CLAYTON — Nearly two dozen professionals spoke on a recent Thursday at Riverwood Middle School, encouraging eighth-graders to think outside the box for their careers.
It is hard to get a job these days, said Barbie Tew, co-owner of Woodalls Fitness and Performance Center near Clayton.
You cant just apply online, Tew said. You have to show up and make a connection and say, I want to work for you.
Tew was a favorite of the students.
She could be a motivational speaker, said Hannah McCracken, one of the eighth-graders.
Her classmate, Sabrina Pace, agreed. It seemed like she really likes her job and really cared about it, Pace said.
Tew told students how she came to be co-owner of Woodalls in 2012.
A graduate of N.C. State University, Tew was always interested in gymnastics and cheerleading. She paid her way through college by coaching gymnastics.
Upon graduating, Tew launched a few businesses of her own and did consulting for entrepreneurs who needed help starting their businesses.
After she became a mom, Tew gained weight. To shed the pounds, she went to Woodalls Fitness as a client, and it changed her life, she said.
I sold my businesses and bought into the company, and now I am helping other people change their lives, Tew said.
After telling her story, Tew offered pointers for landing a job. She started by asking each class, Whats your passion?
When the students responded shyly, Tew encouraged them to run after their passions. She told them to pursue internships and to show up, not just wait for jobs to come to them.
Tew was one of 23 speakers at the career day. Other speakers included school board member Donna White, Town of Clayton public information officer Stacy Beard and Kelly Wagner, owner of the historic Wagner House.
The Clayton Chamber of Commerce, which organized the career day, is always looking for new participants to speak about their jobs at the annual event. To learn more, call the chamber at 919-553-6352.