Dillon Myers, a Washington and Lee University senior from Foxborough, Mass., has been selected as a Venture for America Fellow.
Venture for America (VFA) funnels intellectual and creative college graduates toward American start-up companies in cities with struggling economies. Its ultimate goal is to immerse talented graduates into the world of start-up companies and encourage them to become socialized and mobilized entrepreneurs, while also benefiting the start-ups in a tough economy.
This year, VFA recruited 77 fellows, including Myers and another W&L senior, Alexander Baca. This is VFA's third class of fellows.
Myers, a business administration and East Asian languages double major, was inspired to apply to VFA by Mike Wilner, a 2013 graduate of W&L and a current VFA fellow. The two met through W&L's Student Consulting Group and Wilner connected Myers to Dwolla, a financial technology startup company that was just named by Fast Company as a Top 10 Most Innovative Financial Companies in the world.
Myers said, "I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset, everything from getting in trouble in elementary school for starting a business selling clay balls, to a social media consulting business I started a year ago to help businesses in Lexington market to W&L and VMI students.
"I highly recommend a start-up internship to any current W&L students. I was able to wear many different hats, work in a variety of business areas and have responsibilities and influence that I had never imagined an intern could have."
After working for Dwolla, Myers applied to VFA last October. He went through a rigorous interview process that culminated in interviews with top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in New York City.
A week later Andrew Yang, the CEO of VFA, called Myers with an offer that, he said, "I accepted on the spot."
Jeffrey Shay, the Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership at W&L, was not surprised at Myers' selection for the fellowship. "Dillon is well spoken and creative, smart and personable; he'll do a great job in VFA," said Shay. "I had him in class last term and have no doubt that he'll do wonderfully in an entrepreneurial environment. Whatever start-up gets him will be very lucky."
At W&L, Myers is the executive director of Washington and Lee Student Consulting and is the head of marketing and fundraising with GenDev Microfinance, a student-run development agency. Myers placed 11th nationally in the NCAA decathlon and is a University record holder in the 4×400 meters, 400 meter hurdles, decathlon and heptathlon and is an NCAA Academic All-American.
Myers served as an account executive with AdClass and was lead presenter in the national student advertising competition and is business manager for the Ring-tum Phi student newspaper. He has been on the Dean's List and won a Johnson Opportunity Grant.
"I was struggling with what I wanted to do after graduation, because there is no clear-cut path for entrepreneurs," said Myers.
Myers will spend the summer in training camp at Brown University before he is placed in a start-up in August.