The other day I gave a speech to a group of students at BYU and I felt some of the bullet points from the post would be great in a blog post.. It was to a group of students that attend the “Women’s Entrepreneur Lecture Series,“ and I started off my presentation with this picture because my first memory of business was when I was about 8 and I would go to work with my dad at his office and sit at his secretary’s desk and pretend I ran the place. I guess I’m just one of those people who always knew what I was really passionate about.
The next slide begins a long sequence of my former career path. I wanted to show everywhere that I’ve been that has led me to get to where I am today. This is of my restaurant experience: first 7 years at Sea Galley, next 2 years at Godfather’s Pizza and then 2 more years at Mrs. Fields Cookies (seafood, pizza and cookies, I covered all the bases).
Next up were the slides of places I’ve worked that were a little bit out of the restaurant industry.
From my 4 years at Morris Air in the Airline business. To my 13 years running my own call center business O’Currance Teleservices. As well as my two years trying to get a private equity fund up and runnig called VAST Equity.
And of course my current position as CEO of IdealShape. It has been quite a trek for me, and while I certainly can’t say that I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for the world.
After giving my background, I asked the students the following question: “What is the Common Thread in all of these industries. Restaurants, Airlines, Telemarketing, Private Equity, health and fitness.” A couple brave students suggested that I held leadership roles at all of them, which is true and that they were ‘people businesses’ which is also true. What I was actually looking for was that all of these used the business degree I got in college, and I wanted to stress how important that education was to me. There is a study done by Susan Madsen that shows that Utah, as a state, is falling behind the national average for women graduating from college—up until the 90’s we were actually above the line. I also stated how great a business degree is for any field you might choose to go into.
Since it was a class of entrepreneurs I then spent the rest of the hour on the following slides sharing the many lessons I’ve learned. First, in corporate America, and then later, in owning my own businesses.
- Pick an industry/career that you have passion about
- Treat the company as if you own the business
- Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people that are better than you
- Don’t accept “It Can’t be done” or “you can’t do that” Be Persistent
- Don’t be afraid to fail. Admit mistakes and move on.
- Treat your employees well so that they treat the customers even better.
- Know your numbers and watch your cash
- Find a Mentor
- Find ways to share in the success of your business
- Market yourself and your business or find someone that can – You need to understand Social Media marketing to compete in this market place.
- Make sure you have great technology and spend the time to research it continually.
- Have Integrity in all your business dealings
- Have FUN!!!
Finally, I opened it up for questions and I think that’s always my favorite part when I do these speeches. They had really great questions and I enjoyed sharing with them what I’m doing now at IdealShape and how passionate I am about the fitness industry.
I had so much fun. It’s one of the things I love about the experiences that I have had. That I can go spend time with students (especially women) and share some of my life lessons and hopefully inspire them. It’s how I choose to give back for the wonderful opportunities that were afforded me.