Words of Wisdom with Michael Ault, Executive Director, Downtown Sacramento Partnership

At Metro EDGE, we know true mentors are hard to come by these days and that our members are eager to learn what it takes to be successful. Words of Wisdom is a new series featuring some of Sacramento's brightest CEOs, executives and leaders sharing their advice with the region’s young professionals. Flip your brain over to sponge mode and soak this up.

Michael Ault

Executive Director, Downtown Sacramento Partnership
Email: mault@downtownsac.org

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

  1. It’s always worth your while to invest time in relationships. There are some relationships that initially you may think are not essential, but it all comes full circle. You never know who you may need to call on for support or assistance later on in your career.
  2. Start saving and start early. Take advantage of every opportunity when you’re young – especially employer sponsored benefits like 401K plans. Compounded interest is a powerful thing.
  3. Don’t hire your friends.

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

Yes, I’ve had quite a few in my career – Jose Hermocillo, Roy Brewer, Scott Syphax, David Taylor. They taught me to treat people with respect – always. And not to be surprised that you’ll work weekends.

How did/do you handle work/life balance?

I try to go to the gym as often as possible and spend time doing activities with friends. I also try to take regular vacations.

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

Focus on reading up on your specific field. Also, take advantage of clubs and groups within your field. If you can, take advantage of volunteer opportunities to get into conferences and workshops. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.

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

You should always have a plan. If your position at your company was eliminated today what is your plan b? What would you do? You should always know what your next step is and what your ultimate goal is.