Outline for career success sketched in free talk by retired CEO

November 6, 2013 | Events, UToday, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Cynthia Nowak

Planning for a career takes serious effort; landing your dream job can be even harder.



Since good advice can smooth the path on both quests, everyone interested in a successful professional future can profit from an upcoming presentation by Dr. Ronald L. Thompson, retired CEO and entrepreneur, and lead director of Chrysler Group LLC.

Thompson, who also chairs the board of trustees for the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, will share practical advice from decades of experience that includes his time as CEO and chair of the Maumee-based company Midwest Stamping. His service on many company boards includes McDonnell Douglas Corp., Interstate Bakeries Corp. and Commerce Bank of St. Louis.

Thompson is looking forward to the free, public presentation, which will be held Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ingman Room.

“I have a long lifetime of experiences,” he said. “I hope that in sharing them, my experiences can help others prepare for a lifetime of their own successes. Success usually isn’t something you stumble upon; opportunities present themselves and you have to be positioned and prepared to take advantage of them.”

Audience members will have the chance to ask Thompson questions in the part of his presentation that he considers as important as his speech.

“I hope that students in particular will feel free to ask questions that are relevant to them as individuals,” he said. “There’s no substitute for a real back-and-forth dialogue.”

Hosted by Brothers on the Rise, Alpha Phi Boule and the Association of Black Faculty and Staff, Thompson’s talk — “Be Prepared to Succeed” — will offer a great deal for students who are unsure about their career path, said Dr. Anthony Quinn, associate professor of biological sciences and a faculty adviser to Brothers on the Rise.

“Many students are very interested in becoming entrepreneurs after they graduate,” Quinn noted. “Here’s someone who has walked the walk and made a name for himself as an entrepreneur and as a businessperson.”

However, he added, Thompson’s presentation will be useful to a wider audience: “Today’s successful businesspeople come from very diverse backgrounds, and Dr. Thompson’s experiences in the trenches translate into real-world lessons for everyone who wants to stay on top of their professional game.”

Victor Aberdeen, president of the student group African Peoples Association and a member of Brothers on the Rise, was excited when he learned of Thompson’s visit.

“It’s great when UT hosts someone of his reputation,” Aberdeen said. “Many students aspire to be a success in business. Here’s a chance to learn firsthand from someone who succeeded in a big way.”

Thompson earned his PhD and master of science degree from Michigan State University and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan. He’s served on the UM faculty as well as those of Old Dominion and Virginia State universities.

Among his many honors are the National Minority Entrepreneur of the Year and Outstanding Business Leader of the Year awards.

For more information, contact Quinn at 419.530.1593.

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