October 1, 2012

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What Doesn’t Kill You…

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Women-Owned Business

Utah Business Staff

October 1, 2012

TURNER: Education comes in a lot of forms, and it doesn’t always have to be in a formal school setting. In our industry, that is helpful. But also, for someone who would like to begin their own business, to internship in a company that is large enough to give them a vision of where they can be. It would be difficult to do an internship in an industry where you would become a competitor. So they would have to reach out to beyond their state and perhaps locate somewhere else for a period of time. But put in the time. That’s education in itself. There are certainly alternatives to higher education as long as someone is very focused on learning.

BECK: One of my pet peeves when I interview people, I get these college graduates who graduated in history. And I’m like, “What were you going to do with that?”

I feel this huge need to get into the colleges and counsel these kids to think about what they are interested in, and if they are not ready to pick a major then maybe do an internship. Do something, because they come out of college and they are earning $10 an hour. Get a destination degree, an accounting or finance degree. That’s my biggest thing.

Does everyone agree that college should definitely be a destination degree—that you go to college simply to have a career?
DUNNING: Sue said her engineers can’t write. I think people, and engineers, have to be able to write and communicate well. And they need to be able to think.

JONES: Well, you’re not guaranteed that from a college grad.

DUNNING: That’s unfortunate. But I think those skills translate to a lot of different purposes.

JOHNSON: They also have to be able to work hard. We hire a lot of interns. We have 11 interns this summer, 10 of them are males and one is a female who got a 35 on her ACT. Yesterday we put her in our lean group, streamlining operations, and they said, “We are going to paint today.” And she went, “I’m not painting.” Really?

It’s not for lack of society trying to lift these girls up, because the engineering schools know we have a critical problem in this country. We don’t have enough engineers. There’s 50 percent of the population that isn’t being fully tapped. I don’t know what the deal is. It’s scary.

JONES: I wanted to just briefly touch on this whole topic of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. First of all, the unemployment rate in STEM careers is virtually zero in this country. There’s not too many career paths that offer that kind of unemployment rate.

The number of women—and this is a very complex topic, especially in state of Utah—that are graduating from our colleges and going on to pursue a STEM career is limited. The number of women pursuing STEM education is very, very limited. That’s a problem that needs addressing.

When I talk and mentor young women, at the end of the day I do believe it’s about your interests and your passions, but I also believe you need to equip yourself with tools that help you to declare your value. A lot of young ladies don’t know how to do that. What happens is they get caught up in politics, they get caught up in frustration, and it can really undermine a career of a young woman. Articulation doesn’t take a college degree, necessarily. But it’s one of the most important traits that young women can use to their advantage, and a real tool they should have in their arsenal.

McCULLOUGH: Women just starting out need to get support. You need a foundational support of people beneath you that can do all the tasks that either you are not good at or that you can afford to outsource. Don’t waste your time doing admin tasks that you can pay someone else to do when you can be focusing on revenue-generating activities.

But then there’s that higher level of support, of mentorship or coaching, and having someone who has gone before help you along the process so that you are not blazing trails that have already been blazed, and you can go along the path of success a lot quicker. The support pieces on both of those levels is really key.

Where would you suggest people go to get mentors?
McCULLOUGH: There’s a plethora of coaches available, and it’s a matter of finding one that resonates with you. But the most important part is looking at their experience and their track record. Stay within your industry, if necessary. Whether you are in manufacturing or fashion or technology, stay within those frameworks. But shop around, ask lots of questions, have consults where you can, and figure out who fits with you to help you maximize your strengths.

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