Meet Darden Partner, Chloe Gonzalez!
We recently caught up with Darden Partner, Chloe Gonzalez, about her experience in Charlottesville. Chloe is an Occupational Therapist and the partner of Class of 2019 student and Darden Student Association (DSA) President, Tom Gonzalez. Check out Chloe’s answers below!
How did you decide to move to Charlottesville? Where did you move from?
We moved to Charlottesville from Kingsport, Tennessee, but Tom and I are both from South Carolina. We toured a few MBA programs together, and I knew I would move where my husband did, even if I needed to drive an hour to work. I was secretly hoping for Charlottesville after all the wonderful things I had read about this city in Southern Living! It has exceeded my expectations.
Have you found a new job in Charlottesville?
Yes, I work as a home health Occupational Therapist (OT) in the Charlottesville community for Encompass Health. I provide in-home therapy services to homebound patients. With two major hospitals in Charlottesville, there is a large healthcare network, which made finding an OT job easier than I expected.
Tom and I decided on Darden after admitted students weekend in February. I started applying for jobs in March. I interviewed for jobs in April, and we found a house to rent around that same time. I moved to Charlottesville in May, and Tom joined me later when his work contract finished in July. That summer, I joined current Darden partners for dinner, hikes, and concerts, which made it so much easier to explore my new city before Tom could join me.
How has your experience been as a Darden partner so far? What has been good? Challenging?
First, thank goodness for our partner community! Even before we decided on Darden, I felt so welcomed. Tom encouraged me to join him for an admitted students weekend, and I was surprised there was even programming for partners as part of the weekend’s activities. Current partners talked about their Darden experience in a really candid and honest way, and I met some amazing people, all in different life stages, throughout the weekend.
Reflecting on the past year, I have enjoyed connecting with people from all backgrounds, who are all so incredibly talented, and seeing how happy my husband has been at Darden. He truly has loved his Darden experience and the relationships he has formed with his classmates. We are so pleased with our decision to come here, and graduation will definitely be bittersweet. I have appreciated that, even as a partner, I have been welcomed as a member of the Darden community. The strong network we have built in the Darden Partners Association (DPA) has made a huge impact on my experience here, too.
The first nine months of school were certainly challenging. Tom was gone most days from before 8:00 am and home after I had gone to sleep, and I spent most weekly dinners and Sundays alone and took on a lot of our household responsibilities. But, as we enter our second, and last year at Darden, that first year seems to have flown by, and the experience as a whole was worth those evenings alone.
What do you enjoy about Charlottesville?
I love the changing leaves in the fall, the sunsets at Carter Mountain Orchard, watching polo matches at King Family Vineyard, all of the amazing restaurants, Fridays after Five concerts in the summer, the lighting of the tree on campus at Christmas. On top of all that, it’s an easy place to live. You can be anywhere in 15 minutes, and it’s a small enough town that you can find your way around in no time. It has been such a welcoming community, and I love all of the lifelong friends we have made during our time here.