Orange County Branch Newsletter
ASCE OC YMF Leadership and Success Speaker Series
By Oscar Rivera and Daniela Malott
The ASCE OC YMF Leadership and Success Speaker Series brought four prominent, well-respected industry members to discuss their career experiences and what they believe it takes to become a successful leader today.The speaker series was kicked off on April 15 with Robert Bein’s presentation on “Keys to a Balance Life.” Mr. Bein is Chairman of the Board Emeritus of RBF Consulting and has almost 50 years of professional engineering experience. He joined RBF as Chief Engineer, became President of RBF in 1964, and Chief Executive Officer in 1991. Mr. Bein’s presentation was a look into his career throughout the years and how he dealt with balancing work, family, extracurricular activities and friends. He first discussed his early career years before joining RBF Consulting. After he joined RBF Consulting his life began to get busier and busier; balancing his work and his personal life got more difficult as his responsibilities at the work place demanded more of his time. Even though he was finding himself more occupied with his company he still would always take time to do other things he enjoyed. It is inspirational to hear Mr. Bein talk about all of the success he was having with RBF Consulting, while still being a family man and holding important board positions with organizations like ASCE. He discussed how he became ASCE National president at the right time in his career and how holding this position was a great experience.
After he talked about his life and told attendees how throughout the years he dealt with balancing it. While his life was not always the perfect balance, he gave the audience a few tips on things they should always considered in their lives to maintain a good balance every day. He first handed out a sheet that provides “key areas of balance” like family, career, friends, hobbies, chores, and vacations among others. The same hand out provides “tools to help balance” for example love, patience, positive attitude, goodness, self-control, dependable, generosity among others. This handout is a great tool given to attendees to always remember which areas of their lives they should be aware of and which tools are needed in order to succeed in all of the ones important to them. The second handout is “the wheel of balanced life.” The purpose of this wheel is to organize from one to ten how satisfied or unsatisfied one is with different aspects of life such as where you live, money, health, friends and family, significant others, personal growth, career and recreation. “The wheel of balanced life” is another great tool that one can always look at in order to reconsider life at a certain moment. Mr. Bein’s presentation was a great opportunity for everyone to take a look at their lives and their futures. As always Mr. Bein is a great speaker and great person to listen to. His live story is very inspirational. He makes every single attendee feel welcomed and important and his success is a great example to encourage everyone to work hard and live their dreams.
After Mr. Bein, the Speaker Series continued with Richard Brady, of Richard Brady and Associates, who spoke about “Becoming Your Own Boss.” Mr. Brady founded his company which specializes in water, wastewater, and water resources in 1999 and is based in San Diego with four other locations across the country. His presentation focused mainly on his career and the many failures, successes, and lessons learned that came along the way. One of the key things that Mr. Brady stressed was that there is more to learn from one’s failures than successes. It was not until starting his third company that he was able to find success as his own boss, but the experiences from his first two failed business ventures are what made it possible for his firm to be where it is today. Another key for becoming your own boss that the audience was able to take away from the presentation is the importance of relationships and clients. Mr. Brady repeatedly said he would have never attempted to start his own firm if he did not have clients that he knew would follow him. Cultivating meaningful relationships with clients and colleagues can make or break a business. After his presentation was over, he took many of the YMF members in attendance to a local wine bar where we were able to hear more stories about his life and career in a much more informal setting. Mr. Brady’s story is one that inspires perseverance, dedication, and many other qualities that great leaders possess. Listening and being able to discuss career and life values with leaders like Richard Brady is incredibly beneficial to younger members because it helps to motivate and drive oneself to be like them.
The third presentation of the Speaker Series was done by Kandice Taylor-Sherwood from the City of Anaheim on “How to Get Motivated, Stay Focused, and Keep Going.” She has been working in the field of Human Resources, Organizational Development, and Training for over thirteen years and through her own consulting business provides several of these resources for organizations and individuals to excel in the workplace. Mrs. Taylor-Sherwood’s presentation was incredibly interactive and hands-on from the beginning to end, which kept the audience engaged and attentive the entire time. Her lesson began with organizing and identifying one’s values in life. Each member in the audience had to arrange their different values and ideals into categories ranging from most important to least important, and once you were done it was then shared and discussed with a neighbor why one valued one thing more than another. She stressed the importance of setting up your life and career to be in align with the values you hold closest to you in order to find happiness and motivation to succeed. Following the lesson on values, everyone in the audience was then asked to write down goals on how to achieve these values. Making goals for yourself, both large and small, is essential to growing and developing in life. The common issue that several people face when trying to achieve these goals, however, is time management. How do you effectively align what you are spending the most amount of your time on with your goals? This is when Mrs. Taylor-Sherwood introduced us to the Covey Quadrant, a 2x2 matrix used to prioritize tasks. Tasks can be organized as important or not important, in combination with urgent and not urgent. The goal is to minimize Q1 and Q3’s in your life--important and urgent, and not important and urgent, respectively, and try to live in Q2 which is important and not urgent. While some people were a little skeptical about this chart, many people saw it as an excellent tool in helping to prioritize anything from one’s day to one’s life goals. In the end, everyone in the audience was able to take away new tools and concepts to help them become effective leaders in their lives through time management and prioritization.
The last presentation for this year’s Leadership and Success speaker series was done by Jacqueline Patterson, CEO of JL Patterson and Associates. Ms. Patterson’s presentation was titled “Overcoming the Odds.” More than a presentation, Ms. Patterson made it a conversational environment in which the audience was able to continuously interact with her. Shortly after she began talking about her life and how she founded her own company, it was easy to recognize that her experiences at a very young age explain how she has overcome several obstacles in her life. One can immediately get a feeling for who she is as a person. Ms. Patterson left her home country of Nicaragua at a very young age because the country was going through a revolution. Shortly enough she found herself in Montreal, Canada, with very little knowledge of English or French. But this was not a problem for her, as she was able to work hard to learn the languages she needed and was able to enroll herself at Concordia University in Civil Engineering. After finishing her Bachelor’s and her Master’s both in Civil Engineering, she moved to Los Angeles, California, where she immediately began looking for jobs and opportunities to develop her career. It took her about eight months to find a Civil Engineering job, but once she got her job she did not stop. She continued working hard and joined organizations that helped her grow her network and give back to her profession. In the early 90’s she left her job to begin a new adventure, building her own company. It is amazing to hear how she has been working hard for over 20 years and now continues to have a successful light and heavy rail design firm, which has a bright future. While she was telling attendees all of her life adventures, obstacles, and successes everyone loosened up and more questions and positive feedback was given to Ms. Patterson. All audience members were involved and impressed by her. This presentation gave everyone the hope that accomplishing one’s dreams is possible, and that working hard pays off. It was such an inspirational experience, that audience members did not leave the room until they had a chance to personally talk to Ms. Patterson and get career advice from this great woman.
The 2014 Speaker Series on Leadership and Success went better than the board could have anticipated. Each of the speakers had their own unique story to tell that left the audience feeling inspired and motivated, as well as a bit in awe of some of the things that many of them have been able to accomplish in their lives. Bob Bein, Rick Brady, Kandice Taylor-Sherwood, and Jackie Patterson were all successfully able to share their knowledge and unique keys to becoming a successful leader in life.