My dad graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in graphic design. After college, he worked as a graphic designer and a freelance artist until his work was replaced by new Apple software and Mac computers. After moving to Cleveland, he was able to procure a graphic design job with Sherwin-Williams. However, his career path changed when a new opportunity became available with the opening of the downtown Cleveland Marriott.

My dad has placed great emphasis on starting from the bottom and working your way up. He used to say, “You can’t just hop into the top position and expect people to respect you.” Growing up, I attended a school in downtown Cleveland, and I often found myself hanging out at the Marriott. When I walked through the doors, I was greeted affectionately by the doorman, the bellhop, and the front desk  as “Mr. Cal’s daughter.” Through conversations with the staff, I realized my dad was truly respected in his workplace. The respect he received from his colleagues came from his breadth of experience, having held every position at the Marriott at one point or another in the 20+ years he worked there.

He first started off as a temporary Banquet Server, but gradually made his way up the job ladder.  He progressed to Operations Supervisor, then Assistant Manager of the Restaurant, Bar, and Room Service, then Banquet Manager, and finally Director of Event Planning.  With all of the positions my dad held, it is hard for him to walk five feet without being greeted with a big smile and a firm dad

Having never worked in a professional office before my graduate assistantship with the Career & Leadership Development Center, I turned to my father for insight. Over the last few years, I have gained a deeper appreciation of his experiences, and I work to apply his advice in my own role:

  • “Always remember to thank all of those who have contributed… you never know when you are going to need their help in a spur of the moment.”
  • “Think ahead and do more than what you are asked of…”
  • “Never think that you know it all because there is always something more to learn… something more to improve on for next time…”

My father is my professional role model, and his advice has helped me to find success in the workplace, much like he has. Having someone to turn to for guidance can be extremely beneficial…

So, who is your professional role model?

By Madeleine Elaban, CLDC Graduate Assistant for Employers Relations

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