David Driscoll ’23

AKALA, Beverly Hills, CA

Co-founded by Perry Kalmus ’03, AKALA is a college-prep counseling service. The students who have subscribed to AKALA’s services not only have access to the knowledgeable team (all of whom have previously worked as college counselors) but also have access to AKALA’s website, which can help them keep track of their classes, grades and extracurriculars. The goal of AKALA is to provide affordable college services for all, with a special emphasis on those living in underserved communities.

The main project I took part in this summer was alumni outreach. Since the start of the pandemic, AKALA has begun marketing their services “B2B” (business-to-business)—a departure from the “B2C” (business-to-consumer) marketing that AKALA utilized in the past. I was one of the ASIP interns this summer who reached out to certain Williams alumni and arranged calls to explain AKALA’s B2B services and find out if the companies these alumni are working at would be interested in purchasing AKALA’s services to offer to their employees as a benefit. At a time when employee retention is such an important topic, AKALA is hoping that companies will jump at the opportunity to offer a service such as AKALA.

David Driscoll working.After listening in on a few alumni calls, it became clear to me why the Williams alumni network is so highly regarded. Not only were the alumni more than willing to propose AKALA’s services to higher-ups at their companies; they were also not afraid to offer input or give suggestions on how AKALA can grow their startup moving forward.

In my time at AKALA, I realized how fortunate I was to grow up surrounded by friends and family, as well as have access to counselors who helped with my transition from high school to Williams. My experience at AKALA has shown me that this is far from the case for many other recently graduated high schoolers—especially those who grow up in underserved communities. I feel like I have increased my ability to think creatively. In many academic situations, such as those I encounter at Williams, my creativity is tested, but within the confines of a subject and with no serious risk—except for maybe a grade. At AKALA, many of my tasks involved creatively thinking of ways to attract customers or to raise money for operations. I found these tasks to be challenging, not only because they can be very open-ended, but also because there was risk involved. Through my good deal of success this summer—as well as failures—I believe I have developed into a more well-rounded worker and student.

I would like to thank Perry Kalmus ’03 for giving me such a fun-filled experience this summer. I am very appreciative of the valuable lessons I received—both in professional and personal regards—and the laughs we shared along the way. I would also like to thank the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and Mr. and Mrs. Case for granting me this opportunity. This has truly been a summer I will never forget.