Kurt Carlson (B.A., 1985) joined the Department of Communication in early May to mentor students over lunch. He is currently the president and CEO of Propel Insurance and holds the insurance industry’s highest designation, CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter). Carlson is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.
Valerie Vogt, one of the students that attended the mentor lunch, describes Carlson having “so much enthusiasm and positive energy.” Vogt is an evening degree student double majoring in communication and social sciences and graduating in June. Although she is still trying to figure out what to do beyond graduation, she knows she will help run the family business that her brother left behind. Vogt’s brother a young entrepreneur, passed away last summer. He started an e-commerce business called Redefined Sports, and “I have the opportunity of continuing his legacy,” Vogt said. (Stay tuned for a website, hopefully debuting this summer.)
In addition, Vogt hopes to get her feet in the door doing full-time work at possibly Microsoft. Here’s a glimpse of what she took away from the meeting with Carlson:
- You don’t stop learning after graduating from college. Kurt admitted that he had no idea what he wanted to do after graduating and it wasn’t until a conversation with a family friend that he realized he wanted to try working with insurances.
- Surround yourself with people you can grow with and learn from. In life we go through different phases of friends. There are a lot of Eeyores out there (the sad donkey that is always kind of a Debbie Downer) that you have to watch out for.
- Get experience interviewing. Just go out there and interview as much as you can until you get it down and have your own story. Make sure your story is consistent and don’t be afraid to ask the employer, “Why wouldn’t you hire me?”
Vogt said, “I like hearing people’s stories and Kurt also encouraged us to listen to people’s stories because you never know what you might learn.”