From UW to Yakima: February’s iCreate Challenge is Close to Home

Ivette and Issamar Aguilera
Ivette and Issamar Aguilera introduce A’s Tile & Granite (Photo credit Khatsini Simani)

This February, YEOC was honored to have two former program participants Ivette and Issamar Aguilera present the iCreate Consulting Challenge on behalf of their family’s company: A’s Tile & Granite, LLC in Yakima, Washington. The current and former UW students captured the attention of many as they shared the struggles and triumphs of their family’s journey.

Sheldon gives an introduction to consulting careers
Session mentor lead Sheldon gives an introduction to consulting careers (Photo credit Mike Guevarra)

Mentor Sheldon Spring opened the session with an introduction to business consulting and effective presentation strategies. The challenge format, which was designed by Sheldon and YEOC Mentors-In Training, allowed just under three hours for teams to develop solutions to a real-world business problem.

Mentees greet judges in the final iCreate Case Challenge round
Mentees greet judges in the final iCreate Case Challenge round (Photo credit Mike Guevarra)>

As teams competed in the semi-final and final rounds, we mentors saw significant growth in presentation quality and executive presence. Groups approached the challenge from multiple angles ranging from finance and operations to technical; one team, for example, created a mock website for A’s Tile and Granite, on which the company’s story was displayed front and center.

Mentee team prepares their iCreate case
Mentee team prepares their iCreate case (Photo credit Mike Guevarra)

Similarly, the impact and effectiveness of the Aguilar’s story was demonstrated in many other presentations. Overall, students went above and beyond the case requirements with ingenuity, professionalism and even a dash of humor, as they challenged themselves to step into their clients’ shoes to analyze and solve a problem.

iCreate Case Challenge winners receive prizes
iCreate Case Challenge winners receive prizes (Photo credit Mike Guevarra)

This event would not have been possible without the staff, volunteers and guests who gave their time to judge and provide invaluable feedback. This first major competition of the year has created a wave of momentum which is sure to carry over to our remaining sessions.

This blog post was written by Foster student and YEOC Mentor Khatsini Simani