At 15 years old, Samantha Bahena made a pledge: “I want to be that one out of 10 students in Waukegan who goes to college,” which at the time was the trajectory. The 22-year-old CRSM Class of ’17 grad recently was named “Rookie of the Year,” at Advanced Resources where she works full-time as she completes her final semester at National Louis University. She is certainly poised to be the first in her family to graduate from college in June.
Balancing a full-time job and college is not an easy feat, but Samantha is no stranger to hard work.
When she graduates this summer, she will already have six years of recruiting experience, specializing in the placement of temporary and contract-to-hire office operations professionals. Since she was in high school, she began as a Staffing Coordinator intern, then transitioned to Recruiter for their Northbrook-based firm as part of her Corporate Work Study program. Today, she’s a full-time employee as a Consultant Engagement Associate. “Confident, well-spoken, very determined,” these are all words chosen to describe her since she joined the firm.
“Since coming into our organization, as a Sophomore at Cristo Rey, Sam Bahena has been an incredible asset to her team,” says her boss, Brian Brooke, Managing Director. “Sam has a desire that cannot be taught. She has taken that desire and has been humble, determined and extremely hard working in her progression at Advanced Resources. Starting as an intern, she earned the opportunity to do more complex and important tasks before finally becoming a recruiter in early 2021.”
He adds: “Sam parlayed that experience and desire into becoming the Rookie of the Year in 2021 for the whole organization. Sam has an incredibly bright future and I have no doubt that she will be successful in whatever she puts her mind to.”
“Working full-time and going to college is stressful for sure, but I know it will pay off in the long run,” she says.
It’s a lesson she learned at CRSM. “I saw that you had to put in all you can to be successful,” she says. “I’m pretty self-driven and competitive so I push myself and have friendly competitions with my co-workers. I am honored to have been recognized as Rookie of the Year. I want to thank Advanced Resources for the recognition, and for their constant support.”
As one of Advanced Resources’ 600 team members, Samantha has her eye on moving up the corporate ladder with her next win, a director’s title. In 10 years, she says she wants to be working, “have a home and two kids,” and get her Master’s degree.
Her advice for CRSM students:
“Be open to learning as much as you can,” Samantha says. “Be yourself, speak your mind and have confidence you can achieve your dreams. It’s hard for me to believe I was 15 years old working in a corporate job. But you can do anything you work hard for.”