Words of Wisdom with David Lowe

David LoweDavid Lowe
President & General Manager
KVIE Channel 6

What are three things you wish you’d known as you embarked on your career:

  1. Just about every experience is a valuable one. Take the time to learn from them—positive or negative. Then take that and be more prepared for the next one. Try to determine your role in the experience and see the other people’s points of view rather than criticize their actions. Surely they thought they were doing the right thing. Can’t figure out what that was? Communicate.
  2. Don’t worry if your career path doesn’t seem clear. Paths open up at the right time for the right people and for the right reasons. If you’re passionate about what you do and you’re working with people in the right way, your career will be what you want. Don’t get discouraged if it takes time; just keep the positive attitude and relationship building high at all times.
  3. Playing golf really does help in some business situations. I still don’t know if I would have taken the game up knowing this, but at least I wouldn’t have to be self-deprecating every time someone asks, “Do you play golf?” Instead of saying, “Nah, I’m a hack,” I could say, “Sure, let’s get together some time.”

Did you have a mentor? If so, what was the most important piece of advice they gave you?

I’ve been fortunate to have had some great mentors over the years. As supervisors, they weren’t overly formal and took the time to let me know what they were working on. They weren’t afraid to share information that wasn’t at my level. They knew that if I had access to it, I could understand my role even better. So it might be less about the advice they gave and more about modeling behavior that I try to follow in working with others. If people see how all the parts come together, their part is going to be stronger. And if all parts are stronger, so is the sum.

How did/do you handle work/life balance?

While I was with Fortune 500 company Transamerica, one of its executives made a presentation about work/life balance. She said the key was to not consider it a balance at all but rather a blend. Balance implies that something is always weighing against the other in opposition, and that’s no way to have a fulfilling life. A blend, however, provides for the opportunities to find a way to seek happiness and fulfillment in everything we do without seeing them as opposed to each other.

Do you have any suggestions of books, articles, websites, etc. that might help a young professional?

I read a lot of Tom Peters early in my career. I’d have to re-read those books to be able to recommend them today but I know they helped me think bigger. Read the subject matter expert in your field. Read the history of your industry. Read the history of your organization.

Read Seth Godin.

When I’ve presented to the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce’s CATALYST program around emotional intelligence, I share my “business common sense” blog. I wish I had seen all the “rules” early in my career.

How important is it to be involved in organizations outside of work (church, networking, philanthropy, alumni, athletics, etc.)? Why?

No matter what you’re doing, if you’re around others, you’re networking. So be around others in whatever positive way you can. Surround yourself with people who have similar passions. Surround yourself with people who will stretch your thinking. Build as many relationships as you can.

What do you love about Sacramento?

I’ve been in the Sacramento area since 1996 and became an immediate booster. I was proud to call this my new home. Within my first week at my new job, I was told how much I would hate it here—too hot and too much traffic. Coming from Phoenix, I had a different perspective. Then I was told it’s great that San Francisco and Tahoe are so close by. Wait, what about my new home? “Oh, it’s a great place to raise a family.” Well, Sacramento HAS been a great place to raise a family. But it’s also been a great place to help shape, to learn from, to give back, and to explore.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the 40 and under business professionals in our region?

Know that those in front of you are trying to do their best to leave the organization and the region to you better than how they found it. But they fully expect you to take it over and do an even better job. Do that. Then expect the same for the generation behind you. That’s how organizations and communities thrive.