Lessons Learned

Carrie Halstead

Carrie Halstead (IL '10), marketing director, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kentucky

Ignite Louisville Class of 2012 Opening Retreat

Lesson1: There is no ‘I’ in team.Okay, so this isn’t a new lesson, but it applies to so many aspects of our personal and professional lives it bears repeating.  After being assigned to our retreat teams, we were tasked with several team building exercises – each with their own special life lesson.  We learned that open, honest communication, even in the face of adversity, is crucial to any team.  We learned to value everyone’s opinion, especially the ‘quiet ones’.  We learned there doesn’t always have to be a defined ‘leader’ and in fact, the team worked better when each of us had a turn at the helm.  And we learned that you do achieve much better results when everyone participates.Lesson 2:  Listen to your gut and push yourself.Gill Holland (Group Entertainment) and Heather Howell (Rooibee Red Tea) shared some of their life experiences with us as they interviewed each other for the group.  And although they have many differences in their stories, they share a few similarities.  They aren’t afraid to be who they are – they’re not interested in fitting into someone else’s idea of who they should be.  They’re not afraid to take risks and they both embrace what makes them different.  What I took away from this conversation is to listen to that inner voice, even if it means veering off course and doing something way outside of your comfort zone.  Trust in yourself, lean on your friends, use your networking circle, push yourself and don’t settle.

Lesson 3:  Giving back feels good.

Want an instant pick me up?  Go volunteer.  You will likely never find yourself in a more welcoming, appreciative and diverse setting as you will in your local nonprofit agency.  And while I may not be the most objective person, having come from a nonprofit, ask around and watch people’s faces light up as they tell you about donating their time or talent to a worthy cause.  Better yet, watch the faces of the folks who work for that agency.  Take a good look at someone who burns the candle at both ends day in and day out just to make a difference in someone else’s life.  If you stay the course and invest your talent whole-heartedly, I promise this experience will change your life.