Defining moments: MBA student reflects on CEO’s talk

  • July 20, 2020
  • By Jill Young Miller
  • 3 minute read

Lauren Herring is CEO of IMPACT Group, a global leader in employee career development.

Under her leadership, the company now operates in more than 77 international locations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Herring spoke to Olin students in January in Defining Moments: Lessons in Leadership and Character from the Top, a class the Bauer Leadership Center offers. Here, Brinda Perumal, MBA 2020, shares her thoughts on Herring’s talk:

Philosophy of leadership

Brinda Perumal

Brinda Perumal

Lauren Herring believes that you should be the CEO of your own career. As CEO of your own career, you should plan intentionally and reflect annually, or ever quarterly, about what you want in life. Are you doing things today that will help you get there? As long as you feel that you are in the right place at the right time, there is no correct career path.

Ultimately, Lauren stated the importance of being true to yourself and your personality. There may be traits of other leaders that you want to emulate, but, at the end of the day, stay true to your brand and remember that gravitas comes from inside you. It is important to believe in yourself and your work so that you remember why you are doing what you are doing. Your confidence, core values and a sense of who you are will be your assets toward success as a leader.

Impact of philosophy

The idea of being the CEO of your own career has permeated her own path to leadership. Lauren’s goal was never to do what all her peers were doing but rather to follow the path that was right for her. Her decision to help the family when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and focus on her own career later ultimately shifted into her wanting to become more involved with IMPACT Group. This entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to take risk has guided her rise to leadership and her actions as a leader.

Lauren did express that this desire to make the business her own may have been taken too far. Looking back, she wishes that rather than feeling the need to be able to prove how much she knows and that she had all the answers, she would have focused on asking more questions, engaging others along the way and inviting others’ opinions. From her experience, she shared with us the importance of making others feel valued, smart and engaged by bringing them into decisions and asking for their advice.

What I learned and would want to emulate

Lauren advised us to be not just the CEO of our careers but also the CMO of our career. I plan to implement this advice as I work on building my brand, so that I can promote and manage my personal brand while owning who I am. I really admired Lauren’s presence in the room. She was very down-to-earth and relatable. It was easy to see that success had not changed her as a person. She was clearly very true to herself and her core values and passionate about the work she does. I hope that I can carry myself the same way she does—with poise, relatability, and compassion—as a leader.

Pictured at top: Lauren Herring, CEO of IMPACT Group

About the Author


Jill Young Miller

Jill Young Miller

As research translator for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to highlight professors’ research by “translating” their work into stories. Before coming to Olin, I was a communications specialist at WashU’s Brown School. My background is mostly in newspapers including as a journalist for Missouri Lawyers Media, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida.

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