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"Managing Your Career" – Retiring CEO of Welch Allyn Speaks at Visiting Executive Series Seminar

  Dr. Pindaro Demertzoglou
space Rensselaer alumnae Dr. Julie Shimer ’74 stands with Rensselaer Lally School Dean Tom Begley.  Dr. Shimer presented, “Managing Your Career,” at the Jerome S. Reinert '56 Visiting Executive Series seminar.

On November 12, Dr. Julie Shimer ’74 presented, “Managing Your Career,” at the Jerome S. Reinert '56 Visiting Executive Series seminar held at the Heffner Alumni House.

Shimer is the retiring CEO of Welch Allyn, a 95-year-old medical devices company in Skaneateles Falls, N.Y., and the first woman to hold that post in the company’s history. Under her leadership, the business expanded, acquired new assets, created additional new products, and became a leader in innovation and customer support.

Shimer encourages both women and men to consider pursuing a field and career in engineering. She has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Rensselaer and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh University. Her career took her from research and development to applying new technology in business, and included achieving many senior leadership positions.

During her presentation, Shimer explained that innovation can be driven by identifying problems that may provide business opportunities to help customers. She also remarked on four common myths that may limit a person’s career, and provided insight into navigating these to achieve career goals.

Myth #1 – My manager is responsible for making sure I have a rewarding and productive career.
Truth – You must set a career goal.

To set a career goal, Shimer encouraged others to keep the following ideas in mind.

  1. Timeframe for your goal. What do you want to be doing in five and 10 years from now?
  2. Assessment of your abilities. What are you particularly good at and what are you not so good at?
  3. Passion. What do you care about deeply? Can you incorporate this into your goal?
  4. Personal values. How closely does this career goal match your ethics and standards?

Myth #2 – My work will be recognized and I will get the promotion I deserve.
Truth – You need to ask for what you want.

After you come up with your career goal, make that goal clear to your manager and others in your company. This is important so you can get feedback on your abilities and understand how others see you. According to Shimer, there is nothing more powerful that getting feedback, which helps you identify areas for improvement. This information can be incorporated into a plan with next steps such as: taking a new class, obtaining additional experience, or seeking help from a mentor, friend, or a professional already in the field.

Myth #3 – I can achieve my career goals through hard work.
Truth – You need all the help you can get.

No one gets there alone. Acknowledge that you need help to obtain your career goal and be grateful for any help you obtain from your network. Find a mentor that can help guide you and provide support. Identify a person who has the job that you aspire to and ask them for an informational interview.

Myth #4 – I got here the hard way and others don’t need my help to get ahead.
Truth – You can benefit from being a mentor.

Shimer advocated being a mentor to others. A mentor relationship allows you to give back and a chance to enlist the support of others when you need assistance. It can also help you learn more about an organization from another colleague’s vantage point.

To listen to an audio recording of Julie Shimer’s talk, please click below.


Published: November 30, 2012

Contact: Julie K. Tracy
Phone: (518) 276-3053

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