“It was different then. We didn’t have a word like ‘pivoting;’ it was just called ‘leaving,’” candidly remarked Kathy Walters at the Impact Speaker Series. Kathy, Group President of Georgia-Pacific’s Consumer Products Group, visited Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business to speak on “Choices to Make in Your Life and Career” and the benefits of exploring different roles, companies, and cities. The session was moderated by Lisa Carlson (BSBA 2012), a Scheller College Steven A. Denning Technology & Management alumna and National Accounts Manager at Georgia-Pacific.
With an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Business School, Kathy navigated a variety of career paths before finding consumer products and ultimately heading GP’s Consumer Products Group, which contains the largest retail and commercial tissue and tabletop businesses in North America.
In reference to pivoting in today’s business environment, Kathy recommended that students work in three different functions or roles within an organization to ensure they understand the business and how to lead a variety of teams within it. Other advice included:
- Develop a vision that other people can understand and then let them execute it
- No matter your job, find a way to add value for your customer
- Maintain your individual freedom in a role to find greater purpose
- Don’t let yourself get too separated from the customer
- Be a citizen of the world and pursue lifelong learning
- Associate with diverse ideas and ensure you are hearing ideas from those not in the in-crowd
Coordinated by the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ILE) at Scheller College of Business, Impact is a weekly series providing the opportunity to network and learn from successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and notable business and non-profit leaders. Since 2002, the Impact Speaker Series has brought highly successful business leaders from a variety of industries to campus to share their experiences and give advice to students and other entrepreneurs. ILE is an interdisciplinary institute that encourages values-based leadership and socially responsible entrepreneurship.