By Kelsi Ortega – William Jewell College alumni Clinton Stull ’08 was named by Ingram’s Magazine as one of the 2012 “20 in Their Twenties” outstanding young entrepreneurs. Ingram’s Magazine is a Kansas City, Missouri-based business magazine covering local business news as well as industry and economic development trends throughout the bi-state region. The 2012 recognition marks the fifth installment of Ingram’s “20 in Their Twenties”, which identifies notable young entrepreneurs in the Kansas City area.
Mr. Stull is a field director with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. He holds the company’s honorary Pacesetter record for most life policies written in the first six months of work and is building on that foundation with solid goals for the next five years. In an interview for this article, Mr. Stull provided the following insights and advice to Jewell students.
Q: Being named by Ingram’s as one of the top 20 entrepreneurs in Kansas City is quite an honor. What is your motivator?
Stull: I wanted to have an impact in the community and find a career that would maximize my full potential. I also believe it is important to have a well-balanced lifestyle, for both my family and me.
Q: Does the Ingram’s Top 20 recognition put more pressure on you, both personally and/or with your peers?
Stull: No, I put a lot of pressure on myself already. Also, I didn’t make it to where I am by myself. I have a great team that helped me get to the Top 20. But, it is important to work hard and have a positive attitude.
Q: What interested you about Northwestern Mutual?
Stull: I was able to get an internship while still a student at Jewell. This gave me insight into the company. Plus, Princeton Review gave the company a very high rating. It is an old company with a long tradition of excellence.
Q: How long have you been there?
Stull: Counting my internship, I’ve been here for 6 years – 2 years as an intern from 2006-2008 and full-time since graduation.
Q: What advice do you have for how to be successful at work?
Stull: Using many of the same skills I learned at Jewell: effective time management, creating a good team, cultivating a strong network of friends and supporters. I strongly encourage current students to take advantage of the opportunities at Jewell for networking – meeting alumni, participating in dinners, and using your professors for career resources.
Q: Are there any social media and networking tools you use that help you in your position?
Stull: I use LinkedIn and Achieve magazine.
Q: What advice do you have for Jewell students graduating in the next few years?
Stull: Get involved on campus! Also, Professor Whittaker gave great advice in that he encouraged me to establish relationships with alumni, find internships, and look for a career I could be passionate about. When you are passionate about what you do, the compensation and recognition come in their own time.
Q: Did you need a master’s degree to qualify for your position?
Stull: I did not need my master’s, but there are certifications and licenses required in my profession. I have to keep current with educational requirements. You never get away from learning!
Q: What do you consider to be the most important take-away from your Jewell experience?
Stull: The most important experience at Jewell was networking. The opportunity to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds has been helpful in my career. It was also beneficial having the opportunity to be involved on campus and having hands-on experiences.
Q: Can you point to some lesson(s) learned at Jewell that help you in your career today?
Stull: Being at Jewell helped me to learn time management skills. I currently balance marriage, church, and work activities. But, the same skills that make you successful in college – being organized and able to multi-task – carry over into the workplace. It’s really important to try and be effective in all areas.
In closing, Mr. Stull offered the following advice for students anticipating the step into the professional world: “Work especially hard when you have less responsibility. Collaborate with people who add to your strengths and balance out your weaknesses. If you help other people to look good, they will do the same. A team really is stronger than an individual!”