Author speaks to students, business leaders

Zig Zigler once said “I’ve never met an ungrateful person who was happy, and I’ve never met a grateful person who wasn’t.” The power of positive thinking and boldly taking risks while running toward your dreams was the message that met more than 70 high school juniors and seniors from seven area schools Nov. 14, during the 2012 Central Nebraska Technical Career Day. The event is spearheaded by the Custer Economic Development Corporation and supported in multiple capacities by twenty local businesses. Thanks in part to a grant provided by the Custer County Foundation, the students were welcomed and energized by nationally recognized author and motivational speaker, Mary Kay Mueller. Mueller grew up in rural Iowa and currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri. At the age of 34 she found herself in a domestic violence shelter, suffering from co-dependency. What she learned while enduring theses hard times was that people do not take care of themselves and often blame hardships on someone or something instead of looking in the mirror and beginning a change for the better within themselves. She started an in home support group and soon wrote her first book "Taking Care of Me". Mueller’s next book, "8 To Great", outlines an eight step process to self empowerment. It is used by schools in eighteen states and has been integrated in the training programs of several Fortune 500 companies. CEDC President, Melissa Garcia elaborated, “Four years ago, the CEDC was looking for away to be a catalyst in creating a relationship between the talent of our high school students, and the business community looking to fill its available positions with quality workers. “This interactive, engaging day is the product of that brainstorm. Each year the committee ask, ‘How can we do this better?’ The addition of Mary Kay Mueller is a result of that.” After listening to Mary Kay Mueller, the students participated in tours of local businesses and had a chance to see interactive presentations from Nebraska community colleges. The students wrapped up the day with a fun question and answer session, and a nice incentive to participate in giving feed back on the days events. B-D donated a Nook to be drawn from the names of students willing to submit answers to the post event evaluation. A few of the comments that were submitted through the feedback forms were: “I loved going to other businesses around town and seeing what they do behind the scenes. It’s not every day that one thinks about how the product they are receiving is made. I think it made myself, and other students, grateful about what actually goes on in a small town.” “(I) was very excited about the impact the career fair had on the three students from our school. All three of them came home saying they know where they want to work, and what they want to do. That is HUGE.” Garcia felt as though the day was a success, and the committee is already looking at how to grow next year’s experience for our future leaders.