President tells OCCC students ‘do what you love’

President Paul SechristA room full of journalism students at OCCC heard the college president give his thoughts on leadership and success during an informal talk on March 5 .

Paul Sechrist said luck can play a part .

“Success has to do a lot with being in the right place at the right time,” he said .

Sechrist reflected on his own journey beginning as a junior high school teacher, to then becoming a college professor .

He spoke about his mindset during that time and still today .

“Some people will tell you to always position yourself for what’s next, to plot your way to success,” Sechrist said .

“That was never my plan .

I have always believed in being the best you can where you are.” The president said the advice he has always given to be successful is to do the things you love and are passionate for .

“Being honest, caring about other people, finding a work worth doing, and doing something that makes a difference are important to those who want success,” he said .

Sechrist also spoke to the students about working to become the best leaders they can be .

“Getting an education is powerful to you and it can never be taken away,” he said .

Sechrist said the goal of the community college is to offer access and opportunity to all who want to gain knowledge, not just a select few .

On July 1, Sechrist will step down as president, after serving 10 years in the position .

He said he hopes his legacy as president will be the increased focus on graduation for OCCC students .

The benefits of a college education are greatest for those who earn a degree or credential, he said .

Sechrist said students should be selective of those they spend time with .

“Make sure you surround yourself with people who will light your candle when it goes out, and that you will light theirs when theirs goes out,” he said .

“But also remember to carry around a box of matches because you might have to light your own candle sometimes.” The president said one of the hardest things for leaders to do is admit when they are wrong .

“Always remember that it is rarely too late to do the right thing … ,” he said .

“Take responsibility when things aren’t going right.” In closing his speech to the students, Sechrist left them with some practical leadership advice .

“To be an effective leader, you have to be at your best most of the time,” he said .

Sechrist said people want a leader who is together and effective .

“People expect me to be physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually settled,” he said .

“They want leaders who are taking care of themselves.” Sechrist emphasized that to be a good leader, you must take care of yourself, make sure you recharge at the end of every day, and know when you need to go to your place of rest and peace .

“My advice for leaders is that there are priorities in life and they start with you .

Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.”

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