For Damian Terriquez, it was supposed to be a brief, fifteen-minute meeting with Wendy Bendoni, chair of the Fashion Marketing and Marketing programs in the School of Business. He wanted to find out if Woodbury — a university he had never heard of — would be a good place for him to transfer.
His perfunctory chat with Professor Bendoni turned into a wide-ranging, three-hour conversation.
Damian had been attending California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) at the time and was about to head to London for a study abroad program at the University of Roehampton. He knew that he wanted to transfer out of CSUSM when he got back home. “While I was preparing to leave for London I had to meet the department chairs at CSUSM, however they weren’t particularly interested in my personal development,” he said. “At that point, I basically decided that I wanted to transfer out.”
Damian searched online for schools and narrowed down his choices to a handful of institutions. Woodbury was on his list, but since he had never heard of it, he wanted to visit before committing. His discussion with the chair sealed the deal.
“That first conversation that I had with Wendy just kept growing naturally,” he said. “We talked about the course requirements, and then my current coursework. The conversation then pivoted to my anticipated trip and what I expected to get out of it and how it would affect my experience at Woodbury. Then we just talked about personal and professional goals like we were old friends.”
While studying business was never in question for Damian, a first-generation American of Mexican heritage, his move to Woodbury facilitated a new focus. “As a first generation American, I grew up always believing that I had to go into business,” the San Diego-native said. “Marketing provided an outlet for me to be creative while also staying within that realm of business.” Woodbury, however, offered Fashion Marketing, which would enable Damian to hone his interests even further.
“While I had been previously studying marketing, I knew that I wanted to end up working in the fashion industry, so I chose the Fashion Marketing program once I transferred to Woodbury,” Damian said. “Previously, I thought that I would do something along the lines of branding and PR for a fashion house. However, during my time at Woodbury — after taking a course that inspired me — I began to develop the idea of creating a gender-neutral fashion line. I worked on it over the summer and during this semester. Now, I’m set to launch it in July.”
Creativity and hard work have been in Damian’s blood since he was young. At 17, he started dancing competitively and trained at one of the best studios in the country — spending approximately 40 hours a week in the studio. After about six months of training, he began competing at an international dance summit called “The Dance Awards” where he placed among the top ten male dancers from across North America.
“I never thought of myself as someone who would be an entrepreneur or start anything of my own,” Damian said. “However, after the last few years at Woodbury, I feel more than prepared to take up the mantle of creative director for my own brand.”