Joseph Schembri

Entrepreneurship student Joseph Schembri cooks with his best friend, his dog

Major: Entrepreneurship

Class of: 2018

I have been obsessed with starting my own business since a young age. Reading books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Think and Grow Rich simply accelerated my passion for business. I am a first-generation college student. My family has struggled greatly throughout my life and they push me to dream big. I want to make my family proud.

I first noticed SNC when I participated in the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup as a student at TMCC. The winning team came from Sierra Nevada College. This immediately sparked my interest. Also, SNC is the only school in the area that offers entrepreneurship as a major. Entrepreneurship shows an employer that you can be a self-starter, and manage projects independently and creatively. The richest people in the world are all entrepreneurs. I am driven to achieve big results and make an impact in the world by starting my own company.

Entrepreneurship student Joseph Schembri explores the Tahoe BasinOne big challenge coming to SNC was adapting to the higher level of expectations my professors have. I now have much higher standards of quality for myself. My perspective on my environment has also changed here. I want to be surrounded by the most beautiful scenery and fresh “Tahoe air” all the time now. One of my favorite experiences was hiking, swimming, and snowshoeing in my environmental science class during my first semester. I got college credit for going on adventures with classmates!

My biggest success at SNC was getting a summer internship with Sierra Angels, an SEC accredited angel investing firm in Incline Village. My primary responsibility was to be a liaison between early stage start-ups and the investor team. My mentor was a brilliant entrepreneur, I learned so much in three months!

The Sierra Angels internship launched me into my current paid job at Coupa Software in Reno. The company makes enterprise level business software. The culture is extremely entrepreneurial and collaborative – brilliant minds surround me daily. I work on contracts and other legal documents, where my bilingual capabilities are a prime resource.

My love of cooking and my dogs haven’t changed. Cooking allows my mind to focus on simple tasks and exercise patience. I make very good Mexican-style guacamole! Lastly, my dogs get me out of bed in the morning. Sam is a spotted hound dog who frequently wakes me up with loud hound dog noises. Brady is a Japanese Akita. I regularly take them outside and spoil them.

My future has no limits in my mind. In ten years I want to be a CEO with many brilliant colleagues and friends surrounding me. I am purposely leaving my future very open-ended because opportunity has a funny way of showing up when you least expect it.

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Kendra Wong
Chair, Department of Business
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