Our board leaders didn’t always work for some of the region’s top employers. Once, they were teenagers looking for jobs and inspiration wherever they could find it.
Even from work that involved rotten potatoes. (He says he’ll never forget the smell.)
Below, hear from our board members about their first jobs, early life lessons and career advice.
Scott Kleiner, Wieden+Kennedy
Best career advice: Be kind to people. You’ll be amazed by the help and support you get from people you know.
Most memorable job as a teenager: Valet parking cars at a hotel. It seemed like the best way to use my recently acquired Driver’s License — driving someone else’s car.
Something I learned in high school about work: Be punctual, enthusiastic and always ready to learn something new.
Natalie Miller, Lee Hecht Harrison
PWA incoming president
Most memorable job as a teenager: Outdoor School Counselor was my favorite! Showing 6th graders the amazing aspects of nature! I also had a summer job working at Baskin Robbins (ice cream shop). It was late hours and always busy which to me was lot of fun with co-workers. I learned a ton about customer service and working as a team. And I got to eat ice cream on my breaks!
Something I learned in high school about work: Being on time, or even early, for an interview or a shift demonstrates enthusiasm for the work and your ability to be organized.
Corbett Gordon, Tonkon Torp
Best career advice: Do what you love.
Most memorable job as a teenager: Teen advice columnist.
Something I learned in high school about work: If you can imagine it, and you want it, go for it.
Bob Calwhite, Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute
Best career advice: Always do your best and never quit learning.
Most memorable job as a teenager: Bagging potatoes for a produce broker. Will never forget the smell and slime of rotten potatoes.
Something I learned in high school about work: It 1 takes a team and commitment.
Gabrielle Riley, ZGF Architects
Best career advice: Start networking and get out of your comfort zone with boldness…now.
Most memorable job as a teenager: My first on payroll at 15 years old: Burger King! I’d like to think I was the best and fastest cashier in town. It taught me responsibility, team work and respect.
Something I learned in high school about work: In high school I learned that I couldn’t work alone; work would always involve some sort of team.
Jane Williams, Multnomah County
Best career advice: Everyone remembers most not what you do but how you make them feel about themselves.
Most memorable job as a teenager: Working at my mom’s art gallery, learning to be patient when others make the design choices, not you!
Something I learned in high school about work: When you get lost in it, you know you’ve found THE work for you. Also, embrace Hard…Easy is boring in the long run.
Susan Shugerman, Oregon Health & Science University
Former board member
Best career advice: Your professional contacts want to help you – use them!
Most memorable job as a teenager: Day camp counselor.
Something I learned in high school about work: Persistence pays off. Stay focused and keep moving forward!
JR Gustafson, Nike
Past board president
Best career advice: Bring positive energy, optimism and enthusiasm to every task.
Most memorable job as a teenager: Dump truck driver. I qualified for the job because I could drive a clutch transmission and shovel both left- and right-handed!
Something I learned in high school about work: Show up on time, work hard, ask questions.
Joe Hutchins, Portland General Electric
Former board member
Best career advice: “Whether you think that you can , or that you can’t , you are usually right.” – Henry Ford (1863-1947)
Most memorable job as a teenager: I worked two jobs in high school. Box boy at the local grocery store during the week , and I worked in our family roofing business on weekends.
Something I learned in high school about work: Always work hard and keep the faith.
(First posted January 2015. Updated September 2015.)