The answer to my first question in my reflection series which was:
Who is someone who greatly influenced you in your early career?
As I think back to my first “real job” after college, it takes me back to Cincinnati and my time working as a theme park consultant with International Theme Park Service (ITPS). When I was hired in September of 1995, I was fresh out of college with work experience that consisted of being at a theme park (Kings Island) mostly working with people my own age and behaving as one would expect young twenty somethings to do!
Enter Mrs. Jackie Renner!
Jackie was the VP of Administration for International Theme Park Services. I credit her for teaching me what being a professional looked like. I learned much from Jackie including the right way to communicate with people from around the world and other cultures, how to be complete in my preparation for client presentations, and how to be a loyal employee to my organization.
As my tenure at the organization increased, I found myself working more closely with Jackie on new business development. Her ability to judge people and know them quickly was something I admired. When I did not understand the reason behind a process we followed, she was able to explain the why behind it and how the process made the business better. This is a lesson that I’ve never forgotten; always be able to explain your actions and how they can impact your business.
It’s really been over the last few years that the lessons I learned from Jackie have become even more important. My opportunities to interact with and show the next generation what professionalism means have increased. Each time I am complimented on how I handled something professionally or ensured some detail was taken care of, I think of Jackie and say a silent ‘thank you’ to her.
Now, I can say it aloud; thank you Jackie for showing me what being a professional should look like. It is something for which I am very grateful!