Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Discovering passion in commercial real estate


Liz Dillard, a senior financial management student, embarked on a remarkable journey of self-discovery during her time at Clemson University. Dillard’s academic journey at Clemson began with a fascination for microbiology and scientific exploration. However, as she progressed in her studies, she discovered that her true passion lay in a career focused on business and building relationships, thanks to her relentless pursuit of networking opportunities and an invaluable scholarship.

Driven by her desire for a career centered around connections and growth, Dillard began exploring various avenues. Her pursuit of this career shift led her to engage with Clemson’s alumni network, which proved instrumental in helping her find her true calling. Through this network, she discovered her passion for finance and decided to pursue a career in this dynamic field, showcasing her adaptability and eagerness to explore new horizons.

A pivotal moment in her journey occurred when she enrolled in the “Principles of Real Estate” class taught by Professor Elaine Worzala. This course not only expanded her knowledge but also ignited a deep interest in the commercial real estate industry. While in this course, Dillard’s commitment and dedication further fueled her passion and determination to excel in this field.

Recognizing her potential, Dillard applied for and was awarded the CREW Network Foundation Scholarship. This scholarship not only provided her with financial support but also invaluable mentorship, membership and a transformative trip opportunity. The CREW Network Foundation scholarship program is specifically designed to support female students pursuing careers in commercial real estate, aligning seamlessly with Liz’s newfound passion.

Part of the CREW Network scholarship included an all-expenses-paid trip to the CREW Network National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, in September. The local Greenville chapter organized a group of members from the Greenville chapter to attend, including their current President, Heather Volz of Fidelity Bank, who is also a Clemson alumna. At the convention, Dillard seized the opportunity to network with other attendees, organized several one-on-one sessions with prospective employers and attended programming that allowed her to gain critical insights into current real estate market conditions.

Dillard attributes her success in finding a new career path to the unwavering support and mentorship she received from the Clemson Alumni network and the guidance of faculty members like Professor Worzala. She expressed her deep gratitude: “The willingness of the Clemson University faculty to help me determine my career path means the world to me.”

Watching Liz’s transformation and witnessing her unwavering dedication to discovering her passion and forging a new path has been truly inspiring. Liz exemplifies the importance of embracing change and seizing opportunities, and her journey serves as a testament to the limitless potential of our students when they follow their true calling.

Elaine Worzala, Ph.D.

Liz Dillard’s journey serves as a compelling testament to the power of scholarships, networking and the pursuit of one’s passion. Her Clemson story reminds us that with determination and a genuine interest in one’s chosen field, it is possible to forge a fulfilling and successful career path, even in fields that may not have been initially considered.

Want to Discuss?

Get in touch and we will connect you with the author or another expert.

Or email us at news@clemson.edu

    This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.