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Inspiring Young Professionals at YP Summit

Young Professionals SummitHit pause. Is it time to refocus your life and live with intention?

That’s what Amy Pick, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacy practice, and Katie Wadas-Thalken, MEd, director for academic success in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, asked attendees at the 2018 YP Summit March 1 at the CenturyLink Center Omaha.

Around 1,600 young professionals gathered for the summit, organized by the Greater Omaha Chamber. Creighton University Graduate School and the Heider College of Business were the event’s lead sponsors.

Pick and Wadas-Thalken presented “Living Life with Intention, Helping Women Set and Achieve Goals in All Aspects of Their Lives” in a breakout session.

“Have you ever thought maybe what you’re doing in life is because it’s something someone else wants you to do?” Pick asked attendees.

Drawing from her own life, the now-pharmacist started out as a music major, because a high school teacher thought music education was a natural path. But Pick knew teaching elementary students rhythm and melody wasn’t for her. So she took a different route.

Pick and Wadas-Thalken challenged attendees to set goals and live with internal inspiration.

“How do I identify what’s important to me, and how can I get there and still be sane?” Wadas-Thalken asked.

They spoke of the societal pressure to be a woman who can do it all, but asked, is doing it all conducive to real life?

“When I stopped trying to do it all, that’s when I started excelling at work,” Wadas-Thalken said. For her, it meant delegating dinner responsibilities to her husband because she hates cooking. And that, she said, is OK.

“In 2008, my world was falling apart,” Pick said. “I was a terrible mom, terrible pharmacist and terrible wife.”

With too much going on, Pick said, so she “hit pause” and made a change. While she slowed down a bit , that didn’t stop her drive.

“I have an internal restlessness,” Pick said. “There’s something calling me.” Both women are driven to further their education — Pick is a student in Creighton’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership Program, and Wadas-Thalken hopes to finish her Doctorate of Education this year.

“Why do we have this idea in life that if we pause in our life, we’ll be unsuccessful?” Pick said.

Research says 78 percent of women will similarly push pause in their lifetime, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become senior leaders in their organizations.

They challenged attendees to start with three things in order to live life with intention.

First, write a mission statement.

Next, develop your personal creed – “what helps you get through the fog of your life,” Wadas-Thalken said.

Finally, set goals and keep in mind that sometimes the path to get to that goal may change.

“Surround yourself with people who live by their goals,” Pick says.

Creighton Board of Trustees Chair Mike McCarthy was a panelist for another breakout session, “Values and Business: Build to Last or Build to Sell?” with Godfather’s and Pitch Pizzeria founder Willy Theisen. McCarthy spoke of the ability to shape a business built to last.

The YP Summit also included a morning keynote speech from John Henry, founder of Confound Harlem and venture capitalist at Harlem Capital, and an afternoon keynote from Julissa Arce, an immigration and education advocate and author of My American Dream.

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Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic university bridging health, law, business and the arts and sciences for a more just world.