We’re catching up with our previous “30 Under 35” winners to see where they are now and how their perspective has changed since being named one of the rising stars of the electrical industry.
Today, we talk with Edwin Ojeda, a 2012 honoree.
What is your current position?
Senior Territory Manager, Brady Corporation
What has been the reaction from co-workers and people in the industry to your “30 Under 35” award?
Lots of recognition and respect from the industry. People see this as a real award recognizing real up and coming leaders in the industry. At times end users and distribution has heard of me through the publication before even meeting.
What advice would you give young professionals about electrical distribution?
Times are difficult right now given the economic environment but these are the times that leaders lead. Once things really start moving in a positive direction we want to be ahead of everyone else in relationships, service provided and solutions brought to the market. Don’t stop pushing and you’ll find yourself and those that you show leadership to in a winning position.
What recruiting advice would you give companies when it comes to hiring great, young talent?
Understand that there is a talent gap upon us. Great, young talent wants to be motivated, incentivized and want there organization to truly invest in their development. Pay is only a small portion of the big picture. Show great, young talent that you can make them greater with experience, education and opportunity if they deserve and earn it.
How important was your mentoring (and reverse mentoring) when it comes to furthering your career?
I personally have a tremendous mentor and have recently obtained a second mentor. These folks have talked me through difficult times both personally and professionally. They’ve kept my eye on the prize and allowed me to really put things into perspective. They have advised me on what career development looks like and the skills i will need to obtain to reach the goals i’ve set forth.
On the reverse mentoring others has allowed me to not always think about myself and my future but to also invest time and effort into others. Its made me stop always looking for my own recognition and accolades but to take pride in their recognition and accomplishments. Its made me a better leader, listener and person.
What advice would you give to company leaders (c-suite) about working with Millennials?
Realize you have to work with them. You need to talk to them, interact with them and maybe most importanly….have fun with them. Take some interest in things they are interested in outside of work or “hitting the numbers.” Also be innovated with your leadership. Don’t just do what leaders have been doing forever. Think outside the box and come up with your own brand new ideas in leading, growing and moving forward an organization. Make yourself interesting to the millennials.
What do you see in the future of electrical distribution when it comes to technology and business practices?
Technology such as mobile devices will be more and more prevalent in the way information and products are procured. End users will know more about us before they call to inquire on solutions then we might know about ourselves. We need to be nimble. We need to accept technology and we need to be confident in executing new digital/mobile business practices. I firmly believe catalogs and hard copies of things will still be necessary but thing will become easier and easier to obtain quickly and digitally overtime and the industry should be prepared.
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