Defining success: Those who've tasted it share their thoughts on just exactly what 'it' is

August 8, 2005

How do you define career success? We posed that question to a variety of high-profile women and men in the Indianapolis business community. While the responses did confirm some of our preconceived notions-such as that men would mention financial rewards more often than women-there are far more similarities than differences, regardless of gender or profession.

Still, "Career success is defined differently by each individual," as Alex Slabosky, president and CEO of The Healthcare Group, so wisely put it; and as the following responses demonstrate.

Tom Hirons

president and CEO Hirons and Co. Communications Inc.

"Success is: Liking Monday as much as Friday. Looking at your watch at 5:20 and being surprised. Looking forward to Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. Getting a thank-you letter from an intern you worked with three years ago saying the internship was a good and valuable experience, and they are glad they chose this field. Feeling you're needed, but knowing things run pretty well without you. Not taking yourself so seriously, and being just a little surprised when others do." Tracey Holtzman

principal/partner NAI Olympia Partners commercial real estate

"Career success for me is defined by more than just the career itself. When I first began in the real estate business, it was more defined by money and the size of the deal. Although that is still an important part of it, it is now more defined by a balance of faith, family and career-in that order. Having the type of career that allows me the freedom to enjoy all of those things is true success to me."

Gary Davis

president Davis and Associates Inc. construction

"Career success is measuring your effectiveness against the goals and objectives you've set, and then constantly re evaluating your skills vs. their demand and your response to the challenges before you. If this 'self-check' is done regularly and realistically, your career success will be ultimately determined by the professional legacy you leave and those who've benefited from your life's work.

"A living is measured by what you gain; a life is measured by what you give."

Christopher J. Wheat

president and general manager WFBQ-FM 94.7, WRZX-FM 103.3 and WNDE-AM 1260

"Career success begins when you make a decision on your profession (in my case, radio). Having done that, you can then dedicate yourself to that particular industry and eat, sleep and drink every possible aspect of it.

"After you have mastered that process, and have achieved relative success, I believe you then can be measured by how you have transferred that knowledge and experience to the future. All this while keeping a level head about your family and loved ones."

Jennifer Pope Baker

director Women's Fund of Central Indiana

"I define career success not only by the ability to meet the job requirements and objectives, but also how the work was accomplished.

"I hope my own career will be marked by how I made positive changes in my community and my world. I also hope that I have helped create a smoother path for the next generation of women."

Alex Slabosky

president and CEO The Healthcare Group

"Of course, I hope my career has made my community a better place and that I have been rewarded with a level of financial security. But for me, success is more in the process-using my skills and mind, enjoying my work, having satisfying relationships, earning the respect of my colleagues and members of the community-than in the outcome."

Kathy J. Birk

executive director, Indiana/southern Ohio area Morgan Stanley

"Career success cannot be measured by title or position alone. I believe a successful career depends on how well you have inspired trust, empowered people, developed original ideas, and fairly and ethically done your job. Simply stated, success is measured by the people that you have positively impacted." James B. Longest

president Beam Longest and Neff LLC engineering

"I personally think success is a combination of several criteria. I would define success as financial rewards and industry recognition balanced against an active, healthy personal life and mix in some philanthropic, charitable and community service.

"Getting to that point is the hard part. You can't let failure get in your way. Failure only brings success further from your reach.

"Reach for what you want. If you fall in the process, pick yourself up, take hold of what you desire and discover your own success."

Dr. Virginia Caine

director Marion County Health Department

"Career success is the pinnacle in which you enjoy the admiration and respect of your peers, are sought for your wisdom and judgment by the people you serve, and are secure in the knowledge that you are still open to learning something new every day in your profession. It is the point at which you can 'give back' to your community to the fullest extent that you desire. And, you are having a wonderful time in doing so."

Kevin K. Kirkpatrick

president Century 21 Realty Group Cos.

"Success is looking back and seeing how you meet your personal goals you set for yourself in the beginning of your career.

"With the changes and pressures affecting work today, it's critical to do something you enjoy. It's important to work in an environment that makes you happy to go to work every day. It's making a difference and feeling appreciated for what you do.

"Satisfactorily serving the needs and helping those around you to achieve their goals defines success. It's taking control of daily decisions to create a balanced life for you and your family."

Veronica Doan

director Bella Publishing LLC, publisher of Bella magazine

"Career success means to never have to dread waking up in the morning and not look forward to the day. Career success can be defined as being joyful about the day ahead with all of the new challenges that await.

"In order to be successful in your career, you have to truly love what you do and what you can accomplish. Once

you have achieved this, all other things

will fall into place."

John C. Pickett

executive director Indianapolis Opera

"Working and enjoying something about which you feel passionate and knowing that you are empowering others and, hence, feeling empowered to take your organization steps closer to its full potential is sure to bring the satisfaction of a successful career."

Terri L. Eakins

president and CEO Technology Partnership Group Inc.

"Career success is about doing the genuine work necessary to develop selfrespect and earn the respect of your peers, colleagues and employees.

"Although my well-worn 1996 edition of "Webster's New World Dictionary" defines the noun 'success' as 1) a favorable result; 2) the gaining of wealth, fame, etc.; 3) a successful person or thing, I do not believe success has anything to do with wealth or fame. It's about continually demonstrating commitment, dedication, passion, integrity and perseverance in all aspects of one's life."

John B. Livengood

president/CEO Restaurant and Hospitality Association of Indiana

"I consider career success to be a job you enjoy going to every day and a feel ing of personal satisfaction that results from doing that job(s) well over a long period of time. Some degree of material comfort and financial success is helpful to the degree that it frees you up to focus on the challenges and opportunities that are part of being successful.

"I think it's important to have some balance between the demands of your career and your personal life. It's important to me to feel that I am doing something that helps others and contributes to the community."

Melanie Roberts

director of the Fitness Center and Educational Services National Institute for Fitness and Sport

"For me, career success is waking up in the morning and looking forward to the work day ahead. I look forward to it because I believe the work I do is important for, and contributes to, the wellbeing of others.

"The other half of career success to me is that it complements and gives balance to the rest of the things I enjoy-my family and friends, and other sporting and recreational activities."

Bill Godfrey

chairman and CEO Aprimo Inc. software developer

"Building a sustainable and thriving organization that creates lasting value to shareholders, customers, employees and the communities in which we operate."

Carolene R. Mays

State representative (D-Indianapolis) and publisher/general manager of The Indianapolis Recorder

"I believe we all have a purpose and calling.

"Career success is when you are walking in your purpose and your calling. It's when your career is a perfect fit; when you love and have a passion for what you do."

"It's also when your career is balanced in your life."

Dan Appel

president Gregory & Appel Insurance

"I define career success in terms of the journey rather than a destination. My measuring sticks include family, busi ness and community. These elements are interdependent and all very important. My energy level and passion are at their highest when I can strike the correct balance. It's definitely a moving target!

"My family is the foundation for any measure of success, and those metrics are very personal. One clear business measure is the perpetuation of our 120-year-old family business.

"I define community success in my ability to return some of what our community has provided Gregory & Appel through many years of business partnerships."

Mary C. Dinauer

professor of pediatrics director, Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research Riley Hospital for Children Indiana University School of Medicine

"I am a pediatric hematologist and do research on the immune system and inflammatory diseases. For me, success means making discoveries that are at the forefront of my area of research and lead to a better understanding of disease processes or to new treatments.

"Working with students and seeing them get excited about medical research and being a good mentor to younger faculty are also important and rewarding. And, last but not least, being a good doctor for my patients."
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