Today’s Young Professionals Still Have a Lot to Learn

They’re better educated, more technologically gifted, and have a firmer grasp on the realities of life at an earlier age than perhaps their Baby Boomer contemporaries had at comparable points in their lives.  Yet, today’s YPs are still finding their way and seeking balance – in their careers, their families and their leisure pursuits.

To assist them, Spacecoast Business arranged for a few local YPs to meet with business and community leaders for a little conversation and some sage advice.

Dr. Maxwell King and Murielle Pamphile

Murielle Pamphile, the Director of Student Services at Keiser University, is always looking for ways to help better serve her students. Who better to talk with than the legendary Dr. Maxwell King, who served as president of Brevard Community College for 30 years?

MP: What advice has really helped you throughout your career?

MK: I went to school on a football scholarship.  I went to Auburn University.  I’ll never forget this – one class in leadership I was taking, this lady professor included in her remarks (which at the time, I thought was kind of dumb), ‘and class, remember, the only way to lead is to lead.’  I got to thinking about it later and I realized that what she was saying is that if something needs to be done, do it.  You can have committees; you can have other people working for you and with you, but in the final analysis, if it needs to be done, do it.  That’s been my legacy over the years.

I’ll never forget, a few years later, I was on a trip to Europe with a bunch of university presidents, and they were talking about when they got back home they were going to start an organization to kind of pull together international understanding.  I got back home and kept waiting to hear from some of them.  I never heard anything, so finally I got out and I started an organization which is now called Community Colleges for International Development.  It’s doing very well, has programs all over the country, all over the world, really.  I just think, in the final analysis, what that lady said … ‘if something needs to be done, do it.’  Don’t just talk about it.  Don’t just plan committees.  Get out and do it.

MP: You have talked about your life of service.  All of them are special, but what would you say has been the most special, has had the most impact for you?

MK: I was a Fulbright Scholar on three different occasions in India and Taiwan.  It was a great experience.  I had a chance to talk to people from other countries, and they had a chance to talk to people from the U.S.  I think those experiences were great and allowed me to understand even better what we could do locally to extend better relationships with people throughout the world.

MP: As a young professional, what would you tell me is the key for success?

MK: I think the key is, going back to the statement I made earlier about leadership, if you see something in a community that needs to get done, get in and do it.  Today, in our community, there are a lot of young people that need help.  There are the Boys and Girls Club, Children’s Advocacy, Salvation Army, Junior Achievement – all these are organizations that are out there to help young people, and I’ve gotten involved in all of them.  It helps me, and I have a feeling I’m helping a lot of young people still today, go about their lives and become more successful and happier in their lives.

MP: How do you maintain balance in your life, professionally and personally?

MK: You’ve got to have good activities and physical activities.  I believe strongly in physical activities – walking, playing golf.  Then there are community activities that allow you to participate in things that are going to help your community.  I just believe strongly in physical activity, and I think that participation keeps your mental activity growing.  The busier people are …  it beats sitting in front of the television all the time – even though I do a lot of that.  But still, there are other things to do in the community.

MP: In terms of selecting a path, there are so many opportunities out there … if you have multiple choices, how do you select which path to take that’s going to lead you to that ultimate success?

MK: That’s a decision an individual has to make in his heart.  It’s hard to make them.  If you’re going to college, the route that you’re taking in college … try to pick out something that you would be interested in doing.  Then, as you move along, you’ve got a chance to reflect more and more on that.  Then, when it comes time to graduate, you can really determine if that’s what you want to do with your life.  I just think that’s so important, to be doing something you think you would like to do for a long time.

MP: What are some of the most rewarding factors in all of the work you’ve done?  If you could summarize one thing, what has given you a lot of joy and where do you think you’ve had a lot of impact?

MK: There’s a term that you would recognize very quickly that I guess would sum it up – community service.  Community service can be local, statewide, national or international.  I think service to these communities is something that’s been very helpful to me along the way.  I’ve enjoyed it very much and felt like I was doing a service.”

Barbara Wall and Julie Braga

When Barbara Wall, president of Prudential Sterling Properties, got together with Julie Braga, account executive for Marriott Area Sales, they seemed to have a natural rapport with each other.  The successful real estate agent sat down for a talk with the woman who recently won the ‘4 under 40’ award from LEAD Brevard to discuss business and life in general.

JB: What are the keys to enjoying your work?

BW: Oh, I think working with people that you like and getting up in the morning loving to go to work.  That’s the most important thing in life.  You spend more time at work than anyplace, but if you love your job, it’s not work.  I learned a long time ago to work with people you love, and love the people you work with.

JB: That’s awesome.  Do you consider yourself an optimist?

BW: Absolutely (laughs).  I just don’t let negative thoughts get in the way.  I think, first of all, if you enjoy what you’re doing, you enjoy your family, you enjoy … whatever it is you love to do, you always look at the good things.  In order to sell something, even if it’s a house that needs work, I have to create an image like a diamond-in-the-rough to advertise and push the property so that it’s appealing.  I think that’s important.

JB: So, do you think optimism is something you can grow?

BW: Yes.  It’s infinite.  It’s limitless, as far as the amount of optimism.  I think the longer you live and the more you experience some sad things in life, you really have to learn to enjoy what it is that makes life special and bring back the optimism.  I just get in the car and play happy music.  That gets me.  I tell people in my office, if you’re down, don’t sit with somebody else that’s down.  Sit with somebody else that’s up.  Go get a cup of coffee that’s the best coffee you’ve ever had.  Enjoy it.  Put your favorite music on and enjoy it.  Talk about fun things.  You know sales; you wouldn’t be in sales if you weren’t an optimist.

JB: What is the best lesson you learned from a failure?

BW: Well, I think when you go through life wanting to reach a certain level of achievement, you fail a lot.  You just know how to get up and keep going.  You don’t let it drag you down.  I think when you fail at anything, you sit back and you analyze: what was it that didn’t work out, and why?  In business deals, I do that all the time.  Why didn’t that negotiation go right?  Is there something I could have done that could have helped it?  Or was it meant to be?  I do believe in the clandestine prophecy – everything happens for a reason.  I think once you live that way, you accept certain things that didn’t work out, and then you move on with the understanding that this is the way life is meant to be, so I’m switching gears and I’m going in this direction.  It’s a great world out there.

JB: How do you maintain balance in your life, personally and professionally?

BW: I don’t think I did maintain balance in my career.  I think I was a workaholic.  And then one day, I woke up and I said, ‘Wait a minute, I want to hold those grandbabies and just look in their eyes and love them with all my heart.’  Then, I think marrying Chuck Scanlon … the past six years, he has taught me balance.  He said, ‘You can do all this.  You can go anyplace in the world, you can do anything you want, and you can always come back to your work.  You can even do your work on the other side of the world.’  And I can.  I mean, I’m in touch with my clients if I’m in Hong Kong. … I think I have a lot of balance now.  And I take as much vacation as my longest employee.  She’s been with us 24 years.  I want to take as much vacation as she has, because I think as a company owner sometimes we don’t do that, and I think it’s really important to do that.  But as far as balancing when I was a workaholic, I loved the people I worked with, so even the fun I had was with my clients.

JB: What do you think are the secrets to long-term success?

BW: I think being happy with what you do.  I think it’s very basic.  You just have to find the pleasure and enjoy it.  I think if you’re a normal person, finding pleasure in your job is also finding challenges in your job, which also leads to maybe not succeeding in everything you do because then it’s too simple, and maybe you’re doing something you’re under-qualified for.  I always say continue to have an education.  Never stop, no matter what degree you have.  Continue to strive for more education, and continue the challenges, because they’re the things that bring you those highs when you accomplish them.

Chas Hoyman and Heather Hager

Heather Hager, a tax professional at Hoyman/Dobson, recently sat down to talk about the keys to success in business and in the accounting field with someone she knows quite well – her father, Chas Hoyman, the Managing Director at Hoyman Dobson.

HH: How do you balance kids and tax season?

CH: By getting in early and trying to be very focused on getting my work done.  I would go back and work at different times, or I’d bring work home in order to get the things in I needed to have done, but still make the  time for family.  We did that mainly because all the directors in the firm basically had young children at the same time.  It was a priority.  It’s still a priority, even for our young professionals as they continue to grow.  We allow them to take the time off that they need, but they realize they have work to get done, so they work different schedules in order to accomplish that.  It’s part of the philosophy of the firm to be family-friendly and to allow everybody to work on that kind of a schedule.

HH: What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from a failure?

CH: One of the best lessons I learned was not to burn bridges.  If something occurs, understand it, learn from it and go on.  This is a small community, so the idea of trying to continue to hold onto relationships and build relationships in many situations is important.  It’s one that I feel like I’ve benefitted from.

HH: What is your advice to the young professionals in the community?

CH: My advice is to learn and grow technically in what you do, and in your business.  Be involved in this community.  By that involvement, I mean get into an organization that you enjoy and you have a passion for.  Not only join it, but get involved and work to a point of leadership in that community.  You will get many rewards from that, but you will also bring many rewards to the community by doing that – both in your business and in your personal life.

HH: What do you think are the secrets of long-term success?

CH: I think the secret relates to long-term relationships, and building relationships.  Having gone to junior high and high school here, some of the relationships that I still have are with people that I met in high school and in my college days.  Some of those relationships relate to some of the young people I met when I first came back to this community and the involvement I had with different organizations.  That carries over, even to the relationships inside our business.  Tom Kirk, Barbara Oswalt, Karen Kirkland, Debbie Goode and I, and many of the people that work in our firm, have worked well over 20 years together.  That says a lot about how relationships are built, how they’re continued, and the benefits of those long-term relationships.

HH: Do you consider yourself an optimist?

CH: I do consider myself an optimist, and I believe I got a lot of that from my father – which is pretty special and interesting, having this conversation with you.  My father had a lot of trials in his life with various things, but he always saw life as (the glass being) half full.  He instilled that in my sister, my brother and I, and I think we have instilled that in our children.

HH: When is the right time to take a risk?

CH: Another way for saying risk is opportunity, and how do you look at opportunity, and how do you move forward with those opportunities.  I think our firm has been successful because we have looked at opportunities and we have continued to build on the opportunities that have been presented to us.  There were times the opportunities we tried to take advantage of did not work out, so the key was to learn from those things that didn’t work out and to use those lessons the next time you looked at an opportunity and try to decide how to approach it and how to be successful at looking at that next opportunity.  I believe that one of the strengths of our firm is that we have continually tried to innovate and take advantage of opportunities as they’ve been presented.  This has been a great community from that standpoint.  It’s continued to grow; it’s continued to develop and because we were able to embrace some of those opportunities, I think it’s added to our success.

HH: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve gotten and how have you applied it?

CH: Probably the business advice related to my early work with Roger Dobson.  Roger always did a great job of connecting with his clients and communicating with his clients.  I think I learned that from him – to stay close to clients, connect to clients and provide for their needs.