Diane Paauwe, ’03 MBA, is a managing director in public finance at Piper Jaffray & Co. in Minneapolis. She specializes in financing for higher education institutions and other nonprofit organizations, as well as revenue-supported financing for state and local governments. In the last five years (2013-17), Diane served as the lead or co-lead banker on 37 bond financings totaling more than $1.5 billion that Piper Jaffray solely or senior managed. In the community, she serves on the Carlson School’s Alumni Advisory Board.
1. Define your own “success”
Success in professional life is often confused with making lots of money. For some people, that may be how they define success. However, it is important for you to determine just what it is that will make you fulfilled in your career, and choose the career path that is in line with your definition of success.
2. Enhance your selling skills
Often I hear people say, “I’m not good at selling.” Well, there is no time like the present to beef up your selling skills. If you’ve ever recommended a favorite movie to a friend, you already know the basics of selling. From there, expand on the basics in order to effectively promote yourself to get your next job, raise, or promotion.
3. Ask for what you want and back it up with action
Don’t expect people to know what your career goals are if you’re not telling them. Likewise, simply assuming that you will be noticed for working hard is not the best way to advance your career. Be direct in letting people know what you want—not only in words, but in actions. Showing initiative by doing more than what is expected of you in your current position is an excellent approach to obtaining your next one.
4. Don’t put off delivering bad news
Unlike wine, bad news doesn’t get better with time. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. Rather than using your energy worrying about how to deliver it, deliver the bad news. Then use your energy to work through the issue.
5. Never stop learning
Once you’ve worked hard and attained your dream job, savor it! Then get to work making sure that your dream stays true. Take every opportunity you have to polish the skills and qualifications that got you there, but also identify and learn those skills and qualifications that will take you to the next level.
Bonus tip: Life is a lot easier if your spouse or partner supports your career goals. My husband is my biggest cheerleader, and I could not have accomplished what I have in my career without his support.
This feature originally appeared in the Spring 2018 Carlson School Alumni Magazine.