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Learning Center Experience
NRD Capital's Susan E. Beth propelled herself from struggling college student to operating partner of a franchise equity investment fund by answering these two questions: "What do I want to achieve?" and "Who do I want to be?" The answers formed the basis for a set of "personal guiding principles" that she used to plot her career path. And according to Susan, these principles can lead to a lifetime of satisfying professional achievements.
When I asked Susan what advice she would give to women climbing the corporate ladder, she reflected on her own experience. "Make a list of your personal guiding principles—basically a list of the things that are most important to you feeling fulfilled and successful in all aspects of your life. For example, if it's really important to you to be home for your kids' sporting events, or if you feel inspired when you mentor people, write those moments down to serve as reminders of what keeps you motivated. Each time an opportunity to move up the ladder presents itself, check the obligations of the 'ladder' against your personal guiding principles and make certain you will be able to remain true to yourself if you step up. Then, proceed confidently in the direction of your choice."
Susan's story is an inspiration to anyone interested in learning what it takes to persevere and thrive professionally. At just 19 years old, Susan purchased her first car wash with her sister. She was $300,000 in debt and attending college full-time with a 3-hour commute to the car wash. Years passed, life happened, and Susan ultimately reaffirmed her professional pursuits by defining her set of personal guiding principles.
In listening to Susan's story, I was intrigued to learn her advice on the skills she considers relevant in today's workplace, the habits of successful women, and what to look for in a mentor. According to Susan, the business world can be a very harsh but rewarding place if you earn every accolade and promotion on the ladder to success on your terms, not anyone else's.Martin J. McDermott, Full-Time Faculty
In listening to Susan's story, I was intrigued to learn her advice on the skills she considers relevant in today's workplace, the habits of successful women, and what to look for in a mentor. According to Susan, the business world can be a very harsh but rewarding place if you earn every accolade and promotion on the ladder to success on your terms, not anyone else's.
Martin J. McDermott, Full-Time Faculty
Susan E. Beth, CFE is an operating partner at NRD capital. Her role is to identify brands to invest in and contribute operations expertise to brands in the NRD portfolio. The mission at NRD is to partner with brands that offer superior products and compelling unit economics, and help them grow to their fullest potential using the power of franchising. In addition, Susan has almost 30 years of business experience. For the last 5 years, she served as the Chief Operating Officer for Super Wash, Inc.
Over the years, Susan has received several prestigious awards such as the Bonny Levine Award for her work in mentoring women entrepreneurs. Susan is also a recipient of the WFC Crystal Compass, which the International Franchise Association’s Women’s Franchise Committee bestows upon someone within the franchise community who epitomizes the ideals of leadership.
1. Networking Skills
Networking has been invaluable to growing Susan's career as it led to her meeting one of her mentors, Fred Deluca, the founder of Subway. Fred encouraged Susan to fulfill one of her dreams of becoming a professional speaker. One way to begin is to join groups, organizations, associations, and committees that that interest you.
2. Public Speaking Skills
Public speaking was one of Susan's many passions. A 2013 survey by the National Association of College and Employers found that the ability to communicate effectively is the skill employers most want to see in job applicants.
3. Relationship Building Skills
A common term in business today is relationship marketing, which refers to creating lasting, reciprocally satisfying buyer-seller relationships that lead to win-win situations for both parties. Susan emphasizes the importance of building authentic relationships not just in the consumer sector, but also in any business connection.
1. Will they challenge and push you to be a better person?
A good mentor will inspire you to think outside your comfort zone. They will push you to challenge your status quo.
2. Will they support you?
Because climbing the ladder to success is filled with many obstacles, it is critical to have someone who will support and encourage you when you hit roadblocks.
3. Are they willing to be a teacher?
A good mentor is not just someone you trust and can model your behavior after; they should be someone who will push you to do more. An effective mentor should be engaged in your learning process to help build your skills and confidence. This could be accomplished in the form of weekly assignments or goal-oriented activities that indicate where you did well and where you can improve.
4. Do you have a rapport with your mentor?
Some people are natural mentors, others have to work at it, and others yet are just not meant to be in the role. If you're not clicking with your mentor, seek out another one.
1. Keep learning and growing.
There is a great expression that when you stop learning, you stop growing. You can read more books, take online courses, subscribe to newsletters, or start a blog.
2. Value and support your health.
Susan suggests that your health is your wealth. "You are what you eat," goes the saying. The same principle applies to how you work. Countless studies and reports link healthy eating and living to better workplace productivity. A well-tuned mind, spirit, and form can be more important than a powerful laptop or software program to achieve your best outcomes in the office.
3. Consistently build relationships.
In addition to building your relationship skills, consistently work on building your business relationships. Today's social networking tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook provide us the opportunity to build relationships without time or space constraints.
4. Increase your motivational drive.
One of Susan's daily affirmations was, "Success is my only option, and failure is not." Espousing a mantra such as this one can keep your motivational juices flowing to keep you on track toward realizing your goals.
5. Pursue your vision.
Having a vision and acting on it is a quality of a great leader.
6. Embrace failure and learn from it.
It's been said that Thomas Edison had approximately 10,000 attempts before he created the light bulb. Edison suggested, "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."
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