Randolph-Macon College alumna Lauren Cox Sweeney ’10 knows firsthand that hard work and networking can add up to both personal and professional rewards. Sweeney, the founder and CEO of Dotted Line Collaborations (DLC), an advertising and branding agency in Richmond, Virginia, was recently selected as a Top 30 finalist for the Tory Burch Foundation’s Fellows Program.
“Tory Burch is a world-renowned fashion designer, business leader and founder of the Tory Burch Foundation,” explains Sweeney. “The Foundation focuses on helping women entrepreneurs build their businesses and gain the skills and confidence necessary to succeed.”
The Top 10 finalists will become participants in a yearlong program that includes mentorship opportunities, a $10,000 education grant, and an opportunity to pitch for a $100,000 business grant.
Sweeney was featured in an article in the March 22 edition of the Herald-Progress.
“I’m honored to be nominated and would be thrilled to win,” says Sweeney, who started her business because she believes in the positive impact of small businesses both for individuals and the communities they operate in.
The RMC Experience
Sweeney’s late grandfather, Walter Cox II ’49, encouraged her to pursue a liberal arts education at RMC.
“My grandfather and I were very close, and I valued his opinion,” says Sweeney. “He is the reason I chose RMC.”
At RMC, Sweeney majored in economics/business and minored in studio arts and art history, and took advantage of every opportunity that came her way. She was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, a fraternity for women that promotes scholarship, service and leadership; she served on the Panhellenic Council; and she was a member of the Yellow Jacket tennis team.
She also made time to study abroad during January Term (J-term), exploring the wonders of Venice, Siena, Assisi, Sorrento, Florence and Rome.
“Because of my art history background, I was very excited to see so many pieces of art that we had spent time studying in the classroom,” says Sweeney. An internship with Baskervill, a Richmond-based architecture firm, gave her hands-on training and glimpse into the world of work. “These experiences enriched my education in so many ways,” she says. “They reinforced what I had learned in the classroom and taught me how to apply those lessons to the professional world.”
Sweeney says mentorship is one of the things that makes RMC unique.
“Business Professor George Lowry was my advisor and one of my biggest supporters,” she recalls. “He encouraged me to apply for a grant that allowed me to do an internship at the Banbury Museum in Banbury, England during J-term. I helped coordinate the design of an art exhibition and worked on marketing the education programs that the museum offered. I also learned the fine art of networking—a skillset I rely on every single day.”
Sweeney, who serves as an RMC class agent, has also volunteered several times at The Edge Boot Camp, RMC’s annual two-day career program. Helping students prepare for life after college, she says, is one way to give back to her alma mater.
“I really enjoy helping out at Boot Camp,” says Sweeney. “The simulated interview exercise that I’ve assisted with is a great way for students to get a feel for what the interview process is like. This is one of the things that make RMC great: student-alumni connections.”
The best thing about being a Yellow Jacket, says Sweeney, is the college’s close network of alumni.
“Randolph-Macon has helped me connect with alumni throughout the years,” she says. “Some of my greatest mentors and supporters are alumni!” Sweeney encourages new Yellow Jackets to make the most of all the college offers.
“Students should leverage the RMC network with their career planning,” she advises. “This is a huge advantage of attending a smaller school, and it has helped me tremendously in my career.”