Get Smarter by investing in next generation

BizTimes Media invites southeastern Wisconsin employers to invest in their next generation of leaders by sending them to the 2014 BizTimes Get Smarter Talent Development Conference.

“The Transfer of Knowledge and Power to the Next Generation” will be the theme of the breakfast and conference, which will take place at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee on Friday, Oct. 17.

BizTimes has assembled an unprecedented panel of Milwaukee business and civic leaders who will share their wisdom, experience and lessons learned with young professionals interested in jumpstarting their careers and building new skills that will make them more in demand in the workplace and take their organizations to new heights.

The members of the diverse all-star panel of presenters are:

  • Lisa Banner, vice president of global human resources, ManpowerGroup.
  • Cristy Garcia-Thomas, executive vice president, Aurora Health Care, and president, Aurora Foundation.
  • Jalem Getz, president, Wantable Inc.
  • Cecelia Gore, executive director, Brewers Community Foundation.
  • Catherine Jacobson, chief executive officer, Froedtert Health.
  • Richard Leinenkugel, president and chief beer merchant, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co.
  • Richard Pieper Sr., chairman, PPC Partners Inc.
  • Debbie Seeger, senior vice president and co-founder, Patina Solutions.
  • Christine Specht-Palmert, president and chief operating officer, Cousins Submarines Inc.
  • Laura Timm, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs, Briggs & Stratton Corp.

Note that seven of the ten speakers happen to be women. The accomplished executives will speak in rapid-fire succession. They each will be given five minutes to speak in the fast-moving forum. Each is asked to bring five great ideas to help young professionals advance their careers. Young professionals are encouraged to take notes and chronicle the 50 great ideas.

I asked several of the executives to provide our readers with a sneak peek of the kind of wisdom they will impart at the Get Smarter Conference. Here’s a sampling:

Debbie Seeger

“When people tell you, ‘You can be anything you want to be…,’ that’s baloney. Here’s why: I don’t know you, and I don’t know how you are wired to handle rejection, how tenacious you are in the face of adversity, and if I learned anything from the book ‘Outliers,’ it’s that there are a lot of talented people out there who still, for whatever reason, did not find success, and there are a lot of people who were labeled as slackers who found extreme success. What we should be telling you is: ‘Nothing is stopping you.’ There are fewer barriers to success for your generation and so much more resources, connectivity and opportunity available to you – but only your ability to apply your talent and to have it intersect with opportunity will determine your ultimate success.”

Dick Leinenkugel

“Separate yourself from the pack. One simple way to do it: write a personal note… a thank you, a follow-up, congratulations on a promotion, etc. We are inundated with e-mail and texts. Our home mailboxes are full of credit card offers and direct mail pieces from politicians. Yet, when we receive a hand-written, personal note with a stamp and return address on the envelope, what do we do? We open it! And usually right away with the excitement of unwrapping a gift on Christmas morning. It is a lost art and one, if practiced with regularity, will set you apart from your peers (and bosses).”

Cecelia Gore

“Be open to differences and comfortable dealing in that environment. As we all know, we are certainly living in a global world that requires us to enhance our global and cultural competencies. Surprisingly, many of us may not have firsthand experiences that push us to accelerate our knowledge, thus we are unprepared when faced with diversity. I encourage recognition of diversity. Embrace it and let it enhance your lives as individuals seeking to be successful professionals.”

Laura Timm

“Do everything in your life with integrity. Helping co-workers, peers and leaders achieve success will lead to your success. Give of your time and talent both at work and in the community and you will achieve ultimate happiness in everything you do.”

Catherine Jacobson

“Work hard but make sure you enjoy your job. I’m not saying you’ll be happy every moment; there will be days you know why they call it work. Have a passion for what you do or the people you work with. You spend too much time at your job to have it be a negative part of your life.”

Christine Specht-Palmert

“Be willing to stand out. Don’t hide behind groups and group think. Working together and collaboration are essential in any business. However, not everyone is going to rise into leadership roles. If you want to climb that ladder you have to put yourself out there, take calculated risks and get noticed. You can still have great work relationships with your peers, but at the end of the day, your individual ability is what will propel you to the next level.”

A second panel will feature a lineup of “Rising Stars” in southeastern Wisconsin. These young professionals will engage in an unscripted, candid conversation about the best practices for advancing their careers. The conversation will be moderated by Corry Joe Biddle, executive director of FUEL Milwaukee. The “Rising Stars” on that panel will include: Jesús Villa, employee relations consultant, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Inc.; Emily Phillips, financial advisor, Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.; Alex Runner, global communications program manager, Johnson Controls Inc.; and Emily Vitrano, development coordinator, United Performing Arts Fund.

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