genYOU Story 38 – Riley Thiedecke

Our genYOU Story No. 38 features Riley Thiedecke (pictured far right)! Riley’s story reminds us that our career is in our hands … at any point we can pivot, change direction or find a whole new wave of motivation!

Name: Riley Thiedecke
Current Role: Final year Bachelor of Business Marketing/Entrepreneurship student at Griffith University and Campus Director of Hult Prize at Griffith.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are headed in your career right now?

I am a final year marketing/entrepreneurship student at Griffith University, and the current Campus Director of Hult Prize at Griffith. I’m passionate about social change and believe that for-profit enterprise can have superior shareholder returns whilst having net positive impact on world poverty. In my free time, I enjoy learning about unfamiliar areas of interest, taking pictures on my film camera and travelling to new places.

Earlier this year I competed in the Hult Prize regional summit in San Francisco where my team and I ranked in the overall top six. Prior to this, I participated in the MIT Innovation Bootcamp where I learnt an entire semester of work in one week. This period of my life has been the most challenging yet satisfying.

Currently, I’m working towards graduating from my degree; shortly after, I will start a new role at Schneider Electric as part of their vacation program. At this point, I’m just going to see how that goes and what’s in store for the future. This is exciting stuff!

How has or how is generationYOU helping you achieve your goals?

2018 was a huge year of growth for me when it came to professional skills. I went to a lot of generationYOU events, however the two that I found the most beneficial to my own professional development would have to be the two genYOU Inspire events ‘Learn to Network like a Pro’ and ‘Building an Outstanding Personal Brand’.

My goal for the year was to increase my professional network, part of this was going to as many relevant professional events as possible. However, before I could begin to increase my network, I needed to know how to network. Don’t get me wrong, I thought I knew how to network – but I was completely wrong.

After Lisa (generationYOU’s Co-Founder), went through some of the crucial faults students make when trying to network, I realised I was guilty of nearly all of them. One of the common mistakes I used to make, was sending a generic invite on LinkedIn to someone after networking, and then likely never speaking to them again.

However, after learning the importance of the follow up message and invitation to meet, it completely changed the way I network. I no longer connect with anyone on LinkedIn without first writing a custom invitation message. If I feel we have more to discuss, I always invite them for a followup coffee where we can continue the conversation and being to build rapport. This kind of networking is completely different what I previously practiced, which was very one-dimensional.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My biggest inspiration is my parents. With special mention to my dad who despite all the adversity he faced in his life, he always stayed positive and didn’t let the situation define who he was. This has really shown me that regardless of the situation we may be facing, we can always control our actions. It’s important to not let the situation define who you are, instead let your actions speak for themselves.

What is the one piece of advice you would love to share with your millennial peers as you reflect on your own journey?

Get your foot in the door. When I began my degree, I struggled to find opportunities, and to be frank, I didn’t know where to look. Eventually I went to a seminar that my university was facilitating called Preparing for Success. After attending this seminar, I began to see all the opportunities around me that I had no idea even existed. That next year, I wasted no time, I applied and said yes to every opportunity that I could find.

After some time, opportunities began to come to me and throughout the last three years I have achieved more than I could have every imagined, simply by saying yes. Always apply, even if you don’t think you will get it. Chances are, you are more likely to get it than you think.