internships afforded me with a lot of opportunities to learn new (important) skills, while also connecting the dots between the classroom and the workplace. And, Jack was my neighbor in the dorms, so thank goodness we connected! Personally, I met my now-fiance while we were both tutors at W. P. Carey — an even bigger win if you ask me.

 Jack:  Professionally, ASU has connected with me with all of the people that make Buyback Boss great. Personally, I met my girlfriend of almost seven years at ASU.

What tips for success do you have for future W. P. Carey graduates?

 Carrie:  Learn as much as you can, in whatever format works for you — classroom, internship, online classes, networking, groups, clubs, reading books, working, talking to your professors, etc. There are so many opportunities to actually LEARN rather than just get by, and I encourage you try all of them. You won't regret it.

 Jack:  If you want a job, research the employer ahead of time, and follow-up with them if you submit an application/resume and don’t hear back. You would be surprised how much this simple thing can differentiate you from other applicants.

Continuing an incredible legacy of entrepreneurship and leadership, many of the alums recognized by Sun Devil 100 graduated from the W. P.  Carey School of Business. Join us in congratulating Carrie, Jack, and their fellow W. P. Carey Sun Devil 100 honorees — we can't wait to see what you do next!

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