Local business executive promotes individual success

By Brandon Barrett/reporter

Leadership development, post-graduate jobs and a personal brand are just a few things a local business executive shared at TR Campus’ Leadership eXperience Summit April 28.

Hosted by the Center for Leadership Development, the leadership program provides leadership training, resources and opportunities for students to maximize their individual success.

Kim Cummings, assistant vice president of human resources and diversity, is ultimately responsible for BNSF Railway’s diversity and inclusion efforts. She also provides leadership to the HR matrix teams supporting audit services, technology services, compliance and law. She has spent over 20 years in leadership roles, promoting employee engagement in companies that include Belo, Burger King, Dell and Target.

During the workshop session, participants learned what they can do to prepare their personal branding portfolio.

”We need to drive our own brand, and there’s a few things that we need to plan for,” she said. “There are actually 10 top things that we need to consider to create our brand, the first being to learn how to tell your story.”

From learning how to share one’s personal story to employers to understanding a resume better, Cummings gave advice on creating one’s brand.

“Knowing your niche is extremely important,” she said. “If you already know what you love doing, then it becomes that much easier to find a job in that respective field. You need to know what your care is and what kind of difference you will be making. At the end of the day, it’s about what kind of impact you make.”

Many college students and graduating students still come out of college today and find it difficult to find jobs in their field, occasionally for quite a long time, Cummings said. Therefore, she said undertaking leadership development and pursuing a personal brand can shape a career path.

“Understanding where you want to go is a big part of one’s career path,” she said. “You need to know what you aspire to be. One of the things that leadership is about is identifying what your weaknesses are and going out to find someone to help you with those weaknesses. Paying attention to these things now will only help you in being able to find what you want to do.”

Many leaders like Cummings have had mentors when they were in college and just starting out in the workforce. She had advice for aspiring student leaders, which she wished someone had told her when she was starting her career.

“I wish someone would have told me to be patient,” she said. “Patience is a virtue, and if you go too fast, it’ll be very difficult to solve the fear of having future problems. I wish someone had told me that I have to slow down to go fast.”