Panel discusses standard for success
A hunger for knowledge, a positive attitude, hard work and determination are the keys to success according to a panel of successful businesswomen who participated in a discussion with UH students on Wednesday.
The discussion was titled The Female Success Factor: Dynamic Women in Business, Community and Family. A panel of women composed of CEO of Lane Staffing Carla Lane, co-founder of The Principle Partnering Group Karen Becerra, senior account manager Marcia Paige, executive director of Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance Susan Repka and community reinvestment manager at Comerica Bank Vanessa Reed, sought to make students think about their goals and what it will take to achieve them by sharing their own success stories.
Lane, a UH alumnus and 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, told the story of how she got into the company staffing business as an accounting clerk while at UH and eventually started her own firm. She said she never planned to be in the staffing business, but because she was so willing to learn, she was able to manage the business on her own.
“Be a student of your craft. Learn whatever you can learn from whomever you can learn it,” Lane said.
Reed, a New Orleans native, became involved with banking because of her interest in dealing with money. She said she didn’t always know everything, but her attitude in the workplace made people think she knew exactly what she was doing.
“You’re not going to show up the first day knowing everything. You have to put your game face on and just listen and sit back and take things in and look it up later,” Reed said. “You have to be willing to learn and listen.”
Alongside a confident attitude, Reed said she believes in looking the part too. She suggested that students always dress as if they are always a level higher than they actually are.
“I was always in a suit and I had my roller bag. Nobody knew I didn’t have anything inside. So I looked like the person I wanted to be.”
Paige summed up her keys to success with six words: goals, activate, reputation, determination, energy and networking.
Paige said once goals are created, they should be acted upon aggressively.
“I hate ending the day with ‘I meant to do that!’ or ‘Somebody else beat me to it,’” Paige said. “The first ‘no’ is not always the final ‘no.’”
Mayor Annise Parker was also present to close the discussion and provide her insight.
“We should follow our passions. Life is too short to go through the motions,” Parker said. “If you can earn a living and love what you do, you are truly blessed. For the last 12 years and three months, I’ve been excited to go to work every day. It’s never felt like work.
“The best gift you can give yourself, in addition to a good education, is to surround yourselves with friends who will push you to be more than you think you are.”