She is an impressive, lovely, and charismatic character. What else should be expected from a Georgian Court alumna? It is no surprise that such a wise woman would be asked to attend a WILD event and extend her words of wisdom to young aspiring women.
Linda Orlando started the conversation by expressing her appreciation and how impressed she was with the WILD women.
“At some point you are going to cross the stage and be on your own,” Orlando stated. Her straightforward nature was a most engaging way to begin. Ms. Orlando’s transparency was refreshing. She allowed the young women to see into her life from the beginning of her career journey, which actually began with her nonchalance about attending college. She shared that her parents forced her to attend. Ms. Orlando wanted to be a physical therapist first, then an accountant because, well… That’s where the money was. Reaching a point where she was ready to quit school, Orlando’s parents urged her to stick it out and complete her Bachelor’s degree at Pace University. She never imagined she would pursue her MBA but alas, after visiting the campus she fell in love with the spirit and core values of Georgian Court University and enrolled in the MBA program which she completed in 2007. Ms. Orlando is now the Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Keefe Bruyette and Woods, the largest full-service investment bank that specializes exclusively in the financial-services sector. She is also a Georgian Court University Board of Trustees member.
Linda Orlando covered three main areas that was very important to her:
- How she fell into her current career
- A review of leadership traits as a whole
- Core work skills
Linda mentioned that at first she did not actively pursue her current career. Her life was full of spontaneous and whimsical decisions until she was offered a job with DoubleClick, Inc., a technology services company.
“Working at a ‘dot com’ I suddenly realized I wasn’t doing it for the money. I was doing it for the heart for it. My career happened like THAT. 28 years… It went by quickly although, day by day it dragged,” Orlando stated.
As she progressed in her field, Orlando’s main drive was to make sure that she was going to make money. She did not strive to be in a specific position. She wanted to have fun. She loved working and helping people, groups, companies but her top priority was securing a comfortable lifestyle for herself. One that would provide for her parents in their older age as she is an only child and prioritizes caring for her parents.
Linda also shared how to clearly define one’s goals in life. Starting out, her first goal was moving out of her parents house and finding her own apartment. “You have to extend yourself to do things that you might not be comfortable doing in order to get money.” she said. She emphasized the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone in order to climb the ladder of success as one defines success.
Ms. Orlando also outlined leadership traits that every WILD woman should embody:
- Integrity, trust, and honesty
- Accountability and supportive nature
- Knowledge and passion (for the field in which one is working)
- Well-grounded sense of self , sense-of-humor
- Having a proven track record of SUCCESS
Linda Orlando stated how individuals should be prepared, constructive, and utilize criteria, statistics and information when speaking to others. As basic as it may seem to some, she stressed the importance of having common sense in various situations and putting everything into perspective. For example, although a woman might be in a male-dominated field, if she makes her sex an obstacle, it is going to be an obstacle. Another example was that jobs will always look at Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook accounts and credit scores, so being careful with what is posted on the Internet about oneself and how you use your money is most important.
In closing, Ms. Orlando challenged the WILD women to, “Embrace the technology that you have.” She expressed how important it is to use all the different avenues of technology and even just word-of-mouth to network with friends, family, organizations and especially the Alumni Association at GCU.
Ms. Orlando shared this interesting video with WILD which gives all sorts of interesting statistics about social media’s rise over the years and how technology has changed and is still changing:
Linda Orlando filled our minds with excitement and encouragement to continue on our leadership journeys. Our journey in life will challenge us and it will get hard but we should never give up. Grasping every opportunity given to us will provide us with many more learning experiences than simply reading books and sitting in classrooms ever will. We appreciate Linda Orlando and what she shared. She is DIFFERENT. She is OUTSPOKEN. She is REAL and those qualities in themselves are respectable.
“The world doesn’t change for you, you have to change for the world.”
Written by: Shinade Ramirez and Jennifer Valentin