Exec-in-Residence: Be well-rounded, open-minded

Apr 25, 2013

Kathleen Geier '78The world has become smaller as companies have increasingly become global. As a result, students entering the workforce need to be well-rounded individuals who have excelled academically and who have taken advantage of leadership and co-curricular opportunities while in college.

That was the thrust of the advice from Kathleen Geier, ’78, who is serving as the Executive-in-Residence in the Heidelberg School of Business this week. Geier retired after a 30-year career with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., primarily in the area of human resources. Today, she operates KTG Consulting, a human resources firm that specializes in executive coaching, succession planning and leadership and organizational development.

Geier, who also serves on Heidelberg’s Board of Trustees, spent the week as a guest lecturer in several business classes, meeting with students, faculty, administration and the community and attending Honors presentations and other campus events.

“One of the things I tell students is to spend your university experience building your resume and begin when you are a freshman,” she said. Academic achievements are important, but employers are seeking more from potential hires.

“Employers are looking for individuals who can do more than one thing at a time. A 4.0 is great, but that with no other activities to round you out – that would be a concern,” she said.

Geier also encourages student to “have flexibility and an open mind,” not imposing subject or geographic limits on themselves as they pursue job opportunities. Another key message: Don’t lose sight of the importance of people to any organization.

Technology has changed the way businesses as well as individuals interact with each other, and not always positively. “It’s become an excuse not to have face-to-face interaction, and that’s a travesty,” she said. “Everyone needs the ability to interact and work in a team environment.”

Geier spent part of her time this week mentoring students, including many seniors who sought her advice on their resumes, job searches and entering the work force. She’s particularly enjoyed those interactions. She also was the keynote presenter for a community seminar, titled “Human Capital: Your Most Valuable Asset & Competitive Advantage.”

Community engagement – one of the priorities of the Heidelberg School of Business – has been impressive. “I’m really excited about the business school. There are lots of initiatives and progress being made. It’s been great to see how enthusiastic people are.

“It’s been very positive to be here and see how it all plays out. I’ve had a wonderful experience.”