For many, navigating college can be a challenge. The difficulty of learning to balance full course loads with part-time jobs or internships in addition to participating in student organizations and making new friends is only enhanced when your school of choice is 5,416 miles from your hometown of Campinas, in Southeast Brazil. You’ll get a first hand look at this experience when sitting down with Invent@NMU Marketing Assistant Karina Bordon who, in addition to her studies and work with Invent, operates her own marketing agency, remotely, back home in Brazil.
I was lucky enough to steal some time with Karina after her December graduation and before she moved back to Brazil. Not only to catch up one last time and say our goodbyes but to ask her a few questions about her journey thus far. She reflected on her first time seeing snow, shared stories about her time as a student at Northern Michigan University, and walked me through her path as an entrepreneur. Interested in learning more about Karina’s global travels, entrepreneurial journey and her time at NMU? Me too! Continue reading below to get a first hand look at NMU alumna, Karina Bordon.
Born in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil 24 years ago, Karina is a native to South America, and is fluent in Portuguese. However, her birthplace of Campinas isn’t the only place Karina has called home. In 2014, just a few years before arriving in Marquette, Karina participated in an exchange program that landed her in Rockport, Texas. Here she attended Rockport High School and experienced the United States as a student for the first time. As a senior during her time at Rockport, she got to experience graduation at the end of her exchange program. While graduation in itself is a grand accomplishment, for Karina, graduating from an American highschool was especially meaningful. Later that year, after her graduation, Karina moved back home to Brazil.
Dreaming of a change of pace and ready for the next new experience Karina didn’t stay in Brazil for long. In 2017, only 2 short years after returning to Campinas, Karina had the opportunity to play collegiate soccer at Florida National University in Miami, Florida. Receiving an offer as great as this was exciting for Karina, so without wasting much time, she accepted. She spent the first 2 years of her college career here, playing soccer and focusing on academics under the warm, sunny rays of southern Florida. A place that is more closely related to South America than it’s 47 other counterparts and more importantly, never sees all that much snow.
And then, before you could say ‘nomadic’, Karina was in the midst of yet another life changing decision. When her girlfriend, Isabel, was recruited to play collegiate soccer. This time not in tropical Miami, Florida but in Marquette, Michigan at Northern Michigan University. As people say: life comes at you fast; and in Karina’s life that expression was never more literal. Fortunately for Karina, she’s adaptable and as her track record shows, she can find success anywhere she decides to go. Ready to begin their new chapter together, Karina and Isabel packed their bags, got on a plane and moved to the home of the Wildcats. Not long after their arrival Karina became a Wildcat herself and started another journey. This time not by moving across the globe but as a student and entrepreneur on the Southern Shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s (very cold and snowy) Upper Peninsula.
I studied Entrepreneurship. I chose this course because I consider myself an entrepreneur and I love coming up with new ideas in my daily routine.
Yes, I heard about Invent@NMU during Corinne Bodeman’s class. Joe Thiel, CEO of Invent@NMU, talked about entrepreneurship [to our MGT215 class].
I was a Marketing Assistant and I would help create strategies for Invent@NMU’s social media platforms, I would also help our clients, entrepreneurs in the Upper Peninsula, find their target customers for their specific business or product. I also had the opportunity to plan events and write blog posts for Innovate Marquette SmartZone.
In June 2021, right before my final semester at Northern, I was chatting with a friend from Brazil and we started talking about job opportunities in Brazil and we had an idea to create our own business. We then started our own marketing agency. Right now we currently have 3 clients and they are all sports related. For our clients we create media kits, websites, help them with social media, look for partnerships and more, based on individual needs. My friend and I put together two things we enjoy doing: sports + marketing. My business partner has a Physical Education Degree in Brazil and has an amazing background in videography, and I can’t forget to mention how creative she is. Along with my passion to help others and talk to others, we saw the opportunity to start our own business and we don’t regret doing it.
Definitely! Being an entrepreneur taught me that not all of the ideas that come to mind are easy to pursue, there are a lot of steps to make a business or product idea come true. It also taught me to calm my mind because like I mentioned before, ideas are in my mind 100% of the time, so it was a challenge to learn how to be a little more patient with all of the ideas in my mind and take one step at a time.
It was definitely a challenge, but doing what you love is easy even when it is a challenge. I had to learn how to manage my time better and also had to practice a lot of work-life balance because that is important.
I always like to have everything planned for my day, so usually I wake up, drink my black coffee (fun fact: brazilian coffee is a lot stronger than American coffee and I was lucky to find a similar coffee in Marquette), then I like to follow the list that I have planned previously for the day, usually I go from the hardest tasks to the easiest tasks. I always try to eat healthy and do some sort of exercise. At night I like to watch TV and drink tea. All of that I do with my mind going 198238km/hour just because that is how us entrepreneurs live.
My goals are to start organizing my financial life and make big plans for the future of my business. I plan on starting to participate in events since I will be in Brazil and have more control of it. Also, I am already applying a lot of the things that I learned at Invent to my business.
One of my favorite memories will always be my reaction to seeing snow for the first time. I won’t miss the snow though… I will miss the community for sure!
My favorite part about living here was the experience I had with Marquette itself (the people and the weather). I enjoyed living in an amazing city and community such as Marquette.
Keep calm, learn how to control the 1,231 thoughts that go on in your mind and be happy! Always have good people around you, you can’t go wrong with nice people supporting you.
Whether it’s the demands of college life, helping entrepreneurs in the Marquette community, or managing your very own marketing agency, remotely, in Brazil. NMU alum Karina Bordon has done it all. Karina embodies the idea of Invent@NMU and Northern Michigan University. During her time as a Wildcat, Karina has truly cultivated her talents as a student-entrepreneur and as a professional entering the world. I think the best part about Karina is that she never gave up on the 1,231 ideas in her head. It all starts with an idea, and here at Invent@NMU, all ideas are worth exploring. Whether you’re a student looking for direction, an existing business looking to innovate, or a local entrepreneur seeking resources, you can connect with us through our “submit your idea” portal today.
About Vaughn Rodriguez: Vaughn Rodriguez is a Junior at Northern Michigan University studying Public Relations and Marketing. He is also a Marketing Assistant at Invent@NMU and has been an employee since October 2021. Vaughn is an avid rock climber and adventurer who enjoys the outdoors, new experiences, his environment and the community within it.
Invent@NMU is a program of Northern Michigan University, powered by students, led by professionals.
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