The Business Pages: July/Aug 2013
Business “# Rainmaking
When you take a walk down memory lane and think about the many influences that led you to your current career path, does one summer job experience stand out?
Gwinnett Magazine asked five local business leaders to share the pivotal teen work experiences that helped them arrive at their current places in the business world.
“This June, I returned to one of my high school job locations: Bulape, democratic Republic of the Congo! In 1966, at 16, I had the task of organizing a little hospital pharmacy – an assignment that made an indelible etching on my brain.
Now leading a short-term mission team to that same hospital and others, my avocation is working with Rivers of the World and also the Congo Protestant University. It took years, but I finally realized being hauled to the Congo as a teenage missionary kid prepared me for mission work and shaped my role in the States as an employer, trainer, writer and speaker.”# ” Jimmy Shafe, president, Career Training Concepts, Inc.
“In high school, I worked at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, the city”s major tourism hub before its amazing renaissance and re-development. It was a great experience dealing with lots of crazy tourists and it piqued my interest enough that my entire career has been in tourism.
This job not only sparked my love of the industry, I learned from this incredible example just what a community can do with tourism development and partnerships and the economic development tourism can bring.”# ” Lisa Anders, executive director, Explore Gwinnett
“The summer I turned thirteen, I scoured the neighborhood looking for odd jobs that kept me busy and put some money in my pocket.
Then one of my customers asked me if I would teach her mother to read English. But all this older lady wanted to do was talk and tell me stories, not read. I spoke to my mother who advised me to, “Just talk to her.”
In a short adolescent summer, I learned the lessons of a lifetime: always conduct yourself with grace, work hard and be a person of integrity, compassion and understanding.”# ” Mary Hester, CEO, LAN Systems
“The summer a friend and I spent picking cherries alongside migrant workers, taught me the value of hard work. Being 14, we were a bit careless and nonchalant in our duties.
I remember watching people work tirelessly, without complaint, accepting their roles and responsibilities to provide for their families. I”ve applied that principle in my life, recognizing the importance my role and the impact my decisions have on others.
And, I”m prepared to do whatever it takes, even if that means picking cherries again.”# ” Ronnell Richards, president/CEO, RD Direct Inc.
“My favorite summer job was at Rike”s department store, getting my first taste of retail and learning to love the hustle and bustle. There, I realized you don”t have to have a title to have influence, because I dealt directly with our biggest asset, customers.
The experience ignited my personal passion and a 26-year retail career. Without that strong foundation of hard work and focusing on a job well done, I would never have been able to exit the corporate world to launch my own successful, professional leadership development company.”# ” Sarah Hathorn, CEO, Illustra Consulting