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BizStarts of Milwaukee is excited to present the August 2016 Featured Mentor, Kathy Hust. Each month, BizStarts highlights a mentor from the Mentor Program and asks questions that provide knowledge and inspiration to other Milwaukee area entrepreneurs.

Interview with BizStarts Mentor, Kathy Hust

Question 1.) Tell us a little bit about your own background, Kathy.

Love Milwaukee! As a native, there are fond memories of growing up in the city. Through my lens, I appreciate all the area has to offer, from our beautiful lakefront to the many ethnic neighborhoods that make up our special city. After attending Mount Mary University, I embarked on a very exciting career in the wireless industry working with top notch companies such as Cellular One/Bellsouth and most recently US Cellular.

Question 2.) We know mentorship is not a new concept to you. Describe your background as a mentor.

As more young professionals inquired about a mentor/mentee relationship, my desire to offer an exceptional experience, lead me to professional mentor programming. Through the course of that offering, I became keenly aware of the responsibility and accountability a true mentor must exhibit. Serving through mentorship (guiding others) has been a very gratifying experience. And a way for me to “pay it forward” as mentees are making career decisions for the future.

Question 3.) If you want to inspire and encourage innovative ideas, Kathy, how do you go about it?

kathy-hust-mentor-bizstarts-photoFirst, declare that innovation is a pillar for the future. Then provide an environment for associates to be inspired. Offer tools and resources when teams gather. Ensure that the environment is safe and provides openness for ideation. It’s been my experience that associates do their best and are most satisfied when they are held accountable and know they have done a job well.

For some entrepreneurs, there is a hesitancy to ask for help. I find that reinforcing the notion of seeking advice from trusted advisors has been effective for start-up entities.

Question 4.) Who has been a major influence on you?

Personally, my mother. She was actively employed as an administrator until age 74. My mother is a career woman and a wonderful role model.

Question 5.) What advice would you give to your younger self?

Take more risks. As a young woman, I had an offer to work for a global company and travel the world. I passed on the opportunity. Big mistake on my part. Also, I wish I would have branched out and formed more start-up companies in different sectors. For example, 15 or so years ago I explored investing in the wind turbine industry. Looking back at that opportunity, I wish I would have.

Question 6.) What professional or personal struggle have you overcome and what did it teach you?

During one point in my career, the company I was with experienced 40-50% year-over-year hyper growth. Excelling in that environment required our team to embark on methodologies and plans that ensured we had the infrastructure that supported multi-year growth.

Question 7.) What professional or personal struggle have you overcome and what did it teach you?

  • Have fun!
  • Take advice from people you trust.
  • Be thoughtful with your growth plan.

“As a mentor, there is nothing better than paying it forward and helping others.”

Congratulations, Kathy Hust, for being the BizStarts August 2016 Featured Mentor! If you’re interested in our Mentor Program, contact us today!

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