Theories of Persuasion
A Spotlight on Rob Schlitts, ’06
Written by Katarzyna Ignatik
As an incoming freshman at Hillsdale College, Rob Schlitts’s ’06 career dreams were far from a phonathon company. In fact, the current president of Wilson-Bennett Technology started out on the pre-med track with the intention to attend chiropractic school afterwards.
It was one of Rob’s first communication classes—Theories of Persuasion—that helped him realize where his true interest lay.
“I remember thinking, This is where I am meant to be,” Rob said. “I could focus on where my strengths are. I was a perfect fit with speech and communication.”
With the help of Dr. Kirstin Kiledal, rhetoric and public address department chairman, Rob switched over to studying communication during his sophomore year. The eager-to-learn attitude of his fellow classmates encouraged his continued study of speech.
“Hillsdale brings together a whole bunch of people with similar goals and passions,” he said. “The talent, the people I was surrounded with, and the opportunity I had to communicate with students helped me grow.”
Rob also said he is indebted to his theater classes, which are a core requirement for speech majors.
“Dr. James Brandon’s theater classes forced me so far out of my comfort zone,” he said. “I’d never imagined doing theater. But looking back, taking them was such a good thing for me.”
As an upperclassman, Rob attended the multi-day National Communications Association Convention in Boston with several classmates. “It was an eye-opener to see how many people out there took communication so seriously,” Rob said. He cites the communications convention as one of his favorite experiences studying communication at Hillsdale.
Rob landed a job at Wilson-Bennett Technology, Inc. even before he received his diploma in 2006. He’d signed up to work for the on-campus phonathon his senior year and met Todd Smith, founder and CEO of Wilson-Bennett Technology. After getting to know Rob and conducting interviews, Todd hired Rob to work at Wilson-Bennett.
“I thought I was just signing up for a campus job, and it turned into a career,” Rob said and laughed.
During his ten years with Wilson-Bennett Technology, Rob has helped the company’s clientele numbers explode from single to triple digits. Rob himself has worked his way up from newbie employee to company president.
“I’ve been able to work from the lowest level of the totem pole: from being a caller, to managing programs, to managing the people who manage programs, to being in charge of marketing… It was really just about taking advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves.”
Rob is also proud of the fact that he is not the only Hillsdale graduate working at Wilson-Bennett. Danielle Hughes, who was in many of Rob’s classes, is now the company’s vice president of client relations. And for any other people who are interested in becoming successful like Rob and Danielle in post-college business careers, Rob offers this general advice: “Really explore all options, keep an open mind, and take advantage of opportunities.”
Katarzyna Ignatik is an English major in the class of 2020. She spends her time doing homework (of course), binge-reading, binge-writing, singing, and laughing at everything and anything. Talk to her about Tolkien, the 50s, or abstract philosophical concepts, and she’ll be perfectly happy.