Teacher turned CEO speaks to business students

Posted on Feb 26 2014 - 4:10pm by Guest Writer

By Katelynn Padron, Guest Writer

The teacher-turned-CEO, Carlyn Roy, spoke to students last Thursday in Leraas Hall about her journey through her education and careers.

Roy began her career in elementary education as a first-grade teacher.

Roy graduated from the elementary education program at Pacific Lutheran University in 1982. She taught first grade in Spanaway before relocating to Portland, Ore.

In Portland her first job was a bank teller. Roy later accepted a position at Woodstone Credit Union in Federal Way, Wash. After that she became the Chief Operating Officer at OSU Federal Credit Union in Corvallis, Ore. before becoming the Chief Executive Officer of TAPCO Credit Union.

Roy said it is alright to be unsure of your path after college because no one’s path is set, though education and communication programs offer the most versatile skills to those with undecided career paths. Either way, students can say they are keeping their options open.

Students should begin building their networks now. Ultimately, Roy said it was her network in the credit union community that got her the CEO position at TAPCO Credit Union. “Do not overlook people because you never know who will be able to help you,” Roy said.

You can expect someone in your network to forget who you are, Roy said, and they will be too kind to tell you. A former colleague once contacted her to get together and she could not remember who he was.

She spent an entire meeting trying to recall how she knew him. To prevent an awkward situation when you run into connections, Roy said, you should remind them of your name and how you know them.

Though Roy said one should never say no to an opportunity, you should know what you can’t do. Roy said she was hired to a position in Portland that required her to type up legal documents. She soon quit because she was unable to keep up with the typing demand.

“You are the CEO of your own life,” Roy said. “You are the main person who will advocate for your career by taking opportunities and maintaining integrity. Though mistakes are to be expected, you must own up to them, because integrity is one of the few things you cannot recover once it is compromised.”

For more career advice, Roy recommends that students read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” by Patrick Lencioni.

Roy’s lecture was the first of the spring 2014 MBA Executive Leadership Series.