This article was penned by Chelsey Tupper, director of operations and client development.
Learning has always been an integral part of who I am. That’s probably because I was raised by two parents who realized the value of a solid education and both loved uncovering new knowledge. My mom and dad worked fervently to provide my sister and me with educational travel opportunities and even afforded me the ability to go to the college of my choosing. My parents gained their love for learning from their parents, and at the age of 33, I’m beyond blessed to still have the mentorship of all six of these individuals. I’ve witnessed firsthand from my family the importance of lifelong learning, from reading countless books (for pleasure and work) to learning history and trivia to staying abreast of changing trends in your profession and developing new hobbies. Further, I’ve learned that lifelong learning doesn’t just help you excel professionally but also keeps life fun, fresh and fascinating.
Aside from my parents and grandparents, I’ve been fortunate enough to have several mentors throughout my life, and the list only continues to grow. I love listening to others and learning all that I can from the people I meet because each of us has our own, unique experiences to share; it’s incredible what you can soak up from others if you just pay attention and listen. Two individuals whom I’ve been lucky enough to have as mentors over the past three years are my bosses Peter Steve and Donna Hansbury. Peter’s outlook on learning and bettering yourself is very similar to that of my parents and grandparents. He is always reading and researching, and he impresses the importance of this practice upon the Ideaworks team. Peter continuously says that reading all we can about our industry and those industries of our clients is what makes us an invaluable partner. And he’s right. Developing fresh solutions to our clients’ challenges and guiding them in the right direction are what make our clients come back to us, project after project, trusting in our ability to help them succeed. Donna has taught me to become a more strategic thinker and problem solver. For example, she has shown me the importance of taking the time to figure out a new program or concept, and not being too quick to ask others for assistance before delving into it myself. It’s difficult to find solutions to such things if reading and researching aren’t part of your core, everyday tasks – yet another reason to embrace lifelong learning.
Back in April, I spoke at a local university as part of its annual communication conference for high school juniors and seniors. The conference helps students discern career paths within the communication industry. I love speaking to high school and college students because I remember when I was in their shoes, and listening to young professionals share their career stories and advice was always helpful and inspiring. For this particular engagement, I chose to speak about the value of lifelong learning and how vital it is for success in college and beyond. Throughout the presentation, I shared the advice I’ve gained from Peter and Donna, along with what I’ve learned from my own life experiences. Several students asked questions following the presentation, wanting me to share additional insight into how they, too, can adopt the “always be learning” mindset.
While I may never know which tips, tricks or stories from my presentation my audience found most inspiring, I’m confident that they, too, walked away with something valuable. And as I reflect on that experience and the many I’ve had to shape me into the professional I am today, I realize that there’s nothing more gratifying than helping one of those students reach an important realization: Lifelong learning really is the key to success, and you never know where its influence stops. I am certain that my parents, grandparents, Peter, Donna and the many other mentors I’ve been blessed to have would be proud that I am committed to paying forward what each of these individuals have impressed upon me.