Alumna: Business Administration/Entrepreneurship ’13
Jillian Ayd was sitting in her BUSX 460 class in sweatpants and a t-shirt, listening to that day’s guest speaker. Like any good scholar, Ayd had researched guest speaker and College of Business & Economics alumnus and Cintas General Manager Jimmy Lien’s ’02 background in preparation for the class. But mere minutes into the talk, she began to zone out. It was her senior year after all.
Having looked up Lien on LinkedIn prior to class, she was satisfied that she could ask at least one question. After his presentation, Ayd raised her hand and asked ‘What do you plan on doing after you’re done being a branch manager?’ Ayd was not expecting this response:
“‘Well, if you had listened, I [said I] was a GM [general manager].’”
Thoroughly embarrassed, Ayd approached Lien at the end of class to apologize and introduce herself. Lien accepted her apology, and the two made small talk.
“I didn’t even impress him that much,” Ayd thought at the time.
But at the next class, Professor Cliff Ishmael pulled Ayd aside to tell her that Lien wanted to see her resume. So Ayd sent it along. She was then asked to interview for an internship with Cintas.
With her mind still set on her last summer of freedom, Ayd went to Cintas to interview for an internship position, not expecting to accept it. However, after walking into Cintas, something changed for Ayd.
“It was so surprising to feel like you belong somewhere so quickly,” she said.
After accepting the internship, Ayd decided to retire her sweatpants and become a professional, both in mind and in appearance.
“I will never forget it,” she said, “I was like, ‘I’m going to look good. If I’m going to go into this internship, I’m going to look good.’ So I went to Macy’s really quickly, grabbed something, and went to work.”
About a month into her internship, Ayd was offered a full-time position as a management trainee.
But Ayd now had a dilemma. She’d not only been looking forward to working at a swim club but had already told her manager there she would do the job. It would be impossible for her to manage the swim club while working for Cintas. She called her boss at the swim club to relay her situation.
“He said, ‘Don’t worry about me. I’ll figure it out. Go worry about your career,’” Ayd said. “He definitely helped me a lot when I was at that point of decision making, whether or not I wanted to grow up.”
Since taking that step from college to career, Ayd has excelled at Cintas, working her way up the ladder. She now manages the D.C. and Maryland markets of the B2B company’s Deep Clean Division.
“Here, I’m kind of in my own little world,” Ayd said of her office in Elkridge, Md. “And I run a million-dollar business.”
Ayd’s goal is to become a general manager at Cintas, earn her master’s degree, and gain enough experience to return to her alma mater to give back.
“I want to be a professor when I retire,” she said. “That’s something I’m passionate about. I think Towson does a great job with their business program.”
By Kellie Podsednik