The Lordstown plant manager urged the teenagers to 'diversify.'
By ROSA MERCADO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Maureen Midgley, manager of the General Motors Corp. Lordstown assembly plant, encouraged more than 130 Ohio high school students to become "renaissance" people.
"Diversify, diversify, diversify," said Midgley, who urged students to take a variety of subjects and expand their activities. "You don't know what skills and experiences will give you an edge."
Midgley was the featured speaker Wednesday at Youngstown State University's third annual Ohio Business Week program. The weeklong event, which ends Saturday, aims to "educate youths on the benefits and principles of the free enterprise system."
Words of advice
The Lordstown plant manager explained that students will need to be multidimensional to be successful in the business world.
"Become passionate about something -- what you will be successful in is what inspires you," said Midgley, who has spent 20 years in the auto industry.
She also stressed that ethics plays a large role in success. "Corruption can destroy businesses and can destroy lives," she said. "Honesty is a habit which builds integrity."
Having integrity and honesty even with the small stuff makes a difference, she added.
Midgley told students that even if they excel in math and science, they won't go far without good communication skills. She said that oral presentations may be difficult for some, but the more practice, the better.
"Any opportunity you get to talk in front of people, do it," she urged. "It may be scary, but it's of immeasurable value; you must be able to articulate your ideas."
Success in business
Midgley, who has a chemical engineering degree from the University of Missouri, said she wasn't encouraged to go into engineering.
"I went to an all-girls college-prep high school where you were encouraged to become either a nurse or a secretary," she said.
In the male-dominated manufacturing industry, Midgley said there have been challenges for her, but she loves her work. "There are people who want you to succeed," she added.
She attributes her father with teaching her work ethics, and her mother with teaching her communication skills.
A self-described "wannabe musician," Midgley said family is the most important thing to her, and she tries to involve the members whenever she can. "They even come to work with me sometimes."
The wife and mother said she stays energized by being athletic. In addition to work, she coaches soccer and does a triathlon every year.
Her final words of advice encouraged students to go to school to learn and not just to get through.
She told the teenage audience that they can make an impact on the world.
"You are the future of our country," Midgley said. "And that's the greatest country in the world."