Apr 17

How to Become A Game Changer

By Erie Brewster, Ambassador Girl Scout from Troop 2046

 

To be honest, I never thought I would learn so much when I first walked into the “Be a Game Changer” seminar at BNY Mellon. Signing up for the seminar, I had only briefly glanced at the description, so I initially thought that it would merely be a two- to three-hour tour of the New York Stock Exchange. However, when I arrived that morning I saw that the agenda for the day included a long list of speakers from the business world, most of whom I did not know), and I was shocked to see that it did not finish until 3 p.m. How much could these people possibly have to say about being a “game changer?” Frankly, I was not even sure what a game changer was. But by the end of the seminar I had learned not only what the term meant, but how to become a game changer myself – along with so much more.

 

To start off with a quick definition, game changers are those among us who are always ready to adapt their skills or learn something new, who stay ahead of the game and become the best at their profession while still keeping their Girl Scout values of morals and sisterhood.  Heather Landy, Editor-in-Chief of the American Banker Magazine, was the opening speaker. She shared a list of ten lessons that can be learned from top women in business; her advice included the abstract (such as: be authentic so you can be your best self), the common (such as: manage your to-do list, because being organized makes the difference between missing your deadline and getting praise from your boss for a job well done), and the strange (think of your career as a lattice instead of a ladder, because a ladder can go only one way, while a lattice also lets you move sideways around an obstacle.) Ms. Landy emphasized to always seek mentorship from people who are where you want to be. She explained that such people can give sound advice because they already have the experience of what it took to get to the next level. And, having more than one mentor enables you to choose between steps and to pick a strategy that best fits your goals. I realized for the first time that day that you’re never too old to have a mentor, and this realization was an eye-opener for me, helping me truly understand that we should never stop learning if we want to keep moving forward.

 

I also got to hear my fellow Girl Scouts’ opinions on women in business: about their power, about the increasing drive of women into positions of power, and about the fact that equality in the workplace has still not been achieved. This was a subject discussed by Wanda Hill, Managing Director of BNY Mellon, as well as during table discussions with mentors, professional women who were kind enough to give up their time and share with us their own experience of growing up, going to college, and navigating obstacles, eventually succeeding in their various careers at BNY Mellon.

 

One surprise at the seminar was a panel discussion on managing personal finances, planning a career in business, and on the economy and capital markets. Panelists included Richard Hoey, BNY Mellon Chief Economist; Matt DeMarco, BNY Mellon Vice President, Wealth Management; Katie Heinritz, BNY Mellon Vice President, Global Campus Relations; and panel moderator Davia Temin, CEO, Temin & Company, and first Vice Chair, Girl Scouts Board of Trustees. Listening to those panelists, I realized the importance of keeping up with domestic and international news as a source of information that can be useful at any time and in any situation.

 

I could go on and on about how amazing the seminar turned out to be – about being inside the New York Stock Exchange for the first time, learning how it operates; about having a five-second spot on Fox Business News; about participating in the thoroughly enjoyable workshop “Branding Yourself” by David Polansky. However, you would probably just skip to the end, so I will close by saying that if you ever see an opportunity like this, you owe it to yourself to explore it. I am saying this because I never thought that a one-day seminar would give me so much food for thought, or that it would make me contemplate my future enough to prompt me to make decisions I might otherwise have made too late, such as opening a savings account and starting to put away money, or finally getting serious about studying for the SAT so I can get into the college of my choosing. You never know what you will discover when you try something new.

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