AND FOR THE CREATIVES:
The story of the Vasili's is one that is very inspiring. They are a family of four that has worked beyond belief to create a beautiful life in America while remaining true to their Albanian roots. Although their tale is unique in many regards, it is a common narrative behind the American Dream. This dream is one of opportunity, but what many fail to realize is that it can take years upon years to truly capitalize upon.
The hard work and sacrifices that go into building a life in a new country can shake a person to the very core. Leaving family and starting off with little to no money all in hopes of a better future is beyond what most of us could ever dream of. Yet, it is exactly what Jovana Vasili's great grandfather did. The Vasili family spent years laying the foundation for their children to have greater opportunities in America. This took endless hard work, determination and faith that their persistence would pay off. How can one build a life in a new country while remaining true to their roots? Read on to find out:
1. How old were you when you came to America from Albania?
I was four years old when we left Albania for America. I came along with my parents and younger sister, Krisli, who was two years old at the time. We moved to West Lafayette, Indiana first and ended up settling there.
2. Did your family move together all at once or was there a process of traveling back and forth in the beginning?
My great grandfather worked in America for most of his life. At the time, America was flooded with immigrants fleeing their home country and moving to America for many reasons like freedom and the opportunity to work and make a steady income for their families.
He worked in America from the time he was a teenager until he retired. During this time, he was supporting his wife and children, who still lived in Albania. He sacrificed a lot to provide for his family. Because of my great grandfather, later, when I was a toddler, my grandfather received the opportunity to go to America. My family had connected with some local missionaries in Albania and my grandparents went to their church, the Upper Room Christian Fellowship, in West Lafayette, Indiana. After my grandparents settled there for about a year, the rest of my family moved there as well.
3. What was it specifically that brought your family here?
When we were given the opportunity to come to America, my parents knew it was the best thing they could do for their family. Many people who are from America don’t realize how hard it actually is to come to this country. Thousands of people in many countries today are seeking the opportunity to move to America or other countries.
There are many reasons for this, but the main idea is opportunity. In many places people have little opportunity to do things like work, or educate themselves. America brings opportunity and security for many people. My parents wanted to give their children a future filled with opportunities. They wanted us to have the choices and freedoms all of us in this country are privileged with everyday.
4. What was the hardest part for your family when beginning to lay a new foundation in an entirely different country?
Though my parents knew that moving to America was the best decision for our family, it was a shocking transition for our family, especially our parents. We built a foundation with Upper Room Christian church and my parents started working different labor jobs. Practically, the hardest part at first was learning English.
My parents had taken some English classes in Albania, but experiencing it first hand was difficult. I learned English in kindergarten and first grade with ESL classes and helped my sister learn it before she started school. Besides the language barrier, moving to a foreign country was a cultural shock for us, especially my parents, who had lived in Albania for over 27 years. Assimilating to the culture took many years as we had to fit in and understand American cultural norms. Sometimes that part made for funny stories of missing out on social cues, but the process of assimilating into a different environment is long and often difficult.
5. Your parents are incredibly kind and hard-working people. What are some of the values that they have taught you that can apply to your career?
This past year, after graduating from college, I have especialy recognized how my parents’ values have reflected upon my career and life. After moving to Americ, my parents built a financial foundation from nothing. They were able to provide for us on their own as well as buy a house and support us in our academic pursuits. The financial and resourceful skills they have taught me not only have helped me become a more valuable employee, but have been essential to starting a successful, financially independent life after college.
Like you mentioned, my parents have always been extremely hard working and motivated people; their sacrifices have always encouraged me to work hard. They have taught me to never underestimate hard work. I believe that hard work in your career and life should be at the core of what you do.
Most essential of all the skills and values that my parents emphasize is the importance of family. My parents have always made time for family. We travel together and spend quality time with each other. Because of this relationship, I appreciate the value in connecting and taking time for others. This value has not only proven to be important in my life, but also in my career and the way I communicate with others.
6. Do you think that your experiences traveling and living in a different country have given you a better perspective on life?
Yes, I absolutely believe that I wouldn’t be who I am today without my parents’ experiences and sacrifices. Our family has prioritized traveling and keeping our connections with family in Albania. Going back to Albania especially makes me appreciative of all the opportunities I have had in America, but it also helps me maintain a grounded viewpoint. Because of my experiences, I love traveling not only for vacationing, but also for the chance to understand people better and learn about their lives.
7. Tell us about Luna and what she had to go through:
Like I mentioned, we still have family in Albania and visit them as much as we can. A couple years ago, my uncle in Albania and his wife had their first child, my cousin, Luna. In her second month of life, one of the few pediatric cardiologists in the country diagnosed Luna with a rare heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. The doctor also said that she must have open heart surgery within her first year of life.
Unfortunately, we knew that the chances for this surgery to be performed in Albania were very small. The doctor who diagnosed her said that no surgeons in the country had the training or equipment to perform the kind of surgery Luna needed. Our family was devastated and we knew we had to do everything in order to find a way for Luna to get the medical care she needed.
In Albania, situations like Luna’s are not unusual. Many children and babies do not get the kind of medical attention they need and would have been offered in other countries like America. However, after doing some online research and asking people around us, we applied to different programs at hospitals that gave international children cardiatric care. After a couple months of waiting and praying, we heard back from Riley Children’s Hospital and Gift of Life International organization. Luna was accepted to receive her surgery from Dr. Turrentine’s team at Riley and all medical expenses were provided by Gift of Life. We were ecstatic that Luna would have her surgery at Riley in Indianapolis and without Gift of Life’s support, her surgery would have been a significant financial hardship.
So, in May 2013, when Luna was five months old, she came to America and had a successful surgery at Riley Hospital. Today, she is back in Albania and a very healthy two year old. We always keep Luna’s story with us and know that it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our friends, church, the doctors and nurses at Riley, and the Gift of Life program. Since then, we have been committed to giving back to Gift of Life and raising awareness through several events like a yearly bake sale and silent auction.
9. What started Scones & Doilies?
Scones & Doilies is a bakery business our family started for the Greater Lafayette community. We make gourmet, European-style, baked items that focus on quality and taste. For our customers that appreciate handcrafted pieces, we also sell personally designed vintage-inspired doily pieces.
My mom has been working as a cake decorator for many years as well as baking for family and friends. Three years ago we started a bake sale to support Gift of Life and found many people encouraging us to share her products to the community. She spent a lot of time perfecting her recipes and her scones were becoming popular. At the same time, West Lafayette is home to a large university with a significant international presence, but had no European bakeries. Thus, we started Scones & Doilies and participate in the West Lafayette Farmers Market. We hope that Scones & Doilies provides an escape from a busy life and a way to share time with others.
10. What do you think sets it apart from other bakeries in the area?
Scones & Doilies stands out is for its gourmet, European-Style quality. Our products are uniquely crafted for taste as well as appearance. We pride ourselves on providing all-natural, fresh items. In a world where so much of our food is filled with preservatives and artificial ingredients, Scones & Doilies strives to refresh its customers. For example, our scones are made from fresh berries, so they are best if enjoyed no more than a couple days after baked. When customers are enjoying our product we hope they feel special because their item is unique, gourmet, and fresh.
To find out more about Scones & Doilies, visit the site right here.
Always ahead of the curve, Karen Valencic develops leaders and teams to engage through the phases of cutting edge innovation – making it fun and profound. By design, her Spiral Impact method keeps her clients ahead of the curve.
Karen’s own challenges as one of the very first women engineers at Delco Remy Division of G.M. spurred her on to find better ways to engage that bring out the best in all stakeholders. Now, with 20 plus years focused on developing leaders and teams, Karen brings a unique balance of both logic and soft skills to promote engagement and innovation.
In 1992 she founded Spiral Impact, which imparts a distinct perspective on performance improvement as she blends science and martial arts to inspire practical skills for collaboration and influence. Karen authored Spiral Impact: The Power to Get It Done with Grace, the handbook Giving Deliberate Feedback for Leaders, and produced the audio program Strengthen your Balance and Focus while Driving. Karen channels her vibrant experience into team and leadership development, professional conferences, coaching sessions, etc. – tailored to your individual needs or your organization’s specific goals.
Prior to establishing Spiral Impact, she spent ten years as a project engineer in product development at Delco Remy, Division of General Motors including a year as manufacturing resident product engineer. She earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tri-State University, now Trine University, in Angola, IN.
For over two decades, Valencic has been a devoted student of aikido, the Japanese art of reconciliation. Aikido uses position rather than force to diffuse and protect the opponent’s life as well as your own. Spiral Impact is grounded in those same concepts.
Even more, she is Director of Mentoring with the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Indiana Chapter and board member with Spotlight on Nursing. She is Past-President of the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Training and Development; formally an adjunct professor and Executive-in-Residence at Butler University and a former adjunct faculty with the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
More profoundly, Karen is the mother of two daughters, who she raised as a single mom in a wonderful collaboration with their dad. Her company, Spiral Impact, has proven to help countless individuals at both home and at work. Read on to see just how...
3. How did you first become interested in martial arts and were you ever intimidated to try it?
Like many people, I was very intrigued with martial arts and very intimidated to try, until I learned about aikido. Aikido is based upon position – not force. So there is an honoring that comes with it. It is about respecting your opponent as well as yourself.
4. What was it like being a project engineer in product development?
I love the work I did. It was all about learning and problem solving. I believe engineering is a fabulous education and recommend it as an undergrad degree regardless of what you want to do. It teaches critical thinking and process which is helpful in anything you do.
2. Many psychologists have stated that what you enjoyed doing most as a child could reveal your greatest passions later in life. What were you like as a child and what did you like to do for fun?
I dreamt of being a singer when I was young. Barbara Streisand was my idol. Though, I couldn’t carry a tune. Now, I am somewhat of a singer except I speak. Feels like the same dynamic to me.
1. Your life appears to be anything but boring. You own your own business, Spiral Impact, which helps others to reach success through the teachings of martial arts. Did you ever dream that this is what you would be doing for a career?
I began my professional career as an Automotive Engineer. Had you told me back then I would be doing this now, I wouldn’t have believed it! Actually, the work I do is grounded in the martial art aikido, yet is also very much based on physics.
6. Do you ever get nervous before speaking in front of a crowd and, if so, how do you combat this?
Every time I speak I am nervous. If I am not nervous that worries me more. The anxiety helps my
adrenaline and if it isn’t there I can be a little flat.
5. What has been one of your greatest career challenges and how were you able to address this?
Ongoing business development is something I am always innovating. It evolves and changes constantly.
7. What is the best piece of advice that you could give to young people entering the career force today?
Seek advice, and be sure to listen to yourself. Just because someone is older or more accomplished doesn’t mean they know about you and your calling.
8. Who would you recommend your book, Spiral Impact: The Power to Get It Done with Grace, to?
Anyone who deals with people! It is written in a format that really applies to just about anyone interested in improving relationships whether personal or business.
9. How can people get in contact with you for your speaking or consulting offerings?
email@example.com or (317) 257-0684
If you would like to learn more about how Karen could help you, check out the following:
How can we know what we don't know? The future of energy remains unseen, but its implications will be long-lasting. Our nation, and others alike, need highly-motivated leaders to answer the tough energy questions today before the effects become too overwhelming for tomorrow. This is where ExxonMobil engineer, Lindsey Gulden, steps in. Lindsey is an experienced Earth modeler who breaks down solutions for the petroleum industry. From studying the growth of coral reefs in different climates to other meaty earth-science problems, she pinpoints solutions to some of the planet's most difficult questions.
Growing up in Southern Indiana, Lindsey always excelled in school. She later went on to attend Harvard University, entering as a pre-med biology student. But once there, she quickly realized that this major was not the right fit for her. Finding the sight of blood rather unappealing, Lindsey reasoned that Computer Science would be a better pursuit, assisting in any scientific effort. Now, working for Oil & Gas Giant, Exxonmobil, she helps people make the best decisions possible when facing a great deal of uncertainty. Though she would never admit it herself, Lindsey embodies success in many regards and has somehow remained fantastically humble. She holds a unique take on what it truly means to be "successful", how today's nation views hard work and the future of energy for this country. Read on to learn more of Lindsey's refreshing perspective on what should matter to us today:
1. Your story is quite different than most. You grew up in Midwest farm-country and went on to attend Harvard. Could you tell us how this all came about?
My father and mother both saw education as a gateway to opportunity, and they highlighted its importance as a way to give yourself choices in life and, secondarily, as a way to be engaged with the world. They weren’t the sort of parents who said ‘You have to go to an Ivy league school’; their expectation was focused on the present, they made it clear that it was important for me to try hard in whatever it was I was doing at the moment. I did try hard, and I always ‘liked’ school--it was fun for me.
As a consequence, I did well academically. I also liked to do all sorts of extracurriculars, which evidently made me a good candidate for liberal arts colleges. I applied to Harvard (and several other ‘big name’ schools) on the premise that one can’t be admitted if she doesn’t apply. As I recall, my dad bet me $5 that I would get in. I got in. Then it seemed to me to be too good of an opportunity to pass up. (Although, that said, one of my strongest memories of my father’s expression of love for me as a person occurred on the day before my parents left me in Cambridge at the start of my freshman year. We were walking along the Charles River, and he said, “Lindsey, I’m happy you got in to Harvard, and I think this will likely be a good experience; but I want you to know that if this doesn’t work out, you can come home and go to a school near home, and I’ll never think any less of you.”)
4. Tell us about your current job working for ExxonMobil:
I am a researcher in the Computational Sciences Function at ExxonMobil’s Upstream Research Company (URC). URC is tasked with doing applied research that supports the ‘upstream’ portion of the company, which comprises exploration (the people who find the oil); development (the people who take found resources and turn them into a producing field); and production (the people who manage producing fields as efficiently as possible); I am pretty much a problem solver who uses lots of applied math to answer questions. I often work on uncertainty quantification (e.g., How much confidence can we have in this model prediction? How do we know that this model is giving us realistic error bars on a prediction?); I also tend to employ statistical learning algorithms that allow us to better learn from and analyze large and diverse datasets.
3. Your parents were known to be outstanding people with great values. How did they have an influence on your life?
They would blush to see that written; I’m pretty sure they thought of themselves as regular people. As parents are for most people, my parents were the single-most influential force in my life. I am lucky, because that most-influential force was, in my case, a force for good. In addition to giving me and my brother a stable, loving home, my parents imbued me with a belief in my own power to change my situation. They taught me to think for myself.
My mother was perhaps the most persevering person I’ve ever known. If she set her mind to something, it was as good as done; I hope that I’ve adopted that trait as my own (although she set a high bar). She also helped me to internalize the belief that life is not fair (on the balance, I’ve had a lot more good luck than bad, but knowing life is not fair has helped me deal with the spates of bad luck that I’ve been dealt.)
My father, in particular, was a man with an egalitarian world view: he sincerely believed that no person is any better or worth any more than another. Two of my ideas about the world result from that worldview: (1) all people, no matter their station, merit my fair, kind, equal treatment and respect; and, perhaps the less-obvious corollary, (2) I deserve kind, fair, equal treatment from anyone, no matter their station. Of course, neither of them were near perfect; both had their blinds spots. In some cases, I can see that I share their flaws (e.g., I’m a bit reclusive and reticent by nature, like my mother; I’m scatterbrained and rather disorganized, like my father); in other cases, I’ve tried to use what I believed to be their mistakes to help guide myself down a different path (I try very hard to be open and honest about emotions with my family.) But I’m sure I’ve got my own set of blind spots and flaws (that I just don’t see!)
2. Was it difficult to adapt to the highly-competitive atmosphere of Harvard in contrast to where you grew up?
Here’s a semi-open secret (which I suppose I now feel far enough from that I can share on a public forum): Harvard is not terribly academically competitive. Some ghastly high percentage of the graduating class graduates ‘with honors’. There are plenty of *extremely* smart, *extremely* motivated students there; however, it’s not (or it wasn’t, in the late 1990s) nearly as cut-throat as one might expect, at least from an academic perspective. As much of a geek then as I am now, I was expecting a ‘nerd paradise’ where everyone was really interested in academics, but, at least on its surface, it wasn’t that way. There was a new set of social pressures that were very different than I was used to, coming from small-town Indiana. I struggled to navigate the environment without really realizing, at the time, why I was struggling.
Don’t get me wrong – for a student who has the savvy to take advantage of the resources at your fingertips, Harvard is a place with great access to high caliber minds and resources. But if you’re not savvy in a somewhat elite culture (as I wasn’t), if you don’t have clear goals for your experience at college (I didn’t), and you’re far from your source of grounding (as I was), then it can all seem a bit bewildering. I didn’t really adapt well. I posted several very lackluster semesters; I vacillated between majors.
Although the four years I spent there gave me a much more realistic view of the wider world and gave me invaluable experience interacting with people from many different walks of life, I graduated without having gotten much academically out of my time there (which remains a regret of mine). I had such lackluster academic performance and experience that, when I decided to go to grad school, I spent several years taking night classes to bolster my credentials for admission to grad school.
5. What keeps you up at night in regards to your work?
Very little, and that is by design. When I set out to get a graduate degree, I first wanted to be a professor at a research university. As I progressed through my graduate work, two things happened: (1) I got older and less interested in spending all of my time working on academic (in both senses) pursuits; (2) I saw *how much time* university professors, especially ones attempting to earn tenure, spend on their work (many routinely log 80 hour weeks often in pursuit of something that won’t ever go beyond an article published in an academic journal that six people will read, and at least half of the assistant professors attempting to earn tenure never do).
I decided to refocus my target job toward industry, where I could presumably find an interesting job that required only 40 hours of my time each week. I was pursuing my doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin, which has strong ties to the energy industry; so that industry was a logical target. It turns out that large energy companies (e.g., ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell) maintain research and development branches that hire people with my skills sets. So I get to spend my 40 hours a week working on interesting problems, and then, with a few exceptions during rush projects, I can leave it all behind and go home to my family. It’s a good gig; I feel very lucky.
6. What piece of your work inspires you that you could work on for hours on end?
I really like finding solutions to complex problems in which the solution provides the information that is needed to make a good decision. (Too often, people end up building complex ‘solutions’ that don’t actually give the information that’s necessary to make a good decision.) A very big part of finding solutions that provide enough information to make a decision is dealing effectively with uncertainty, which is a topic that fascinates me. To be a bit glib: I like thinking about how we can know what we don’t know.
7. Today, the youngest generation entering the workforce, otherwise known as Millennials, are often characterized by their desire to find meaningful work. But, do you believe that Millennials should learn to better manage their expectations of constantly loving every minute of their work or are these ambitions are rightly justified?
I think it’s great to have work that you love, and people, such as me, who do have that good fortune are very blessed. My concern with this view is that it undervalues work that people don’t love. I think part of the reason that Millennials are so focused on finding work that they ‘love’ is because we as a culture have come to undervalue plain old ‘work’, and so it’s seen in certain latte-drinking sectors as somehow less good to ‘just’ have a job. Having work that doesn’t inspire you but that supports you and your family is, in my opinion, as honorable (if not more honorable) than having the semi-mythical ‘job that you love’.
First, I’d assert that the latter is a much easier job to have, because it doesn’t require you to drag yourself out of bed day after day; second, many families and even our country as a whole are supported by people doing jobs that they don’t love, that don’t define them, and that don’t really carry much romance. I don’t think it’s about managing expectations; I think it’s about focusing on what we really value. If stars align for you and you wind up with a job that you love, great; but if they don’t, you’re not less valuable as a contributing member to society. I think if Millennials saw the workforce in that way, there wouldn’t be so much angst.
8. Has your definition of success changed throughout your life?
This is a very thought-provoking question. I still don’t quite know what success is, and I consider myself young and as-yet-to-acquire the wisdom that would allow me to really answer this question with any degree of gravitas. I suppose as a little kid, I defined success through the eyes of my parents: “Are Mommy and Daddy pleased by my actions?” As a young adult, I probably tended to give more weight to the esteem of others, including my peers: “Do people respect me?” Somewhere in my 20s or 30s, I migrated to the view, “Do I respect myself? Am I living my life in accordance with what I believe to be important?” I’d imagine there’s at least one more refinement of that view as I grow in maturity and experience. But I’ve yet to know what that is. I suppose if I die having tried to stay true to my values and having done right by those I love and by our larger society, I’ll have been ‘successful.’
9. I know that some of your job is top secret, but what can you share with us in regards to your knowledge of the future of energy in this country?
Hah! I’m not that important to the company.
The following link is ExxonMobil’s energy outlook for 2015; to put it together, the company spends a great deal of effort looking toward the future of the energy industry (i.e., what sorts of energy will be used, how is efficiency changing the demand, where will supply come from, who will need energy, etc.). It is the main source of my own information on the topic; so I share it with you. http://cdn.exxonmobil.com/~/media/global/Reports/Outlook%20For%20Energy/2015/2015-Outlook-for-Energy_print-resolution
10. Due to the current infrastructure of our nation, where do you actually see the country in terms of energy in 50 years?
A lot can happen in 50 years (A lot can happen in 10—just look at the shale-gas ‘revolution’ that has genuinely shifted the energy landscape not just in the US but in the world. Back in 2005, no one knew that would happen.) Over the long term, I believe the US (and the globe) will shift toward ever-increasing efficiency of energy use, simply because that is more cost effective. I believe infrastructure is a fundamental responsibility of government; it remains unclear to me whether the political climate of the US will enable the government to make necessary investments in infrastructure to enable quick shifts to greener fuels.
11. What do you believe will be the biggest factor influencing a greater adoption of green energy sources in the U.S. in the near future?
Cost of energy, technology improvements, and infrastructure changes/improvement, although I’m not sure in what order. To completely migrate to renewable energy sources, they have to come down in cost (which is happening, albeit slowly), and we have to build an infrastructure that supports their use (where, exactly, am I going to charge my electric car when I drive across the country?). Technology improvements can drastically increase efficiency (think of LED lightbulbs) and can incentivize sudden shifts between energy sources (the next energy source or clean-energy-enabling technology may be invented tomorrow).
I believe climate change is a very serious problem, especially for countries without sufficient resources to adapt. Climate change creates a moral imperative to migrate toward cleaner sources of energy. Unfortunately, moral imperative or not, being able to choose to spend more money for your energy source simply because it is greener is a luxury only the relatively wealthy have, and from a global climate change perspective, the heavy-hitter for the future is the increasing energy demand from the rest of the world. (And the US can’t very well say, “Well, we like our standard of living, but – sorry – you can’t have what we have because, well, climate change. ‘Sucks to be you!”)
In any event, all green energy sources currently available have a downside that prevents their current wide adoption (solar panels are expensive and are not necessarily so good for the environment [see http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/solar-energy-isnt-always-as-green-as-you-think]; wind energy is great…when and where there’s sufficient wind; hydropower is nice, when there’s not a major drought [e.g., what’s currently going on in the western part of the US] and if you don’t mind all of the downsides that come to ecosystems when dams are put in place; nuclear power is extremely efficient, if you’re not worried about waste disposal or Chernobyls; no one has come up with a truly green fuel for transportation; etc.).
But given the high stakes game we’re playing with the environment and the significant monetary incentive to develop something better, I wouldn’t be surprised if some new technology is soon developed that either introduces a new source of green energy or makes a current one much more palatable/transportable/cost-effective.
12. If you could give one piece of advice to anyone entering the working world today, what would it be?
It’s trite, but it’s true: what really defines you is the way that you respond to challenges. Things aren’t always going to go well; life is not fair; you will screw up. When a challenging situation arises, learn from it; pick up the pieces; perhaps revise your worldview; but above all,...
The Winding Road: Computer Modeler Moves From Climate to Energy. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2015, from http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/TrueStoriesGulden2-small.pdf
It is a Monday night and, here I am, sitting in a new trendy bar in Lincoln Park Chicago. The bartender reminds me of one of those no-BS tough guys. I order an Al Capone because I like the name, but I hate the actual whiskey.
But, who cares? I am deep in conversation with an interesting guy. I love conversations like these. The ones that are random and make you feel like you can take on the world. He says something that sticks with me, “Every single human interaction that we have changes us in some way. I truly believe that. And what is even more profound is that sometimes those that we only spend a few minutes with can change us more than people we have spent our entire lives with.”
Syed Shah is an ambitious Millennial ready to leave his mark on the world. How exactly, he does not yet know. But, he does not see this uncertainty as an obstacle. I encourage you to read on and become forever changed by his unique perspective...
1. Give us your spiel on who you are and what you want to do with your life:
I’m your average Millennial that just wants to make a difference. I think at the end of the day I want my life story to say that I made a difference either in this world, this country, the company I work for, or even someone's life. I think every Millennial strives to make a difference and that’s what I’m after doing. You have to fake it till you make and that’s what I live by!
2. When did you know that you wanted to be in Sales?
I really didn’t know until I got into the industry. I was a pre-med student coming into college because that’s what I thought I was destined to do. Then I realized blood made me queasy and I really hated the smell of most hospitals. At the end of the day, I think I tried a bit of everything in college and realized I just wanted to do something where I could talk to someone different each and every day and Sales really gives me that option. I’m a people pleaser and in a sales career the more people you please, the further you’ll go.
3. You once said that you believe that every single interaction we have with others changes us in some way. Could you elaborate on this thought?
I think we meet people for very specific reason. There are people you will meet in your life for mere hours or days that will shape your core belief system more than people you have known your entire life. Every interaction is sacred and can lead to a great relationship/opportunity. With that said, everything happens for a reason.
I was always a very passive person and would never seek out interactions with others. One day I decided I wasn’t happy with it and wanted to change. You need to find who you are socially and just grow comfortable with it. It’s a big part of growing up.
4. In an interview, you were asked what skill you have that is better than anyone else in the world. How did you respond?
I told them I’m probably the best in the world at being totally average at a bunch of stuff. It’s really daunting to think think that you could possibly be better at something than 7 billion other people. There are people in this world that know a lot about a little and then there are people who know a little about a lot… I definitely think I sway more to the latter.
5. You were a two-time state champion in debating and went on to be fifth in the nation your senior year. What got you to this level?
The love for competition. I was always a big sports fan, I knew the ins and out of baseball, basketball, and football. With that said I’m also 5 foot 7 and not athletic at all so I never got to be super competitive at sports. Debate gave me the opportunity to try and be the best at something and it really is something I relished. I loved that I could go into a tournament and have a realistic shot of not only winning individually but helping my team compete and be the best. It helped reach a part of me that I always knew I had, but never really explored.
6. How has your skill in debating helped you outside of the classroom?
It really has made me more confident not only in my public speaking ability but overall. I think everyone should be able to see the fruits of their labor pay off and see if they are dedicated to something and work hard they have a shot at succeeding. Debate showed me that and showed me that if I work hard enough I can really be a winner.
7. What makes you tick?
Building something. All day long my mind is racing at 1000 miles a minute with ideas, at points. I just realize I need to stop thinking and start executing. I am definitely an ideas guy and I really love hearing about plans in their infancy, be it a business idea or a night out for drinks. I want to be someone who has a voice at the table. I always tell people I have a loud voice and I want to be heard, but I’m also someone who plays well in the sandbox.
8. Being in Sales, you have to be able to face rejection. How do you accomplish this?
You have to remain even keel. Never get too high and never get too low. I know that I can’t walk around with my chest puffed out if I close a big deal, but I also have no reason to hang my head if I lost a deal after giving it my all. Failing will eventually lead to success.
9. What is the hardest part about being a Millennial in the workforce?
It’s the fact that most of us are ideas people and we don’t nearly take enough time to execute them. That’s one of my biggest flaws especially. I just expect to be heard or given a voice immediately because I think my ideas are better than everyone else, when in fact they’re probably fairly juvenile. I think balancing out the thirst for entrepreneurship and just the day-to-day operations of a traditional business can be very difficult.
As a Millennial, what obstacles do you face?
What can you do to eliminate those?
Asking yourself these questions can help you to one day have the voice that gets you heard. Until then, realize that every single interaction or challenge that you are currently facing can build you into the person you were meant to be. Never underestimate the smallest of occurrences. They can sometimes hold the greatest impact.
The Kiel family has long been known for football. With late uncle, Blair Kiel previously playing for the Packers and younger brother Gunner now starting for the Cincinnati Bearcats, the clan has truly made a name for themselves in football.
Eldest brother, Drew Kiel, was a record-breaking quarterback at Illinois State when he came up against his greatest trial. It was in the fourth quarter with five minutes left of the game. After getting hit, his thumb was temporarily caught in the turf. But, it was not until the next throw when he went to grip the ball that he realized what had happened. His thumb had been bent back nearly 180 degrees and felt like it was on fire.
That burning sensation for a torn ligament caused him to be out for the rest of the season. From that point on, his chances of playing were drastically reduced. Things were just not the same because of an incident that occurred in a matter of seconds.
For years, much of Drew’s identity revolved around football. Yet, sometimes, life does not agree with your plans for the future. No matter how much you see yourself going down a certain path, there could be a greater force at work directing you elsewhere. And how you deal with this fact determines your entire future.
"Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory." -William Barclay
Read on to learn about this young athlete’s story and how his greatest challenges have led him to even greater opportunities:
1. Your family is obviously known for football. What would you like them to be known for?
Yes, people see our last name and the first thing that comes to mind is football. That’s OK, but at the end of the day, football only lasts for so long. My family and I would agree that we would like to be seen as hard-working, loving, humble, and dedicated people that have had great relationships with the people around us in every aspect of life. Oh and by the way, they happen to be good at football. We would much rather be recognized as hard workers and good character guys, rather than be recognized as good football players.
2. Your family is very tight-knit. Why do you think you are so close?
Well I think the first ingredient to having a close-knit family is to have God be the foundation of the home. We are all very religious people and that’s the common unity that we have. I’m fortunate enough to have two outstanding parents that have always done everything they can for my brothers and I. They have always kept us close and always doing things together.
Whether it be family meals, backyard football games, family trips, or doing chores, these things were always done together which brought us very close. Sure we are all different in some ways, but we are a family that will always be in each other’s corners no matter what the situation is. I always tell people that people can mess with me and I won’t get upset, but if you mess with my family, then you better watch out.
3. How has football helped you in other areas of your life?
I think the game of football has been a staple in my life. Through many trials and triumphs over time, I believe it has shaped me not only in the way I take care of myself physically, but has also affected me in many other ways. Football looking in from the outside, looks like just something you do on every Friday, Saturday, or Sunday depending on the level you’re playing. But the games only make up about one percent of the time you actually spend when being on the team.
What people don’t see is the “grit and grind” on an everyday basis that athletes spend in practice, lifting weights, watching film, rehabbing injuries, going to class, going to study table. These are the things that have really developed my character most over time and led me to be successful today.
Being criticized in the public eye with football being so popular nowadays, along with the constant demand of the game really developed a lot of mental toughness over time. This mental toughness that I believe I have now has prepared me for anything that life wants to throw my way. It’s inevitable that bad things are going to happen during the course of a lifetime, but how a person responds to that bad situation is what builds character over time. There’s always a way to bounce back.
Another area that football has really helped with is my overall time management in everything I do. My days are planned out way in advance. From what time I get up, to what I’m eating and what time I eat, etc. is all planned out on a schedule so I can accomplish everything I want to in a day. At the moment, my life is really hectic working towards a Doctorate in physical therapy and also working 25 hours a week as a strength and conditioning coach. I’m able to get all of that done at a high level, as well as do extra reading and studying to further my knowledge even more. This is all due to all the years of constantly planning ahead when I was playing football.
4. Tell me about your business, K3 Training:
K3 Training is something that kind of fell into my lap. After my senior year of college, I had a year of taking pre-requisite classes for PT that brought me back to my hometown of Columbus, IN. My first week back, I received a call from a friend of mine saying that he wanted me to train his son doing quarterback training. With the free time I now had, I was more than willing to do this. His son started to see results over time and K3 Training got bigger and bigger over the course of the summer just by word of mouth and the results that people were having with what we were doing.
We ended the summer with a quarterback and receiver camp where we had a total of 54 kids. During the year that I was home, we expanded to not only doing quarterback training, but also personal training for the general population, speed training for athletes, and nutrition counseling (My degree is in Nutrition and Dietetics) for anyone that was interested. My brother Dusty and I now reside in Nashville, TN and have started to build our client base right now. With us having school, no marketing or extreme effort to expand the business has been made. We still work with a lot of the clients back home and continue to have close relationships with them.
5. Where do you see this business going in the future?
To be honest, I’m not really sure where I see our business going. I really like living in Nashville and I’m kind of taking life as it comes at me. I know I love working with people when it comes to athletics and general health and wellness, but the future is still very uncertain. With this being said, I believe the opportunities for us will be endless with our educational backgrounds, as well as our experience over time with athletics.
I would say our end goal would be to own our own sports performance facility where we combine strength and conditioning, nutrition, the person’s sport, and rehab all together to help develop athletes. With the advances in science and the evidence that is being brought forth, we believe we can make huge strides in developing an athlete, no matter what their genetic predisposition is.
6. What will differentiate your business from other similar practices?
When it is all said and done, I believe that my brothers will have something that no one else will have. The combination of our experiences in athletics and then our educational backgrounds will be unmatched. We will be doctors of physical therapy (DPT), registered dieticians (RD), certified strength and conditioning specialists (CSCS), and have played at a very high level. It will also be an advantage that since we have been together our whole lives, our ability to work together efficiently and effectively is at a high level.
I also believe that we stand out in the fact that we are willing to do anything necessary to help our clients have success. For example, we are very willing to pick up the phone and call college coaches to tell them about the prospects we have. With us being from Indiana, we know it’s very hard to get recruited. Since we have been through the recruiting process, we have developed a lot of good contacts that we get a hold of constantly to tell them about the kids we have coming through.
You can also reach us at any time of the day and we will respond very quickly. It’s important to us that we are helping you reach your goal, no matter what it is. Whether it’s advice on a supplement, how many reps to do on bench press today in weight class, or what stretches to do in order to stretch a tight latissimus dorsi, we will get back to you very fast with the information you need.
7. If there were some things that you could tell young athletes to help them succeed, what would it be?
I would tell young athletes to enjoy your time playing the game. Not just playing, but to enjoy your teammates, the atmosphere of the games, the good times and the bad times. There are a limited number of days you have to play, so enjoy every second of it. In today’s society, there’s so much pressure on a young athlete to go perform at a certain level. Try to look past that as much as possible and realize that it’s a game and it should be fun to play.
I would also tell young athletes to never take their parents for granted for the sacrifices that they make for them on a day to day basis in order for them to participate in sports. I didn’t realize how much my parents did for me until recently looking back. There was one Fall when our dad coached all 3 of our football teams at the same time. Kids don’t realize stuff like that, but that was very time consuming. Looking back, we really appreciate all the time both my parents spent taking us to practices, playing with us, and just caring about us having success.
8. What has been the greatest trial in your life and how did you overcome this?
My greatest trial was when I was injured during my time at Illinois State. I tore my UCL ligament in my right hand (throwing hand) during my first start as a redshirt sophomore. This forced me to miss the rest of the season. During the course of the season, the back-up quarterback had a great season and ended up playing the rest of the time that I was there.
At the time, this was very hard for me to understand. Football was my “identity”. That’s what I spent all my time and effort on. For me to have to sit back and watch while the kid behind me had success was very humbling. The biggest way I overcame this was by keeping my trust in God. My faith never wavered and I honestly knew that it was all happening for a reason. During the course of that season rehabbing my thumb, lifting, and trying to get back, was when I first gained an interest in the field of Physical Therapy. I believe that whole situation made me very mentally tough while I stuck out those last two seasons there and also led me down the path of where I am today. I look back now and am very thankful for the path that I was led down.
9. What is your greatest motivating force in life?
My greatest motivating force in life is using my knowledge base that I have gained over the years to help people in any way I can. I think that’s why I enjoy working with athletes so much. It’s always so self-fulfilling to me when I can see an athlete get better over time and accomplish his/her goals.
There’s always that time during training also when it “clicks” for the athlete and you can see it on their face that they are getting better. With this comes all kinds of self-confidence for that young athlete, not only for them on the athletic side, but also in everyday life. For me to able to boost that and to do something positive in their lives is what drives me every day to read more books and study harder so I can always bring more to the table.
If you are ever in the Nashville area and would like to get in touch with Drew regarding K3 Training, he can be reached via phone at (812) 343-4226 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you were condemned for doing what you love, would you still do it? Would you risk the potential of others thinking less of you in order to follow your truth? It is easy to say that you would, but an entirely different thing to actually go out and do it. Three years ago, Jenna Brewer found this to be the case upon embarking on her journey as a hunter.
This journey was not always easy. She has even questioned herself at times, but, in the end, hunting has taught her many lessons and brought her closer to nature. Whether you are a hunter or not, it is important to educate yourself on what it means to be a hunter before forming an opinion. Read below to learn Jenna’s take on hunting and why she now shuts down the opinions of others against it:
1. None of your immediate family members are hunters. What drew you to become involved?
I’ve always loved nature. If it’s something you can do outside, I want to do it. As far as hunting, it all started because a friend was nice enough to let me tag along on their hunt. I love trying new things, so it seemed interesting enough, and the rest is history. It was during squirrel season, which isn’t exactly the most intense hunt, but I loved every second of it. I quickly found out that hunting requires you to be totally in sync with your environment; it’s almost like therapy.
2. Were you ever afraid to do something that others could be so strongly against?
I definitely have the type of personality that is sensitive to how others feel. I have never felt compelled to blatantly offend someone, because I completely see where anti-hunters are coming from, and know they’re coming from a good place. That being said, I am an animal lover, and I also love hunting; the two can totally co-exist. Like I said, I try to be respectful, but at the same time, I’m incredibly proud to be a hunter. There is definitely an honor system, and being a hunter means you’re carrying on a tradition that is thousands of years old. There is a right and wrong way to hunt. If you are doing it the right way, you’re doing it in an ethical, honest way.
When you make a kill, you’re happy but, for me, there is always a tinge of sadness. No matter what way you look at it, you caused something to stop breathing. More than anything, you’re thankful; thankful to God for giving you a clean kill., and just the opportunity to exist in this beautiful world we live in. I promise, you can’t watch the sunset over a cornfield and question the existence of a creator. To me, hunting is so much more than aiming and the kill. That’s why I have no problem with it.
3. How have you dealt with the negative opinions of others?
When I first started hunting, I was kind of ignorant to the huge opposition for it. In Southern Indiana, it is pretty common. I posted a picture of myself holding a fox on Instagram once, and got a comment from an Irish woman that I was a little taken aback by. She basically told me I was a terrible person and “disgusting hunting like this should be banned”. She said she “didn’t understand why I thought I had the right to take a life”, and that’s just it; she didn’t understand.
I clicked on her profile, and immediately had to laugh at the picture of the juicy steak she had posted a few days before. We’ve all seen the newspaper clipping floating around Facebook that says something along the lines of “shame on hunters, they should get their meat from the store where no animals were harmed”. A lot of it has to do with being educated, and being respectful. When I killed that fox, I had chickens and other animals to protect, not to mention all of the environmental reasons that hunting is necessary.
4. What has hunting taught you?
I have learned SO much from hunting, and with everything I have learned, I’m sure that I’ve only learned about 10% of what all it can teach me. It has taught me that hard work pays off. It definitely has a little bit to do with luck, and being at the right place at the right time, but there are also definitely ways you can increase your odds of success. I still haven’t got that big buck, and to me, that means I’m not working hard enough, and need to figure out what I’m doing wrong. You can apply that to life, for sure. Too many people just think they can perform at a mediocre level, and get extraordinary results, and that’s usually not the case.
The biggest thing that stands out for me is simply respect for the land. I always go back to the quote from the movie “Gone With the Wind” when Scarlett hears the words of her father repeating “land; it’s the only thing that lasts.” The connection to nature you get is unreal. In today’s world, we are so caught up in getting from A to B that we forget to take in all the beauty God has created. Since I started hunting, I’ve heard sounds I never knew existed and was fascinated when I watched a bobcat walk literally 5 feet in front of me. Nature is just so amazing, and hunting has helped me appreciate it to the fullest, kill or no kill.
5. How does hunting help the environment?
This is why I find it so funny when people say hunting should be illegal. That would be a disaster! I’m no expert, but I know that hunting deer in particular is completely necessary for the environment. A world without hunting would have starving deer, and bare forests. Farmers would lose a good chunk of their crops to hungry animals.
Our land could simply not sustain the amount of animals that would exist. Modern day hunting is actually a strategic form of population control, whereas the bag limit is relative to the local game population and laws. If you think people hit deer on the road a lot now, I could not even fathom the amount of accidents caused by deer if hunting were to be outlawed. Like I said, I don’t claim to be an expert, but the take-home message here is we need hunting.
Did You Know?...
Hunting Quick Facts:
6. What would you say to other female hunters?
Hunting is getting more and more popular for girls, and I love it! More than anything, I think female hunters should empower each other. I get so tired of hearing women feeling the need to insult other women, and saying “she’s just doing it to get attention”, or “she’s never even killed anything.” As females, we’re already seen as the underdog, so why make it worse? We should be working ten times harder to hit the bull’s-eye every time.
I’ve only been hunting for three years, and I admittedly have SO much to learn. My biggest mistake was feeling like I had something to prove, and felt like I had to build myself up to be a better hunter than I really am. The first time I missed a deer with my bow was so humbling. It was raining, and I just sat there feeling sorry for myself; it was like a scene out of a movie. In that moment, I realized it was 120% my fault that I missed that shot. (I won’t mention how close it was).
It’s all about setting goals for yourself, and working your butt off to attain them. Ask questions, and soak up any knowledge you can from the veterans. Picture yourself making that shot, and if you put enough into it, it’s going to happen. The fact that you’re female means nothing. I’ve heard several bow shop owners say some of the best shots they’ve seen were females. I'm nowhere where I need to be, but I know I can get there. No excuses; You can hunt with the best of ‘em.
In all, Jenna’s story is just one example of going out and doing what you love despite others opinions. If you feel drawn to something, do not hesitate because of what others' thoughts may be. Instead, educate yourself on its implications. After learning what hunting can do for the environment, Jenna was able to truly stand up for what she loves. Will you be able to take that same chance in doing what you love?
"WHY IS HUNTING GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?" WHY IS HUNTING GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT? Accessed December 23, 2014. http://srel.uga.edu/outreach/ecoviews/ecoview031117.htm.
Piccione, Mike. "How Hunting Helps Wildlife." Accessed December 23, 2014. http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/01/how-hunting-helps-wildlife/
4. Can other work functions benefit from learning the art of selling?
Oh my gosh, yes. Selling is really just about communicating your ideas and enrolling others in a common vision. It's really close to leadership (not authoritative leadership, but true visionary leadership). Anyone in a boardroom or in a lunchroom has ideas they'd like for others to help them act on. The components of selling -- establishing trust, sincerely trying to understand someone else's perspective, relating your ideas to them, addressing their concerns, asking for what you want, and following through -- are applicable in almost any setting. They even work within relationships with friends or significant others. But, I always tell my students that they need to use these powerful tools for good, not evil!
5. How can companies better manage the customer’s perception of them?
This really puts us into a conversation around branding and positioning. I think it's still really about relevance, but maybe at a little higher level. The number one thing is to be honest. Overboard honest. Sincerely honest. Customers can see fake from a mile away. That's really hard when it's a large organization.
It's easy for marketers to make up stuff about what a company stands for, but delivering on those promises takes good hiring, solid training, and really has to be engrained in the company's culture. A lot of companies focus too much on the products they make. It's understandable. They spend a lot of time developing them, training on them, perfecting them. Customers don't care about products. They care about what the products do for them. A customer never buys a drill because they want the drill; they buy a drill because they want a hole.
The problem is that not every customer wants the same kind of hole. Not everyone wants a hole in wood, some want it in concrete or drywall. So we have to connect and create perceptions about the benefits they get from working with our companies, not just what we sell or even what we stand for. Positioning isn't about products, it's about an emotional connection.
2. What led you to become a professor years later?
I started teaching banking courses in the early nineties and loved it, enough so that I decided to start teaching at a community college, Ivy Tech. I did that for a couple of years and then had a banking client who was an executive at Caterpillar who taught for Indiana Wesleyan University. I began teaching at IWU and did that for a couple of years, and then started teaching at Purdue when a grad student acquaintance had to leave right before classes started and they needed a replacement. All of that was while I was still in banking -- early mornings, nights, or weekends. I joined Purdue full time in a staff role in 2000. I had a friend who started his PhD in 2001 and was almost done with classwork when we vacationed together in 2002. I thought, "I can do that!" So, I worked full time while doing my PhD full time, starting in 2002 and finished in 2007. My department had not been able to fill my Dad's vacant position for several years, so they actually hired me into his vacant position!
3. What advice would you give to young professionals interested in Sales and Marketing?
Sales used to be about persuasion. It's not any more. At least not in a business to business setting. Today it's about understanding your customer. Not just so you can sell something, but you must have a genuine curiosity and desire to help someone else to be successful. Marketing has changed too.
There's so much clutter, that marketers have to work hard to get attention. It's not enough just to talk about how your company or product is the best. You've got to be relevant. People don't want to hear about general messages of value, they want to know how something is going to affect them personally.
6. What impact do you believe the Internet (readiness of information, social media, customer reviews,…) has had on companies today and how can they use this to their advantage?
The internet is not something we've figured out yet, frankly. Over the last three years, there has been a LOT of money that has moved to online advertising. I think the ability to use information about online behavior to get that relevant message to someone is terrific. It's also a little spooky at times, but there will be more tailoring available. Customer reviews is a whole different ballgame. There are terrible stories about inexperienced companies who try to defend themselves online. Really bad idea. The good thing about customer reviews, and the internet in general, is that memories are short. The bad thing is also that memories are short. Meaning, in general, dollars spent online have a fleeting effect. I'm not sure we know how to use all the capabilities that are out there. There are plenty of opportunities to spend money though.
What does the road to success look like? Some people believe that a linear career path in which each step makes consequential sense is the correct strategy. But, in this day and age, is this truly the case?
Other schools of thought preach that a diversified portfolio can offer greater insight. In today's world, adaptability is often seen as a tremendous asset. From working in banking for years to earning his Ph.D while working full-time, Associate Professor Scott Downey can offer a great deal of insight when it comes to seeing things from multiple views. His experience in the business world has enabled him to now inspire thousands of students to learn the art of Sales & Marketing.
Read on to learn of his school of thought when it comes to career navigation and where he believes business is headed in this ever-changing world:
1. How did you first come to the conclusion that you wanted to work in Agribusiness specifically?
I kind of grew up with it. My grandparents all farmed. My great, great, great grandfather cleared ground just north of Wabash, Indiana in the mid 1800's... 150 acres cleared with horses and axes... I can't imagine how hard that work was. My uncle and cousin still run the family farm, now located just south of Wabash. I've always had a green thumb and liked to be outside doing gardening and landscaping kinds of things. I had terrible allergies as a kid, so couldn't be outside on the farm as much as I wanted, but it's kind of been part of our family all my life. That said, I didn't really grow up with farming. I came to agribusiness through the business side. I worked as a banker for fifteen years before coming to Purdue to be an Associate Director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business. My dad started the Center in the mid-eighties. The new director hired me a few years after my dad retired. It wasn't really an intentional destination for me, but I'm really happy working in this field.
I really like the idea of providing knowledge and information to customers who are passionate about a topic. This is where social media works really well. But most companies don't realize the obligation they create to continually provide content. It's cheap to build an online presence. It's really expensive to maintain one. Marketers who want to be effective online have to have real, relevant information multiple times a day, or at least multiple times a week, if they want an audience to follow them. That means they wind up, essentially, creating, writing, editing, and publishing a newspaper or magazine multiple times a week. And it has to be good or you lose eyes. That's super expensive. Very few have the energy to maintain the pace that's required.
7. In one of your previous articles, you mentioned prioritizing information based on the customer’s needs and preferences. How has technology affected this process?
I talked about that in a sales contexts. The beauty of technology in this process is that it lets a salesperson keep track of customer comments over time and from a variety of sources, if the technology is used correctly. Information from a billing department, a service department, technical teams, and sales calls, coming from multiple levels in a customer's organization, can all be aggregated and searched to spot trends and better understand what is happening in a customer's business. Most companies don't use this very well yet. The number one reason most salespeople use CRM is to look up customer addresses. Progress is being made with tools like salesforce.com. But a lot of times "systems" are created for managers and not sales people.
8. What processes can companies use to innovate in today’s constantly changing world?
Hmmm. I'm not sure I have a good answer for this one. I think the best systems model organic life systems -- they're complex and messy. But, I'm not sure I have a great example of that. I do like google's approach of creating time or roles for people to dream.
9. How can Organizational Behavior impact the success of a company?
Wow, that's a huge issue. It's also one that is generally undervalued. There is a lot of work being done on human capital, and specifically around knowledge transfer. The power of knowledge existing with one individual isn't as great as when knowledge is shared and utilized across a team. I'm not sure we know a lot about the "how" yet though.
10. How do you believe technology will alter the way Marketing and Sales are done in the future?
I think it's going to be around this idea of shared knowledge. At it's most basic, sales and marketing are approaches to communicating information. The former to multiple people, the latter to individuals. That's also what I do as a teacher. It used to be that teaching meant taking what was in my head and transferring it to others. Today, it's not really like that. Today, most of the salient knowledge in my head is available online. So what we're doing today is figuring out how to help people recognize, prioritize, and think. Not all knowledge has the same value. News, for example, is reports of exceptional behavior, not reports of optimal behavior. News is exciting, but reports of optimal behavior are boring, yet, many people decide what they think on the basis of news headlines. News is just one example of how people gather information. Our task as teachers, or as marketing and sales people, will be to help people gather good information, think more deeply about it, and make good decisions even when the tools needed to do that aren't exciting.
Based in Chicago, Jessica reports on career motivation, marketing, entrepreneurship, and many other topics. She is devoted to helping others see things in a different light.