Senior Michelle Rogoff has had a passion for business for as long as she can remember, and it shows with her busy schedule.
She’s active in GBN’s Business Incubator program, DECA (a national entrepreneurship and career development organization), and was one of the founders of the GBN’s Women in Business club. She was invited to the DECA International Career Development Conference for the first time this month with her DECA partner Ari Bosse to pitch their WakePad business plan.
“[WakePad] is a type of device, almost like an alarm clock, that can wake you up in the morning,” Rogoff said. “We realized a lot of students sleep past their alarms or keep pressing snooze … Missed alarms are missed opportunities.”
Reflecting on her high school journey, Rogoff said the experience has taught her determination and resilience.
“It’s been amazing,” she said. “I feel like I have changed so much as a person. [During] my freshman year, I was kind of shy about getting involved. My leadership skills have improved and I’ve found my passion.”
Rogoff said she hopes next year’s incoming students can follow in her footsteps.
“Try different things,” she said. “Get involved in a variety of clubs. Try things you don’t know much about because you might enjoy them. Even if you don’t find what you’re looking to get involved in, you can start a club of your own.”
Finding her path
“Ever since I was little, I think I’ve always been passionate about business,” Rogoff said. “I didn’t know much about business then, but I was making my own clothes for my dolls and was creative – always trying to make new toys from old ones.”
Rogoff said it was her high school classes that opened her eyes to the different opportunities that exist in the business world, specifically entrepreneurship.
“I would like to eventually start a business that gives back to a good cause,” she said.
Rogoff was heading into her sophomore year of high school when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“It changed my outlook on life,” she said. “I’ve gotten more involved with philanthropy.”
Michelle’s March, held every year, is a local fundraising walk that Rogoff started to benefit cancer research. So far she has raised about $50,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“It opened my eyes and showed me how many people are willing to help this cause,” Rogoff said. “It feels good to be able to give back to an organization that’s helped me so much.”
Rogoff also volunteers at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, mentoring kids who are fighting cancer.
Being a Spartan
While Rogoff isn’t sure exactly which college she will attend in the fall, she knows she will continue studying business and empowering her female peers.
“I started the Women in Business club at GBN because I realized that the female business network needs to flourish and be more recognized,” she said. “It’s really inspiring to meet different businesswomen.”
“GBN has so many amazing opportunities and ways to get involved. Everyone’s so supportive at this school. You can go to anyone for help, no matter what.”