As Oswald Companies commemorates its 125th anniversary, I am hitting a milestone as well – ten-plus years’ here. In between all the celebrating, I can’t help but reflect on my decision to stick around while all my peers were moving to job after job. This seems to be pretty rare, especially for my generation. While my path has been unique, that doesn’t mean others can’t follow.
I started with Oswald immediately after college graduation. It was nothing less than scary and thrilling coming into a company located in downtown Cleveland, with no knowledge of the industry, just the drive to do well and learn a lot. I may have been young, but I was also disciplined. In my ten-plus (short) years, I have learned three major lessons that solidified my decision to stick around.
- Lesson #1 – Don’t find a mentor, find a group of mentors
I have had many mentors along the way, some female and some male. A few were managers, others confidants. I enjoyed learning of course, but found that hearing others’ perspectives about their successes, struggles and how they got to their end game was most rewarding. When you engage with a diverse group of mentors, you emerge with many directions you can grow in. Some of these mentors will evolve into sponsors, and as your path becomes more defined, your sponsor’s role becomes more crucial.
- Lesson #2 – Impressions
I learned early on that, while first impressions are important, a lasting impression is crucial to your long-lived success and growth. Technical skills are learned along the way; don’t ever be timid about stepping up just because you don’t know the “stuff.” If you are disciplined, determined and willing to do the work, you will create an impression that won’t let you be forgotten. As for the individuals you trust with your growth and future? Their impressions matter too. I still remember my first interview here with my boss and how I felt after our conversation. Go with your gut; I did.
- Lesson #3 – Speak Up
It can be scary to speak up when you’re the new person at the table, or even when you’re the seasoned one. If I have learned anything at all, it’s crucial to have the confidence and trust in yourself to speak up. If you don’t, you will be overlooked. It comes down to this: you’re the only one that has first-hand experience of your accomplishments. If you don’t talk about them, no one else will.
While these are lessons I have learned along the way, they are also still my foundation that I integrate into my day-to-day, every day. Over my time here at Oswald, I have always felt that these founding blocks (among others) have encouraged me to be committed to my team, this company and most importantly, my own success. At the end of the day, sometimes the grass really is greener right where you’re standing.
About the Author:
Deena Rini is the Practice Leader for Oswald Financial, Inc. She is responsible for driving revenue growth and profitability by maximizing client retention and effectively allocating resources to secure and support new business. Rini earned her Masters of Business Administration at John Carroll University with honors in 2011. In addition, she earned her Bachelor of Sciences degree in Mathematics and Business from Muskingum University. Rini also continued her education by completing executive education courses at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University throughout her tenure with Oswald.
The Oswald Women’s Leadership Council was created to empower, develop, and advance Oswald employee-owners, in support of professional and personal development, and an inclusive environment that advances the success of women and the organization. Read earlier articles from the Council below.
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