Rising leaders discuss achieving professional joy

Rising leaders discuss achieving professional joy

By Natalie Angarita, Student Reporter

On December 9, 2020, the Baumhart Center hosted its final session of the Impact Leaders Series (ILS), a six-week, learning experience designed to bring together young professionals to explore topics in social business, inclusive leadership, and values-based career development.

Through the series, over 150 young professionals heard from accomplished and rising leaders, including AGB Investigative Services President, Denitra Griffin, Edelman Managing Director of Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility, John Edelman, and Loyola’s extraordinary Baumhart Scholars. 

In the final ILS session, ‘Developing Pathways to Purpose’, participants heard from Nicole Johnson-Scales, Senior Vice President and Head of Community Development at Fifth Third Bank and Executive Career Strategist at Design Your Professional Joy, followed by a panel of experienced professionals and Baumhart Scholars, including Adam Shafer, Emma Westfall, Jeremy Levin, Lindsay Kennedy, and Sabrina Smith.

Johnson-Scales shared her three-part strategy on how to design a more fulfilling and high-impact career:

  1. Identify what inspires you
    Johnson-Scales believes in order to find your purpose it is important to get grounded in your strengths, talents, and motivations. Where you gain your energy is a guide for finding your purpose, Johnson-Scales encourages rising leaders to ask, “What things in your workday excite you the most? These are clues that will help you find your purpose.”
  2. Focus on the journey
    “Self-worth is not tied to the outcome; it’s tied to who you become in the journey.” Johnson-Scales encouraged participants not to worry about the outcomes because that is when fear can start to set in. Finding your purpose is not something you can do overnight. Self-worth is the character that someone builds in the process of finding their purpose. She says, “The only failure is not chasing your goals.”
  3. Start with micro-actions
    Micro-actions are little actions that someone takes each day or week to progress toward their goals. According to Johnson-Scales, “it takes the pressure off of accomplishing a big goal and gets you from where you are to where you want to be.” It is essential to track micro-actions to see the progress made toward achieving that goal.

Adding a plethora of inspiring advice, the panel of professionals shared their own journeys to finding purpose in their careers. Emma Westfall, Supply Planner at True Value Company, described the impact of “mentors for the moment” throughout her journey and how multiple pivotal moments in her career led her to find her purpose in unexpected ways.

Jeremy Levin shared how he “tripped, stumbled and struggled to get to here.” He described how following his psychic income, the non-measurable rewards received from work or activities that bring joy, allowed him to find his pathway to purpose. He said, “Every step of your journey counts. Every step, someone is looking at you, or you are looking at yourself.”

Describing a career filled with courage and driven by values, Sabrina Smith, Founder and CEO at Progeny1, encouraged the impact leaders to stop fearing small beginnings while trying to find their purpose. Smith emphasized the impact of not being afraid to fail and the power that comes with realizing that you are enough.

The Baumhart Center is committed to developing leaders who thrive at the intersection of profit and purpose and providing tools to help leaders find their purpose. ILS is one way the Center is engaging rising leaders and building the impact sector for Chicago and beyond.