KEARNEY – Brett Wall has some simple, yet detailed, advice for students.
“Learn as much as you can. Volunteer for tough assignments, or the assignments that others do not want to do,” he says. “Learn the word yes. It is a powerful word, as it ends debate, opens up opportunities and creates and fosters relationships.”
It’s also important to understand the value of hard work. “Ultimately that does pay off, and additional responsibility and opportunity comes to those who get things done.”
Find a mentor, read as much as you can, build relationships and “be respectful, but ask for what you want within reason,” adds Wall, senior vice president and president of the Brain Therapies Division at Medtronic in Irvine, Calif. “Think about your career and stay in the path of investment. This means thinking about the future and about where markets and opportunities are going.”
Wall is the Ron Landstrom Executive-in-Residence at the University of Nebraska at Kearney for 2017. He will present, “Be Curious. Be Humble. Thrive in a Changing World,” at 11 a.m. Sept. 14 in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room. The presentation is partially funded by the JA Baldwin Free Enterprise Lecture Series.
A resident of southern California, Wall graduated from UNK in 1987 with a business administration degree and emphasis in marketing. His career spans 25 years as an executive in the medical device industry.
At Medtronic he oversees brain modulation, neurosurgery, neurovascular and surgical technology service areas and manages a team of more than 1,000 people. Prior to joining Medtronic, he was president of Covidien’s Neurovascular and International division, where he helped double the company’s revenue in just four years.
His career path also includes leadership positions with medical technology companies Nuerovascular, ev3, Micro Therapeutics, Boston Scientific and C.R. Bard. At UNK, Wall was involved in Greek Life as a member of Phi Delta Theta, Student Government, Choraleers and Bike Bowl.
“I was provided so much help, guidance and encouragement,” he says of his time at UNK. “In one case the encouragement was to go be good at something else. Today I can laugh at this, as it was exactly the right advice at the right time, but it was delivered in a caring way and with someone who believed in me but knew that I needed a different path.”
The Ron Landstrom Executive-in-Residence program brings successful business executives to UNK to talk with College of Business and Technology students about “best business practices,” as well as their personal career paths and lessons learned.
These executives engage students in several classes, make campus presentations on their areas of expertise and participate in a session with the CBT Student Advisory Board and faculty. They also participate in a networking opportunity with members of the Business Advisory Board. The event is free and also open to the public.
Wall’s talk will focus on his career path and responsibilities, lessons learned along the way and how they can be applied to current situations. “It is OK not to exactly know where you will end up, but to be open and curious and allow those possibilities to find you. And when they do, drive hard for them and go after them.”
Wall currently serves on the board executive committee for OCTANe, a group that promotes technical growth and expertise in the greater Orange County, Calif., area. He is also a member of the CEO Roundtable at the University of California, Irvine.
JA Baldwin Free Enterprise Lecture Series Speakers
Thursday, Sept. 14
8 to 9:15 a.m. – Noel Palmer, Business Ethics; Marsha Yeagley, Professional Selling, Ngan Chow, Marketing. (Student, Union, Ponderosa Room)
9:30 to 10:45 a.m. – Brenda Eschenbrenner, Accounting; Heather Meyer, Advertising Management; Marsha Yeagley, Professional Selling; Ngan Chow, Supply Chain Management. (Student, Union, Ponderosa Room)
2 to 3:15 p.m. – Kay Hodge, Principles of Management. (Student, Union, Ponderosa Room)
Friday, September 15
8 to 9 a.m. – “Internships/Career Opportunities,” with Aaron Estes, Career Services; Dustin Favinger, CBT Career Services; Janice Woods, Business Internship Director; and Brenda Jochum, Industrial Technology Internship Director. (West Center 120E)
9:05 to 9:55 a.m. – Sri Seshadri, Marketing Research; Daniel Chaffin, Administrative Policy and Strategy; and Greg Benson, Supply Chain Management. (Ockinga)
10:10 to 11 a.m. – Daniel Chaffin, Administrative Policy/Strategy. (Ockinga)