Larson Design Group’s Brenda Nichols recently shared “Words of Wisdom” remarks at Bloomsburg University’s Career Intensive Boot Camp based on her 32 years of experience as an accountant, chief financial officer and now board chair of a nationally emerging architectural/engineering firm. She is the first woman board chair in LDG’s 31-year history and among a very few in Pennsylvania.
Presenting to an audience of 70 students and faculty, Nichols shared eight of the top values-based behaviors she tries to model in her life as a corporate executive and as a mentor to others. They include:
- Active listening
- Willingness to disagree and commit
- The right combination of confidence and humility
- Knowing how to make decisions while owning mistakes
- How to accept challenges
- Learning that networks and mentors come from everywhere
- Knowing how to turn lemons into lemonade
- Confidence that education is a foundation upon which to continue building
The Career Intensive Boot Camp is a 2.5-day experience for seniors, juniors, and recent graduates to learn how to leverage their skills and experience to be successful in the transition from student to professional. Bloomsburg University holds boot camps during the fall and spring semesters each year. During the camp, students participate in more than 20 unique sessions covering topics such as Compensation Considerations, Debunking the “Career Path” Myth, The Shocking Truth of Getting Hired, Making Connections on LinkedIn, Mock Interviews, and Instructor-led Etiquette Dinner.
Nichols, a 1985 graduate of Bloomsburg’s cccounting program, discussed the lessons she’s learned over the course of her career which she feels have made her successful. Her additional “Top 9” learnings of advice were the following:
- Don’t cry over spilt milk.
- Remember you have to sleep in the bed you made.
- Money can’t buy happiness.
- Treat others like you would like to be treated.
- Respect your elders.
- All’s well that ends well.
- What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
- Life is what you make of it.
- Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!
“As you progress through your career, you’ll come up against many obstacles – people that are negative, people that don’t want you to succeed, or people that are always looking for the hidden meaning in everything,” Nichols said. “It’s how you handle it that matters. Dwelling on a negative has no positive, so learn to find the nugget of growth that’s contained in the negative.”
She credits a large part of her success to the education she received at Bloomsburg, which she believes gave her the well-rounded knowledge necessary to thrive in the world of corporate accounting and executive leadership.
In closing, she read aloud the poem The Dash by Linda Ellis, focusing on what really matters in life.