Brad Cole, executive director of the Illinois Municipal League, former Senior Vice-President of Pepsi MidAmerica, former downstate director for Senator Mark Kirk, former Mayor of Carbondale, former City Council member in Carbondale, and former Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor George Ryan, spoke to Nancy Lind’s professional development class on September 26.

Cole, using many interesting anecdotes, shared with students how his success in life derived from meeting with the SIU president when Cole was a student at Southern Illinois University (SIU). He explained how when he recognized the president, he approached him on the Quad and simply introduced himself, beginning a lifelong friendship.

group photo of the department chair, a professor and a guest speaker

Department Chair TY Wang (left), Professor Nancy Lind, and Brad Cole

From that experience and his dedicated work ethic, he had numerous jobs despite NEVER applying for a job. The jobs were always offered to him based on three critical traits. The first was relationship-building as you never know who might have the next job to offer to you. Secondly, he stressed to never say you don’t care about something. Here he said to students if you were asked what you wanted on a pizza and your response was, “I don’t care,” how would you feel if he brought you a dirt pizza. Third, he expressed the importance of follow-through. His message was if something is important, you should do it as soon as possible. His rule of thumb is “if you can do something in less than 3 minutes, given your circumstances, do it now.” This is because you never know what is going to happen tomorrow but you do know what is happening right now.