Mar Sue Durrbeck Career choices for women of my generation were clear: nurse, school teacher or secretary. Since my mother was a primary grade teacher I figured that may be my destiny as well. But, as you will soon learn, it took three careers to reach my true calling. Two years of college led me to question teaching. I was curious about the business world and ventured into the college business department – but once there, rather than accounting and marketing, I was directed into shorthand and typing. To find my first job, I answered an ad, “Genius Wanted, Long Hours, and Low Pay. Call xxxx.” There was no doubt that this ad was directed just to me! It was placed by an insurance agent for an AAA company. While I screwed up my nose at the insurance business, this man had a tremendous impact on my career. He confirmed my family values that you do the right thing because it is right — even when you’re selling insurance! He encouraged me to implement ideas to generate more business and streamline the office. In addition, he provided incentive to take college classes at night.
Change the Course “What I’m doing now encompasses all of the favorite things from my diverse career journey!”
After a few years of being a mom 24/7 — and now with two and a half years of college, I returned to the workforce and joined the staff of the Chicago Board of Trade. Several promotions led to becoming the first Human Resources manager in the Exchange’s 100+ year history. My experience with employee benefits was key. So, this began Career #1. It became increasingly apparent that if I wanted to advance my career, continued education had to be part of the plan. So, with a full-time job, two children and a home to tend to, I returned to college and graduated from Northwestern University on my 40th birthday! Several years later I even earned a Masters degree! After more than a decade in Human Resources, it was time to stretch again and head for Career #2. I founded Durrbeck & Associates, an organizational development consulting firm. We worked with organizations to change their cultures (as the banks did when they changed from service to sales), we assisted individuals in managing their challenging career transitions (which involved personal coaching) and we provided interpersonal skills training to managers and professionals. Training classes were offered in major cities throughout the country. All of these engagements resulted in being able to positively influence the performance of both The Register | July 2013