Illinois native looking to expand role of women leaders in business

Contact: Zinta Aistars

 Alexis Ehlebracht

GURNEE, Ill.—Alexis Ehlebracht knew she found her path when she visited Western Michigan University for a summer program in 2021. 

“Marketing has always fascinated me,” she says. “And when I heard about the food and consumer package goods marketing program at Western, I knew right then—this is for me.”

The Gurnee, Illinois, native was voted “Future Business Leader” every year since she was a freshman in high school, and she intends to build on that vote of confidence. 

“I’m still thinking about exactly what I want to do in that area, but I really want to expand the role of women in business,” Ehlebracht says. “There are a lot of teachers in my family. My uncle was a professor in Western’s aviation program, and my cousin recently graduated from Western. But no one in my family has yet gone into business and marketing.”

She’s had her eye on college for years. She considered the University of Colorado, near her older sister, but WMU won out.

“Western was just a better fit for me,” following her visits to campus for a tour and events the last two years. “All of it convinced me that I want to attend college here. People made me feel so welcome, and the professors I met made me feel special.”

Ehlebracht will be enrolled in core business courses right from the start as a student in the Haworth College of Business. With a food and consumer package goods marketing degree, she will enjoy hands-on experience in the industry with internships available across the country in a variety of firms. The major is one of the nation's oldest and most established programs with more than 60 years of success and accomplishments. 

The program sponsors an annual two-day conference with industry executives to discuss key business issues and developments, offering Broncos a valuable opportunity to meet with more than 800 industry representatives. 

“I love the job opportunities down the road,” Ehlebracht says. Nine out of 10 Haworth graduates are employed or become graduate students within three months of earning their undergraduate degree, according to the 2020-21 Post-graduation Activity Report.  “Companies like Hormel, Meijer, Proctor and Gamble, Kellogg’s—it’s impressive.”

Ehlebracht plans to join the Food Marketing Association (FMA) to network with other students planning careers in business. The group offers networking opportunities, industry exploration, speakers and social gatherings. She also wants to become a member of the Women’s Business Network, which is open to all majors and hosts a leadership industry and alumni speaker series, skills workshops and opportunities for members to meet and bond.

“That’s what I am looking forward to the most,” Ehlebracht says. “Meeting new people as I begin my college career and learning more about business.

“And I’m excited too about the study abroad programs for the major. Maybe Thailand, maybe Germany, we’ll see.”

Outside the classroom, Ehlebracht has an interest in playing golf and softball as well as watching hockey; she plans to join the Lawson Lunatics. “Being from the Chicago area, I have been a big Blackhawks fan, but I suppose that may have to change,” she laughs. 

To read about more student experiences, visit First-Year Faces.