Why I Hire Business Gators

David Silvestain (BSBA ‘97) walked in to Career Showcase his senior year with one goal in mind – get a job. A determined and prepared student, he made sure to do his research beforehand. However, in his planning, he ran into a roadblock.

Silvestain enjoyed studying finance, but after researching finance companies and jobs, he realized he didn’t actually want a job in finance. What he did enjoy, though, was being a member of the Florida Cicerones – giving campus tours and hosting events in the President’s Box and at the President’s House.

“Being a Florida Cicerone allowed me to sell the campus, to sell the opportunity,” he said. “I loved doing that, so I thought ‘Hum, what about sales?’”

Though reluctant, a chance encounter with a fellow Florida Cicerone working at the Procter & Gamble (P&G) table at Career Showcase led him to submit a job application to the consumer goods company.

“I didn’t think I wanted to sell soap and toothpaste,” he said. “But then I went through the interview process and loved the opportunity offered by P&G in sales.”

Now a Team Leader of P&G’s Kroger Customer Team in Cincinnati, Ohio, that early-learned lesson is one that Silvestain keeps in mind when interacting with students at career events.

Most recently, Silvestain returned to UF’s campus for Heavener Career Week, and he could not have been more excited.

“I’ve been accused of trying to fill the whole class of Sales new hires with Gators,” he said.

Silvestain’s ties to UF aren’t the only reason he returns to recruit Warrington students to P&G. He cites the superb academic excellence, alignment of values, caliber of achievement and leadership abilities of Warrington students as the reasons he comes back year-after-year. In fact, in the past academic year, UF was the number one source of talent coming to P&G.

More than a few Warrington students have impressed Silvestain over the years, but those with strong personal branding stand out in his mind.

“I met one student who left a personal brand impression as the ‘clean water guy,’” he said. “He told me that he was interested in P&G’s clean water initiative, and that he was interested because while in high school he has been a leader in creating a service organization focused on clean water. He had clearly done his research and learned how his values aligned with ours.”

Silvestain reiterates to the students he meets the importance of aligning their personal values with those of the companies they are interested in working for. He advises that students shouldn’t get wrapped up in only what the company does but also look at how they go about doing it.

“The values of a company, that determines your happiness,” he said. “[A company] might sound attractive, but you could find yourself in a place that’s not you. Don’t just assess companies at the surface level.”

Silvestain is excited to continue to grow the P&G partnership with Warrington, recruit more exceptional students, and continue visiting the place he once called home.

“When I first moved to Florida [from Colorado], I didn’t know anyone in Gainesville, but it felt like home. I still get that feeling when I come back to campus.”