Name: Steve Worthy
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Current Title: Investment Banking Associate
Prior Professional Experience: inVentiv Health / Eli Lilly, Motor City Roundball Classic
Education: Michigan Technological University (Undergrad), University of Michigan - Ross School of Business (MBA)
What is the most important professional lesson you've learned to date?
Keep swinging -- from when you first start at a company to when you become a senior-level employee, it will always be important to show up and give effort every single day. You won’t have opportunities to hit a home run if you aren’t standing at the plate.
What has been your biggest professional failure to date and what have you learned from that experience?
This is tough to answer because my work involves a lot of iteration and comment implementation with clients and senior employees. There have certainly been drafts of materials that have gone out not fully-vetted and the team rightfully received feedback that our efforts were not up to par -- which can feel like failure at times. In my mind, the important thing to remember is that feedback is given to help you improve, not discourage you from trying. Framing failure as an opportunity to learn and feedback as coaching will help you stay engaged and avoid failing in the future.
What issues have you dealt with being a woman/person of color in corporate America and how have you overcome these challenges?
The biggest issue I’ve faced is not seeing many people of color in “high places” -- it’s hard to pinpoint how / if this deficit is truly impacting my career in a meaningful way, but more representation would be great to see as it further proves that ascending to those roles is possible.
What resources, professional or personal, have you leveraged to ensure your career is progressing?
My relationships with people in my firm have been the most valuable resource in this regard. Senior decision-makers are aware of my contributions and are willing to chat, frankly, and give helpful guidance and advice when I have career-related questions. This has been incredibly helpful in both tactical situations about immediate problems and even in more critical, strategic, decision-making.
Do you have mentor? If so, how did you select this person or people?
Formally, no I do not, but I do have strong relationships with senior employees that have taken an interest in me through the normal-course of work. I’ve found more value from these relationships that happen organically due to mutual interests and similar personalities, even if the relationship isn’t formally memorialized as mentor-mentee.
What advice would you give a young adult who is about to start their first job post college?
Show up. Put in work. Smile. You’ll be surprised at how powerful just doing these three simple things can be for your career.
Why did you decide to go back to school to pursue a graduate degree?
I followed the advice of a senior employee. I felt that I outgrew my pre-MBA role and needed a new challenge. The gentleman I spoke with put the MBA route on my radar and explained the professional doors the experience could open -- it was exactly what I was looking for.