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The Weber State University Goddard School of Business & Economics presented alumnus Curt Roberts at its Annual Leadership Summit on Feb. 26.
Roberts, the former vice president of global strategy for Nike, presented to a room of Goddard students.
Rebecca Samford, administrative specialist to the Goddard School, said attendance was high this year.
“Our Annual Leadership Summit is an event designed for the students, (and) 93 percent of those who RSVP’d were in attendance,” Samford said. “It was an informational success.”
Roberts graduated from WSU in 1986 with a degree in economics and a minor in math. He graduated from Harvard Business School with his MBA and worked his way up the corporate ladder.
Roberts presented on the leadership skills he developed from his time at and leading up to his career with Nike, where he oversaw the development of short- and longer-term strategies of Nike’s portfolio brands.
Roberts started off by telling students that his experience at WSU was different, and that to him, different means better.
“You will encounter leadership no matter where you work or where you lead,” he told students.
J.T. Eborn, WSU business administration junior, said there were many takeaways from Roberts’ speech, but what stuck out were his teachings on being an adaptable leader.
“Adaptability is key,” Roberts said. “Do not always lead consistent with your default leading style.”
Roberts told students that when they are leading, they need to adapt to the different individuals and learning styles of the team.
“Everybody is different, and each person is motivated and leads in a different way,” Eborn said. “Thus, you need to be willing to change your style in order to reach different groups and individuals.”
Nick Eddy, marketing senior, said he enjoyed Roberts’ leadership advice, especially the part about identifying one’s own strongest individual attribute.
“Really understand what you do well and find circumstances where you can apply those things,” Roberts said. “You will stand out and shine and be given additional opportunities.”
Roberts told students to recognize their strengths and use them.
“We’ve all been told this from a small age,” Eddy said. “But it’s different hearing it from someone as successful as Mr. Roberts. He is the result of that idea.”
Cassie Krey, marketing senior, said she liked when Roberts talked about having imbalance in life.
“I would rather be very intentional about the imbalance I am choosing,” Roberts said. “It must be a deliberate choice.”
Roberts told students that everyone will face imbalance and that achieving balance is an elusive idea.
“It’s hard, when I am so busy, to try and make time for everything,” Krey said. “Everybody tells you to keep things balanced, and that is really hard! So hearing what Roberts said was kind of relieving.”
Niccole Mumford, accounting senior, said she appreciated Roberts talking about going after opportunities and taking advantage of them.
“Every opportunity builds off of previous experiences,” Roberts said. “The doors that get opened for you in many cases will be based upon what you are now doing and how you are doing it.”
Roberts said that if students want opportunities to grow and change, they need to go after them.
“One thing I learned was the importance of taking every opportunity seriously,” Mumford said. “No matter where we are at, we can learn from that situation and use it to better ourselves.”
Roberts encouraged everyone in attendance to find leadership opportunities.
“If you want to be a leader, start being a leader,” he said. “Find them (opportunities). Do them. Don’t wait. It doesn’t have to be a job that says you are a manager or leader.”
For more information about future Leadership Summits and Goddard School events, students can contact Pat Wheeler, coordinator of recruitment and career development, at 801-626-7914.