FAST x Sponsorship/Finance Spotlight

Arguably two of the most underrated committees in FAST, Sponsorship and Finance may not sound glamorous, but their roles are vital to the fruition of our annual fashion show. Sponsorship is tasked with developing relationships with brands to sponsor our show, and finance is responsible for securing funding and managing the budget so that FAST can host events and supply necessary equipment for our photoshoots. Meet our finance and sponsorship directors to learn more about their roles and why you should join these committees:

Finance Director: Rita Chang

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What does your role entail as finance director?

As finance director, my primary job is securing $30k in funds for our annual spring runway show. In addition, I manage FAST’s budget to ensure we’re not spending too much or too little—we want for our models and photographers to be able to go on photoshoots in new places and we also want to host events for our members so they can meet people who share similar interests. Essentially, I make sure that we maximize what we can for do for our members as an organization while still keeping things within our budget. And of course, I have my amazing finance committee members to help me out with all of this.

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Finance Committee

What has being a finance director taught you?

More than anything else, it’s taught me to be resilient. In my first year as finance director, I spent so much time rewriting answers for funding applications, presenting in funding hearings, going to meetings with FAST’s SOLE advisor on top of exec and committee meetings, and managing my committee. It was especially a struggle because I actually wasn’t even in the finance committee before becoming the finance director (I was in blog!), so I was essentially tasked with leading my committee despite the fact that I was also brand-new to everything we were doing. Additionally, I had to juggle that with my psych and econ major workload as well as my part-time job, and although it was incredibly tough I wouldn’t have had it any other way— I learned so many invaluable lessons that really strengthened me as a person.

Do you have advice for students who want to join the finance committee?

As I mentioned, I actually wasn’t in the finance committee before becoming finance director, but it was a genuine curiosity for how such a large organization managed its funds that led me to this position.

For that reason, the first thing I want to say is that you absolutely do not need to be concerned if you have no prior finance experience. Although this committee does more technical work, as a director, I’m not necessarily looking to see that you’ve completed internships with various financial institutions. I really just want to see that you have a genuine curiosity, are eager to learn, and have a great work ethic—in my opinion, these are the three most important characteristics when it comes to the finance committee.

If one brand could sponsor your life, which brand would it be, and why?

If I had to choose a fashion brand… Reformation, hands down. My aesthetic is more minimalist and neutral (though I do like a good floral print every now and then), and I have a lot of basics in rotation. Reformation does a great job at all of the above. Plus I really admire their commitment to sustainability—fast fashion is so detrimental to our planet and I feel that we can express our priorities and concerns regarding clothing production processes through how and where we spend our money.


Sponsorship Director: Leylah Oliphant 

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What does your role entail as sponsorship director?

My role as sponsorship director includes reaching out to companies and finding potential sponsors for our fashion show. I have to cultivate relationships with individuals from each company, as well as be creative when it comes to thinking of ways a company can collaborate. Sometimes it can be tricky because companies have budgets and limitations, but with a little brainstorming we can always figure out the best ways to partner while still allowing FAST to fulfill their goals and needs; But, it is important to only work with brands that align without clubs values and companies that understand the worth and integrity of FAST. Being director, I manage larger contacts, while overseeing and guiding the rest of my committee members with their outreach.

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Sponsorship Committee

What has being sponsorship director taught you?

Being sponsorship director has allowed me to develop stronger interpersonal skills, pitch ideas to others comfortably, multi-task effectively, and think from an innovative mindset. Being in the sponsorship committee, you really develop a strong skill set that is often used in both the PR and marketing industries. For example, you will get experience working with press and media kits, participating in outreach, working directly with companies press teams, brand awareness, relationship building skills, attention to detail, strategic thinking, creativity, etc. Being director requires a lot of organizational skills and excellent time management, as you need to maintain your academic studies, social life, health, other extracurriculars, your work within the committee, but also guiding your committee. Although it is a lot of work, it’s so worth it because you build amazing friendships within your committee but also the rest of FAST; It’s also so rewarding to watch all your hard work come to fruition when show day comes.

Do you have advice for students who want to join the sponsorship committee?

For anyone wanting to join the sponsorship committee, make sure you feel comfortable talking to people, as well as learn to take rejection. We reach out to thousands of companies and it takes time to find sponsors, but with persistence, it always pans out. I think even if you don’t have too much experience with this and you are still interested, you should still apply because you will learn those skills along the way. I think this is a great committee for anyone interested in PR or marketing since I’ve seen a lot of overlap with the skills used. Also when joining this committee, I think organizational skills, time management, google sheets/ excel experience, and being able to ask for help when needed are most essential.

If one brand could sponsor your life, which brand would it be, and why?

If a brand could sponsor my life, I would want it to be Savage x Fenty because:

1) Rihanna is a queen!

2) It is not necessarily the clothes that intrigue me, but it is how the company celebrates diversity within all races, shapes, and sizes, etc. Savage x Fenty does not discriminate and does not follow the societal norms. Instead, they promote body positivity by including people with health conditions, members of the trans community, or anyone that doesn’t fit the boxes of what’s represented in the mainstream popular culture.

3) The merchandise they sell is so fun and lively allowing the consumer to feel comfortable in their own skin. I like the company’s attention to detail and the level of creativity that is used in developing their products, advertisements, runway shows, etc.

Savage X Fenty (Getty Images: JP Yim)

Genevieve Cong

FAST Blogger

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