What a day at LIU! We met a lot of executives today that shared their paths to their careers, views on Iowa, and why Iowa is such a great place to work, live and play. I especially found an interest in our lunch at Dos Rios in downtown Des Moines. I had the once in a lifetime chance to sit across from a former CEO of a huge publicly traded company (Principal Financial), Barry Griswell. What an opportunity to take great advice from such a successful individual that happens to be in the same industry I want to be in. To make things even better, we had Jim Swift, CEO of Holmes Murphy and Associates, speak to us about mentoring and the role it plays in the path of a career.
The three criteria that I want for a great quality of life consist of prospering in my career, raising a family and most importantly, having a passion for what I do for a living. Every professional I have listened to this week has stressed the fact that you will not be happy if you don’t love your job. One of our panelists this morning, Jay Byers from the Greater Des Moines Partnership, said “I wake up in the morning and drive to work and say to myself, I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this!” This really hit home for me. I want to be able to make a living doing what excites me and never bores me. And the advice I received from all of the professionals – Be patient, you’ll somehow find and develop a love and passion for something. However, I think I already know what that job is! I also believe I could find these criteria within the state of Iowa.
Mentors are essential to progressing in the workplace. I have had the privilege of already having an industry mentor in the Risk Management and Insurance field though the Vaughan Institute at the University of Iowa. I have also had a mentor at the internship I have been doing. One thing I have learned that I need in a mentor is the willingness to spend time to share knowledge and advice. If you have a question at a new job, who can you go to see if what you’re doing is correct? Another thing that should be required of a mentor is to take the mentee under your wing and give them the chance to see what it is you actually do. Especially in an intern role where the intern is just trying to get a feel for what the company does, it is imperative they actually see it before they do it. I bring this up because in my internship role, I understand the language of the industry, but understanding the product and how to sell that product is a difficult task. I know the mentee needs to develop a drive and have the enthusiasm to succeed, yet having a mentor that will let you shadow what they do will be very beneficial.
Tomorrow is the last day of session one for LIU. I am extremely grateful to all the people involved in this wonderful program. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store!