Rachel Vandernick graduated from NL in 2010. She earned an undergraduate degree from Messiah College and a master’s degree from Georgetown University. After a few years in startup, higher education and digital agencies, Vandernick founded her own digital marketing company, The Vander Group. The company serves clients globally in retail ecommerce, tourism, and food/beverage. Vandernick works remotely, which enables her to travel while working with some of the biggest brands in the industry. She has done projects on behalf of companies like Costco, Hanes, Bed Bath and Beyond, and major cosmetics companies. She has worked from her living room and all over the world. Running her own marketing company has allowed Vandernick to give back through services to local nonprofits dedicated to rare disease advocacy, housing insecurity, and child abuse advocacy. During her graduate studies, Vandernick was awarded a research grant to study “superteam” communication, as a study of organized crime. She lived mostly in Costa Rica, but spent a fair amount of time in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Panama. She was also honored to speak at the US's largest conference dedicated to paid search.
Vandernick currently resides in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, Jeff, who is a pilot, and their tuxedo cat, Kelso. Travel is an important part of their lives; they both enjoy flexible schedules and like to take trips when they are able. Vandernick embraces her love of languages; she fluently speaks Spanish, and she is conversational in Portuguese and Hebrew. She visits Lisbon at least once each year to work on her Portuguese language skills and to enjoy the charm of the city. In her free time, she is also studying to become a certified sommelier. Something that Vandernick appreciated about her time at NL is that she “always felt empowered to take risks and encouraged to pursue my own path. [I] cannot extend enough thanks to Mr. Opreska, Mrs. Stoddard and Mr. Miller for their endless patience with me.” Additionally, “Trips to Costa Rica (I went on two with the Spanish department) opened doors for me and really gave me a passion to travel and learn. It was why I ultimately returned to Costa Rica for study abroad and later research. I built my business fully remote so that I could continue to travel while working.”
The following is Vandernick’s advice for current NL students: So much of what you do now, or don't, sets up your future. Don't take away your own opportunities through carelessness or apathy.