Dubuque CEOs: Keep pursuing your passions

On Monday, March 10, Jeff Roberts and the Center for Experiential Learning hosted a CEO Luncheon in the ACC ballrooms. The CEO Luncheon is an opportunity for students to network and learn from professionals. The panelist who spoke had many great words of wisdoms for the students in attendance.

“Exposure to community leaders is a crucial and a unique opportunity,” President of Mercy Medical Center Kay Takes said.

Many of the speakers had moving success stories. For example, the CEO of Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA, Sharon Covey, did not receive her bachelor’s degree until she was in her thirties. Growing up, no one went to college, so she believed she could succeed without it, which she did. She opened three Florist Shops. However, after taking 10 years of community College classes, she decided she wanted to experience the “on Campus life.” At age 34, she sold her shops and moved onto a college campus with her children.

“Pay attention to what you love and what you are passionate about because that is what will make you happiest,” Covey said. “Think about the love first, and the money will come after.”

President of Honkamp Kruger Payroll, Natalie Hoffmann, explained people must take risks in order to succeed. She commented on Covey’s story.

“If you don’t go and try it out, you will never know,” Hoffmann said. “Regardless of your degree, your social skills is what will open doors for you.”

The panel was asked many questions by students such as vice president of the student senate, Hannah Temeyer.

“What are the most important traits of a successful leader?” was one of the questions asked.

Takes answered that leaders must most importantly be energetic and reliable; John Dickinson added how leaders must understand people’s perspectives and be good at listening to the inputs of others.

“What advice can you give to people transitioning from college to careers?” was the last question asked by the students.

“The first job takes some time to get used to,” Hoffmann said. “You have to be patient and make the most of your choices. Choose a job and stick with it. If you do not like it after a year, then you can always leave. None of us (CEOs) had instant success. We all made mistakes in jobs, and we all have held many jobs.”

As students transition into business mode, it is important to build relationships with other people. Build relationships with fellow students, co-workers, bosses, and teachers. Knowing people is the key to success.

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