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Should You Reinvent Yourself?

by Matthew Grant  |  
March 15, 2013

One of the reasons that I wanted to interview Steven Bushong, SVP Marketing Operations at the Disney ABC Television Group, for the Marketing Smarts podcast was that he has had such an interesting career path.

Graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in industrial and systems engineering, Steven spent time in the automotive industry and elsewhere plying his trade until returning to school and getting his MBA from Babson College.

MBA in hand, Steven went off to become the manager of Disneyland Paris, where, as he told me, he to see something you rarely see, "the birth of a company of 10,000 people."

Working on that project eventually brought Steven into the sphere of sourcing and procurement at Disney, where he eventually became vice president of that function.

Finally, several years ago, Steven got the opportunity to turn is now rather diverse operational experience to marketing when he was asked to come in and re-architect that function in the television group at Disney ABC. (If you would like to hear what that has entailed, I encourage you to listen to the podcast!)

When I asked Steven about his sometimes circuitous career path, he said...

"I'm a re-inventalist and I think a lot of executives or a lot of people today, they need to be able to adapt and they need to reinvent themselves from time to time."

Thinking about this I wanted to ask you, dear reader, what have you done to reinvent yourself in the past? What are you doing to reinvent yourself in the future?

And finally, what can people do in general to make the reinvention process go more smoothly?

If you would like to hear my entire conversation with Steve, I invite you to listen to or download the podcast here. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

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My name is Matthew T. Grant, PhD. I'm Managing Editor here at MarketingProfs. I divide my time between designing courses for MarketingProfs University and hosting/producing our podcast, Marketing Smarts. You can follow me on Twitter (@MatttGrant) or read my personal musings on my blog here.

If you'd like to get in touch with me about being a guest on Marketing Smarts or teaching as part of MarketingProfs University or, frankly, anything else at all, drop me a line.

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  • by Jeff Wilson Fri Mar 15, 2013 via blog

    I don't know that I'm quite comfortable with the notion of re-invention per se. However, if you were to say that we are in a state of constant evolution and that we need to be more consciously aware of that path, I would be much more inclined to agree.

    It's interesting to note from the examples used in the interview that Disney itself is in a constant state of evolution as an enterprise, one of the few large companies out there consistently improving itself to stay ahead of consumer need and competitive incursion. Steven seems as if he is tasked with a large part of driving that evolution along a strategic path rather than leaving it to chance.

    Interesting interview. Thanks!

  • by Matthew Grant Fri Mar 15, 2013 via blog

    I like the "constant evolution/conscious awareness" formulation, Jeff.

    Also, in Steve's case, I see a "systems engineering/systems thinking" thread running through his career path, which reflects a continuous-ish process of evolution, rather than outright re-invention.

  • by Linda Fuller Fri Mar 15, 2013 via blog

    Yes, we are truly in a changing and dynamic world, and this definitely applies to the business world as well. I believe that we all need to be watchful in our careers for opportunities that may not seem to be on the straight line of our career path, but might provide us with new adventures, and the company with a new perspective. If this is re-creating oneself, then I'm all for it. I've know several people who worked for Disney at lower professional positions, and it sounded like a chew em up and spit em out type of environment. In that type of workplace, being adaptable and a bit of a chameleon seems like a necessity for survival!

  • by Matthew T. Grant Fri Mar 15, 2013 via blog

    Thanks for the comment, Linda.

    I love your notion of being "watchful" in our careers. While I definitely see the benefits of having and pursuing clear professional goals, as someone who started his professional life by getting a PhD in German Studies and ended up working first in HR and later in marketing, I'm fully aware of how things may not work out as you initially envisioned them but also that you may be good at, and even enjoy, roles that you at first never even considered.

  • by Dave Wedge Wed Mar 20, 2013 via blog

    Now that the concept of a job for life has well and truly gone, its reckoned that anybody heading off from education in to the workplace now will probably average 4 or 5 different careers.

    They should be teaching reinvention in colleges, its become a necessary life skill.

    My own background is civil servant, software developer, program manager, IT manager, outplacement consultant, and now digital marketing consultant. I can not pretend I ever had any great plan but I like change and several times in my life it became a necessity.

  • by Matthew Grant Wed Mar 20, 2013 via blog

    I can totally relate, Dave. I got a PhD in German, taught at college, worked as a corporate trainer, then corporate spokesperson, process improvement consultant, marketer, freelance writer, and then editor/podcaster. Not exactly the career path I envisioned, but it has certainly paid to be flexible and recognize interesting opportunities when they have presented themselves.

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