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Words of Wisdom from Women to Watch by Business Insurance

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Chapter 5Lessons Learned in a 30-Year Career

Carol Arendall

Vice President Safety & Risk Management US Foods, Inc.

College was a long time ago, and when I think back to “how smart I was back then,” I realize how lucky I was to find a fulfilling career in an area I never even knew existed when I graduated. I, like many, stumbled into the risk management field early on and grew to love the pace and variety of the role. As I reflect back on my 30-plus years, it’s clear that our world is a relatively small world of professionals. People have long-term memories when it comes to others’ mistakes. Good behavior and professionalism are important at all points in your journey. Strange as it sounds, I can still recall the people who made fools of themselves at company events or conferences 15 years ago. You do not want to carry that baggage with you for the rest of your career, so behave!

Align yourself with people who are smarter than you. You cannot be the smartest person in the room all the time. Trust those people and their opinions. It’s okay to change your mind when you receive input from experts. Changing your mind does not make you look weak. Instead, it shows you are open and willing to grow and learn. Collaboration is truly the key to success. You will get buy-in from your colleagues when you take a little of their view and opinion and craft it into your final solution. Everyone wants to be part of the solution.

Relationships matter. People you meet early on in your career ...

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