Loren Uridel turned a personal misfortune into a fulfilling career. As a young boy he was an avid builder of model airplanes and dreamed of becoming a commercial airline pilot when he grew up. But when at the age of 13 he learned he could not meet the vision requirements for the profession, he had to consider alternative options.
He realized he also enjoyed designing structures—which he had always included in his model airplane layouts. With a new vision for his future, he went on to earn a bachelor’s in architecture from Ball State University in Indiana and a master’s in business administration from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Today Uridel is a successful architect and the founder and CEO of Collaborative Group, a Los Angeles-based architecture and planning company—and he flies private aircraft as a pastime.
Uridel and three other seasoned business professionals from four divergent fields shared details of their professional journey and success with a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 200 people, including students, faculty and staff from California State University, Dominguez Hills, at the Pathways to Business Success Symposium held in the Loker Student Union on Oct. 24.
Hosted by the College of Business Administration and Public Policy (CBAPP), the inaugural event gave students the opportunity to hear insights and tips, make inquiries during a question and answer forum, and to meet one-on-one with the speakers immediately following the program.
Students asked panelists what traits are necessary to be successful in business. Panelist and alumnus Jan Vogel (Class of ’74, M.A., education), executive director of the South Bay Workforce Investment Board, responded that being able to sell is crucial, regardless of the business or position a person holds. He also stressed the importance of developing a strong network of peers while still in college.
“So many things in my career were based on that time, when I was a freshman in college. … Low and behold, now 40-plus years later, some of those same people are the … people that I see every week. I just signed a lease last week, and the other signatory was a guy that was in my fraternity and my cabinet when I was a freshman in college,” said Vogel, who was president of his freshman class at CSU Dominguez Hills.
Other panelists were Kristin Burke, director of recruitment for Northwestern Mutual-Los Angeles, who outlined ways to perfect interview skills to land a job and discussed the importance of building a personal brand, and Robert Yallen, president and chief executive officer of InterMedia Entertainment, who urged students to develop leadership skills and not to take “no” for an answer.
Although their stories were as varied as their fields, the speakers agreed on several themes, including the importance of networking, a strong work ethic, knowing and developing one’s personal brand, and how math skills, especially in finance and accounting, helped them in their careers.
Dean of CBAPP Joseph Wen said the event, in part, served to advance University President Willie J. Hagan’s student success initiative and indicated that CBAPP plans to host similar symposiums in the future.
For more information on CBAPP, visit cbapp.csudh.edu.