Mentors Provide Lessons & Advice on Career Planning & Transitions


If you weren’t able to attend this quarter’s EDGE Burst Event on Career Planning & Transitions, you missed out.  The company cafeteria at the SEP offices was packed with over 125 young professionals, community leaders and business executives who came together to hear from our EDGE Mentors on the topic of Career Planning and Transitions.

If you’re a reader, we’ve got you covered with insights, quotes and advice from each member of our panel – all of whom have had successful business careers and a variety of experiences that we can all learn from.

Here is the full video recap:


Amy Baker, who previous to her current role as Principal of her own digital consultancy, Tridea Group, had a twelve year career at Fusion Alliance where she helped grow a multi-million dollar digital agency.


Amy’s First Job

Amy Baker: “I went to college to get an Art degree to which my parents said, “And what else?”, because apparently when you graduate with an art degree you don’t get much of a job… I ended up with a combo degree in both Art and Computer Science. I don’t really like one thing, I like a bit of everything. So when I graduated I had a job at Roche Diagnostics and I thought, well I’ll just figure out the thing I’m going to do once I graduate and get into the world…”


Take Time To Think About Your Career

Amy Baker: “Unless you stop and actually think about what you want to do, you end up doing what you’re doing for a few years and for some it can be for more years than you want to admit.”

Amy Baker: “I would’ve said I’m the least likely to be a business owner or in executive management but that ended up being was I was most attracted to. So I quickly moved from doing work to leading and managing teams doing work.”


Amy’s First Mentor

Amy Baker: ” Getting a mentor for the first time was a fantastic thing for me, because that was the first time I had someone to draw plays for me, help me understand who I am, why I work the way that I do and how I fit in. “


Since Adopting The God Is In Control Philosophy

Amy Baker: “I’ve had more full-time job offers, discussions about starting companies, more opportunities mentoring other people, to having people offering to mentor me, since I’ve adopted this mentality and maybe if I figured this out in my 20’s I don’t know where I’d be.  It’s a super great place to be.”


Advice On Focusing On Your Strengths Versus Your Weaknesses

Amy Baker: “I got into a cycle of working fix my weaknesses presented to me at performance reviews because that’s what my management was telling me to get higher marks on my next performance review, instead of focusing on areas I could actually improve in.”

Amy Baker: “As a human being God gave created you to be a certain way with unique attributes and these strengths, and you’re already awesome at them. You can be more awesome at that. How much more impact can you make in the world at your work and on your teams.”

Amy Baker: “Not that I shouldn’t be paying attention to detail but I learned that instead of jockying ( < – new word) spreadsheets, I should probably hire someone or better leverage the accounting department to give me more meaningful reports.”

Experienced CEO Shares His Wisdom On Developing Strategic Relationships

Of our panelists, Tom has had the longest business career and the broadest set of experiences. Here’s a quick snapshot of Tom’s professional career:

  • Led IPO of Amway-Asia Pacific and helped them grow revenues from $2.2B to $6.3B during leadership.

  • Founder & CEO of Drivers Mart (acquired by AutoNation where he served as SVP of e-Commerce)

  • Founder & CEO of Interactive Metronome (which was being used in over 10,000 hospitals)

  • CEO of CP Morgan (which grew to be 7th largest private homebuilder in US)

  • CEO of HouseKey Properties  & RENU Management which both specialized in Property Management & Investments

Why Tom Decided To Go Into Law School

Tom Eggleston: “I played a competitive sport in college (basketball at Dartmouth) and the most competitive environment I could find professionally was to try law cases and I wanted to litigate in front of juries. Honestly it was a continuation of the average sports career that I had.”

We Are More Serious About Our Fantasy NFL Teams Than We Are About Our Careers

Tom Eggleston: “Permit me a bit of an explanation here, I think we are more serious about our fantasy NFL teams than we are about our careers.” Tom would go on to share more and powerfully connects this thought with an analogy.

Tom Eggleston: “I think we’re the quarterbacks on our NFL Fantasy teams, we play with a line that gives us great support and blocking. Centers are our spouse or significant other. We have people that are our exercise partners that are our accountability partners spiritually. They’re the rocks in our lives. You then have the running backs, who are people probably in this room, you may not know them yet. They’re the short distance, next job kind of people. I think in a fantasy team if you view it like a career, you need to find wide receivers, who are the distance players and I think none of us think about those players much. They’re probably global in their experience. They have technology backgrounds or training and you purposefully have to go find those people. Clearly the coach is your mentor.”

Finding Wide Receivers And Global Partners: Heidrick & Struggles

Tom Eggleston: “I made it a mission to get to know people at Heidrick & Struggles and Spencer Stewart. Back in those days, they were the dominant search firms that placed every executive in the country. The idea that you would go find a wide receiver who gets to know “

Tom Eggleston: “I made it a mission to get to know people at Heidrick & Struggles and Spencer Stewart. Back in those days, they were the dominant search firms that placed every executive in the country. The idea that you would go find a wide receiver who gets to know from an executive search firm sounds crazy, but that’s how much we care about our fantasy teams, and that’s how we should think about our careers as well. “

Strengths Versus Weaknesses & Medical Devices Invention

Tom Eggleston: “Work on your weaknesses. Deliberately go after those areas where you know you don’t have technical competence.”

Tom shared how he got into medical devices through a miracle involving his son Jimmy. Jimmy was one of the first people to work with a music producer, who produced a created a device that could help musicians have perfect timing. Global research later uncovered that it had major benefits on improving the way our brains function.

Tom connected this story to his trip in San Francisco to explore ways to bring this same technology to wearable devices.

Tom Eggleston: “3 weeks ago I went out to a wearables tech conference in San Fransisco because this platform is the first opportunity to deliver this technology into the wellness market. We can take the device which sits in a clinic and is supervised and we can get this to work with minimal hardware.  So I go out by myself with 1,800 complete geeks. I didn’t have enough technical skill to hold a lunch conversation with these guys but it turns out there are shortcuts. I learned about an accelerator called Now Labs and they became a way for me to navigate all of the inventions and technology represented at the conference. So I would vote for working on your weaknesses.”

The Power Of Mentoring

Tom Eggleston: “The power of this mentoring concept is so dramatic because I’ve had people believe more in me and my abilities than I’ve believed in myself.  Isn’t that the wonderful dynamic.  They would say, ‘What are you going to do after than Pan American games? You should run an international company’ and I’m thinking ‘No Way!’ And they would prompt me to think differently about those steps.”

Tom Eggleston: “A mentor once told me to look, listen, smell, taste and touch with all your heart. And if that really is the mission. We can’t do that by ourselves. For me it’s really evolved around a short mission statement. “

Having a 100x mission

Tom Eggleston: “A mentor of mine who wrote a book called, Half Time, has  the same as I do, which I adopted from him. 100x means to look for opportunities to have a bigger impact than just one on one. Impact one person, who will impact another and another and so on.”

 Follow Mike’s Journey From Ad Sales To A VP At A Software Development Firm


Mike’s experience in sales helped him thrive in his role as VP of Client Relations at SEP. Based on his account for his own career, there is hope for those of us who “screwed off” in college. Mike also met his wife in college as well.

Mike Gave Up On His Dreams Before Graduation

When asked about his initial thoughts and dream job, entering his career, Mike had this to say:

Mike Mumau: “This is an easy answer because I actually gave up on my career dreams”.

Mike would go on to share that he didn’t have a very good GPA at the end of his college career and he had this to say:

Mike Mumau: “I found out pretty quickly that any aspirations I had of finding any job were met with defeat when I went to find a job. I learned pretty quickly that people who do that – like screw off in college – that are trying to get a job quickly go into sales… So I did that. That became my dream job and here I am today.”

Focus On Your Strengths And Weaknesses

Mike Mumau: “I found out that although sales wasn’t a strength of mine, I needed to work on those skills in order to succeed. So I had to work on that. Even though it wasn’t something, I could see myself doing long term, I needed to learn sales.  I also learned that if you can’t sell, manage people who sell.”

Mike Mumau: “We don’t naturally work on our strengths because they usually come naturally.  I don’t pick up a book on ‘Socializing At A Networking Event’ because I’ve learned how to do that and I’m pretty good at that. I pick books up to help me understand balance sheets, because now that I’m an executive at SEP, I need to know general accounting.  I should let the CFO do it, but when she puts a document in front of me and asks “What do you think about sales this year?”, I need to know what those numbers mean. So I have to work on that. So right down the middle.”

On Planning For The Unexpected Career Opportunity

Mike pulled out his Bible in front of the crowd and began reading James 4:13-17 –

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

Then he had this to say:

Mike Mumau: “The second part of the verse really weighs heavy on me to think, if I over plan, if I over think what the next expected career opportunity is, I might be falling victim to the sin of over planning. If my will begins to eclipse God’s will or I’m not listening to His will, I think I’m on scary ground.”

Mike Unknowingly Lead A Small Group With The CEO Of SEP

Mike Mumau: “I was reading a news publication we have here in Carmel and I noticed an announcement of the building that you’re in right now and I read that the first major tenant was going to be SEP and I noticed a quote from this guy named Jeff Gilbert, the CEO and Founder and I thought ‘is this?’, yeah, this is the same introvert guy I lead a bible study of middle schoolers with and we were polar opposites.  He was such a humble guy. He never lead on that he ran a company. And a few years later we grabbed coffee and that’s really when James 4:13 really hit home for me, that I could’ve probably written him off just because we’re different.

Mike Mumau: “This is the last place I expected to be, especially since I gave up on my Computer Science major, so my encouragement to you all who might be in a career phase that I was in, where you’re in a career, you’re doing well and maybe you’re making the best money you’ve ever made but something doesn’t feel right, whether it’s the company you work for, the relationships you have or just what you hope to get out of your job. It’s ok to act on intuition.”

If you’re interested in having personal connections with great mentors like Mike, Amy and Tom, join EDGE to sharpen your influence and impact.

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