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Advice for the Next Generation of Business & Community Leaders

Updated: Nov 27, 2023



Rod Giltz: Follow your passion and make sure you like what you do. Work hard at it. Be respectfully, show up on time and even simply show up.

Richelle Gregory: Work hard and demonstrate your best self at every position/job because you never know when an opportunity will present itself. The quality of your relationships is the most important determination of success and being present, in person, is the best way to cultivate relationships. 

Joe Keegan: Understand the importance of working hard to create opportunities in a community like the North Country. People prefer to do business with people they already know. It’s important to treat people with kindness and it is much easier to do that in our region without corporate pressure to hit budgets.

Rick Martindale: Roll up your sleeves and work hard and you’ll get noticed. Don’t just have the “I Want, want, want” attitude and feel entitled that the opportunities should just be there for you after you graduate. If you don’t love the career you’re in, stop doing it and look for a new one. Money is important, but it isn’t everything; you need to love what you do.

Matt Spiegel: You’ll only work hard if you enjoy what you’re doing. Get into a work culture that makes you feel like you fit in and belong there. There are a lot of opportunity out there. Keep searching for what you love and when you find it, your job will feel like part of your lifestyle rather than just a job.

Shannon Wilkins: Be passionate about what you do. Rulfs became my passion after I worked for corporate America. I loved my time away, but it wasn’t where I wanted to be in the long run. Because I experienced it, now I know I’m in the right place being back home. If it’s your passion and you work hard, you’ll survive the ups and downs and it will pay off.

Maria Alexander: “Be mindful of the generation you are working with. Technology is amazing, but you have to be mindful that people need human contact.

Garry Douglas: Be optimistic, not as a calculation, but as an intellectual choice. Optimism is a force multiplier. And understand the basic elements of personal power and develop those elements throughout your life.

Chris Hay: Don’t put too much emphasis on optimizing the short-term performance of your business. Try to take a more holistic, long-term approach to help ensure overall sustainability while understanding how your actions impact your community as a whole. The stronger the local community is, the more opportunities you will have in the long term.

Brittany Silvestri: Think ahead. Really think ahead. Ask yourself, “How will you be solving the problems of today three to five years from now? What do you envision your industry will look like and what role do you see your organization fulfilling?” Technology changes quickly, but culture changes slowly. It’s never too early to start the conversation about how you’ll be solving the problems of today with the technology or resources of the future.

Chris Trombley: This is a community. Be part of the community. Especially be part of the business community.

Mike Carpenter: Leading with kindness, integrity and purpose will bring your life and your career to places far beyond wealth.

John Bernardi: Prosperity is the fruit of your hard work and thoughtful wisdom, but empathy and compassion are the dividends you pay back. It’s like a tax, but the rewards can fill the souls of many, including your own.

Kristy Kennedy: I would tell the next generation that we have some great leaders in this community and to learn from them. Do not dismiss their ideas because they don’t align with how YOU think things should be done. There is a reason several of them have been leaders for a while – understand why. I would also advise young professionals to understand starting at the bottom and learning every step, every position is the way to success – no one should be CEO immediately.

Courtney Chandler Delaura: Get involved and stay engaged with your community.

Eric Zeisloft: Teamwork and collaboration are critical. This can be within one’s company, within the community or even with competing companies. Creating networks provides support that helps everyone thrive.

Annie Brennan: Surround yourself with great people. Block out the noise and stay focused on your end goal.

Justin Ihne: Don’t have a preconceived idea of what a job should be. Add your flavor to whatever comes your way.

Trevor Cole: Make kindness cool again. The idea that ten friends are better than ten enemies is self-evident.

Sylvie Nelson: It is important for North Country students to understand what our employers produce in our own backyard so they feel they can have a great future here. It is our role as community and business leaders to ensure that occurs.

Billy Jones: Work hard and don’t let the criticism get to you. You’ll always have critics if you are trying to do the right thing.

Heidi Breton: Invest in yourself and your people.

Joel Wood: Get involved. Do an internship, go to networking events, meet new people. Almost every opportunity that has come my way has been a combined result of hard work and knowing somebody who knew somebody else. Expanding your professional network early in your career will only help you.

Matt Boire: Your knowledge of technology and all it is able to do can take you far. However, if you fail to put that technology down and meet your co-workers, customers and neighbors face to face you will restrain your success and happiness. If you want be successful, be active in your community (business and social). Take time to really get to know the people you work and socialize with as they will be able to teach you so much.

Elizabeth Goerlitz-Coryer: Work hard and strive to deliver outstanding results no matter your craft.

Kasey Kirk: Stretch and grow! Always be willing to be a little uncomfortable to help develop yourself, the team, the organization, and the community. Serve those that you lead, be flexible, vulnerable, and have empathy. Ultimately, do the right thing and be kind.

Michael Cashman: Take a multigenerational approach.

Molly Ryan: Learning from your failures will give way to success if you are patient and open minded.

Kim Manion: Become an expert in something. Go really deep.

Devi Momot: My Dad said the best time to grow is in a declining economy.

Ryan Lee: The scope of the cyber threat thing is crazy!

Lamiaa Aly: Do what you like. Do what you are passionate about!

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