Over the past week, I had the opportunity to attend “Learning 2017,” a conference for learning and training professionals in industry. I have never been to such a conference before, because most of my job responsibilities center on education. Since I work at the business school, and the majority of our students are working on their degrees in order to obtain jobs, I felt it would be a unique chance to see the “next step” in learning for the students who walk through the hallways of our building for four years.
In addition to attending, I was also selected for the 30 Under 30 program, which was incredibly fun. I met 29 other young professionals who are driven, poised, intelligent, and hungry to do their jobs well and move up in their fields. As part of this program, we were able to have private Q&A sessions with the speakers who keynoted the various general sessions during the event.
One of those people was Chris Pickett, the Senior Director of Training at PG&E, a utility company on the west coast. I found our session with Chris to be exceptionally insightful and relevant to what I foresee as my own pathway. He told us that success is a marathon, not a sprint, and that the journey to becoming a leader is filled with moments that are less than glamorous. He encouraged us to have passion outside of our work, because that’s what get you through those less glamorous moments while you’re working your way up.
He also mentioned one thing about becoming a leader that really resonated with me. He talked about how to obtain buy in as a new employee. He began working at PG&E ten years ago, but Chris shared with us that he only just obtained his title of Senior Director in the last year. The previous nine, he was working to build credibility and buy in, “one project and one program at a time.” He had to prove to his superiors, colleagues, and employees that he knew what he was doing by getting results, and owning his mistakes. I think these are all great takeaways and I am really happy to have had the opportunity to speak with Chris and the rest of the leaders we saw during the conference.