Cara Grandstaff: 2016 Best and Brightest

Cara Grandstaff

Cara Grandstaff

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

Hometown: Plantation, FL

High School: Saint Thomas Aquinas High School

Major: Finance

Minor: Real Estate

Favorite Business Courses: Business Law, International Business

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Florida Leadership Academy: Chief-of-Staff, Peer Mentor, and Recruitment Committee Member (3 years)
  • Career and Academic Peer Mentor (2 years)
  • Warrington Welcome: Peer Leader (3 years)
  • Warrington Diplomats: Tour Director (1 year)
  • Florida Business Leadership Society: Vice President of Programming (2 years)
  • Project MASCOT: Volunteer Elementary School Tutor (1 year)
  • Freshman Business Student of the Year
  • Career and Academic Peer Mentor of the Year
  • Anderson Scholar
  • Dean’s List Recipient

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • General Electric Healthcare, Milwaukee, WI: Financial Management Program Intern
  • Patriot National, Inc, Fort Lauderdale, FL: Finance Intern

Describe your dream job: I would love a career in which I can leverage my passion for mentorship to lift up those around me to reach their full potentials. I want to be challenged every day in a career that pushes me to continuously improve myself and where I can make an impact on the world.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? I have absolutely loved the opportunities to grow as a leader in the business college at the University of Florida. Our college invests in us and pushes us to not only develop academically, but also to develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills that are transferrable into the workforce. Through my extracurricular involvements, I have honed in on my leadership style and made some of my best friends in the process.

Where would you like to work after graduation?  I am currently pursuing a few options including opportunities in non-profit and consulting.

What are your long-term professional goals? My long-term professional goal is to achieve a work-life balance where I am proud of what I contribute to the world both inside and outside of the office.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I actually enjoyed taking Financial Accounting!” 

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…studying elementary education.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? The happiest moment of my life so far has been visiting La Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Seeing something so beautiful and historic in person took my breath away.

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of selection as Chief-of-Staff of the Florida Leadership Academy (FLA). FLA is a one-year professional development organization for the top 100 sophomores in the College of Business. FLA gave so much to me during my time as an undergraduate, pushing me to evaluate my personal values, ethics, and leadership style. I am honored to have been elected to lead the entire organization as Chief-of-Staff this year, where I can give back to the organization that gave me so much.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? I would choose a dolphin to represent my professional brand because I am loyal, love working with others, and am almost always smiling.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my mother for my success. She has always challenged me to “do the right thing” no matter how difficult. My mother believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, through all of my failures and successes alike— I can never thank her enough!

Fun fact about yourself: I had pesto in the Italian town in which it was invented— yum!

Favorite book: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Favorite movie: Clueless

Favorite musical performer: Ed Sheeran

Favorite vacation spot: Sylvan Lake, Michigan (my hometown)

What are your hobbies? I love cooking and baking, listening to podcasts, and spending time with family.

What made Cara such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?

“I have known Cara since her first day on campus. She was a student in my Warrington Welcome first-year seminar class. I remember how thoughtful, charismatic, and energetic she was. We encourage our students to not only focus on academics, but to become leaders, get involved and adopt a philosophy of “paying it forward’ to benefit other students. Cara has done that so much more. She has provided unbelievable guidance and service to other students as a co-instructor for Warrington Welcome, and a Career and Academic Peer (CAP) Mentor. Cara has impacted more than 150 students in her role as a Warrington Welcome co-instructor. She has also helped countless students with their resumes, personal statements, interviews and career commercials as a CAP Mentor. Cara is a graduate of the Florida leadership Academy (FLA), a year-long leadership development program for the top 100 sophomores in our college. In her junior year, she served as a mentor to 10 students in the FLA class that succeeded hers. She now serves as the Chief of Staff of the FLA Advisory Board, providing leadership and guidance to four directors and 15 other board members. Cara has accomplished so much and will still graduate with a near perfect GPA. Cara leaves an outstanding legacy of leadership and service. She will be sorely missed.”

Horace S. Tucker, MA, HRD, GCDF
Director, Center for Career and Leadership Development
Associate Director, Heavener School of Business
Warrington College of Business Administration
University of Florida

Additional information about Cara (Per Mr. Tucker):

  • Graduate of the Florida Leadership Academy (FLA), a year-long leadership development program for the top 100 sophomores in the college. She also served as a mentor for 10 students in the class that succeeded hers. She currently serves as the Chief of Staff, for the FLA Advisory Board where she leads 4 Directors and 15 other board members.
  • Career and Academic Peer (CAP) Mentor – Cara is in her second year as a CAP Mentor where she assists Heavener juniors in their internship search. She also provides assistance in resume writing, mock interviews, and personal statements for all Heavener students.
  • Peer Leader for Warrington Welcome (first-year seminar) for Heavener students – Cara is a co-instructor for a class of first-year business students where she instructs on business majors and careers, career exploration, campus resources and academic success skills.
  • Warrington Diplomat – a member of the official ambassadors of our college. This organization provides tours of our college for prospective students and their families. They also plan and conduct leadership programs for Heavener students.
  • Finance major with a 3.98 GPA

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