Cherry Award finalist teaches students how to succeed

Dr. Clinton O. Longenecker, from The University of Toledo, spoke to Baylor students Monday about how to be successful in the job market. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia journalist

By Brooke Hill | Staff Writer

Students awaiting to hear how to make themselves more successful in the job industry packed an auditorium Monday afternoon in the Foster Campus for Business and Innovation.

Cherry Award finalist Dr. Clinton O. Longenecker, from The University of Toledo presented “Career Success and Survival in the 21st Century: The Mandate for Life-long Learning.”

Early on in his lecture, Longenecker listed a few fun facts to get students to fully understand the importance of loving their profession. Some of these facts (from census data in 2015) included that the average American professional spends 2400 hours at work a year, or nearly 48 each week and will have 12 different jobs over the course of their career. The average career lasts 45 years, and that this generation is predicted to be working until they are in their 70s.

He also shared that the average life expectancy is 78.74, and that after the age of 22, approximately 11,250 days of our lives will be spent at work.

“It’s critically important to do work that we find to be meaningful and that we can become really good at doing it,” Longenecker said. “Lets find something you love, that you can get passionate about, but the catch here is you gotta be really good at doing it.”

Longenecker had the crowd interact with each other on multiple occasions. One activity was what he called “speed interviewing,” where students were supposed to find someone else and share one word that described them, two qualities they thought a good worker possessed and a movie or song that describes their life at the moment. Longenecker pointed out that the students got louder after they got more comfortable sharing their answers with others, which was the point of the exercise.

Dr. Michael Thompson, chair of the Cherry Award selection committee and Associate Dean for undergraduate programs in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, attended the event and said he particularly enjoyed the speed interviews.

“I was surprised at how effective the speed interviews were,” Thompson said. “I didn’t know exactly what he was after at first, but after you did it the three times, it was a good effect. You got better practiced at giving your answers and thought your answers out a little more thoroughly, and I thought that was a really effective technique.”

Longenecker involved the crowd again when he asked for eight volunteers to share their best piece of career advice with him. He sat down, closed his eyes and counted to 10, and when he opened them, he was trusting that an adequate number of people would be standing before him. His trust was not broken.

“When you have an opportunity to volunteer and do something, jump on it,” Longenecker said. “Why? Career stretching. It’ll help you stretch what you’re good at, maybe get you out of your comfort zone. As a leader to be and as a working professional who’s going to be successful, we need to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Some of the advice included:

  • “Don’t forget about your personal life. Have integrity.”
  • “Listen to other people and try to talk less.”
  • “Be humble and be motivated in what you do.”
  • “Get to know your professors.”
  • “Network. Make intentional relationships.”
  • “Set goals that will not allow you to become satisfied.”
  • “Find a mentor and follow the steps they lay out for you.”
  • “Your uniqueness is not your weakness.”
  • “Find a job you’re happy with and persevere in it.”

Longenecker earned his B.B.A. in marketing (1977) and his M.B.A. in marketing (1978) from The University of Toledo. He earned his Ph.D. in management from Pennsylvania State University in 1984. In addition to his role as Distinguished Professor, Longenecker also serves as director of the Center for Leadership and Organizational Excellence in The College of Business and Innovation at The University of Toledo.

Longenecker specializes in high-performance leadership and creating great organizations and has earned more than 60 awards for his teaching, service and research. He also has published more than 190 articles and papers in academic and professional journals. Notably, Longenecker has been quoted in and his research has been cited by famous publications and organizations such as The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, MSNBC and NPR.

The Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching was first granted in 1991 and has since been awarded biennially.