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Catherine Collins

"Be passionate about what you're doing and you'll never work a day in your life."

As children, we're all asked the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" How did you answer?

I always wanted to be a teacher who lived in Colorado and had horses. Today I live in Massachusetts, have never lived in Colorado - though I did visit as a child which precipitated this "dream", and I've only ever ridden horses on vacation in Hawaii or Arizona. I'm in sales, and as an adult haven't thought of teaching since remembering this question.

What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

Getting a job selling paper for International Paper. Not only did it give me a "career path", it also changed my location geographically. IP moved me to the Boston area - and that move really changed my life and how I defined myself.

How did you get your big breaks?

Hard work - long hours - and a willingness to do whatever it takes to "make it" in this world without a degree. Nothing was handed to me throughout my journey and I realized that without a degree, the extra effort was required. (Emphasis on without a degree, i.e. with a degree life would have been so much easier. Therefore, I'm in school now working toward the completion of a 4-year degree that I started toward so many years ago.)

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

Be passionate about what you're doing and you'll never work a day in your life. I've always enjoyed where I worked and the people I've worked with - they have really made the experiences I've had what they were.

What have you learned from your experience?

Over the years the biggest lesson I learned is to value what I can give. It's not about the degree or piece of paper, that I do have something to give without that. I would rather have the degree and the experiences that went with getting it, but, that wasn't my road in life. Today, I view getting my degree as an entirely different experience, one that I think I value differently because of my age and ability to know that the time is right.

What most excites you about your job right now?

In my job right now I'm excited by reaching goals. I have my eye set on the prize - meeting my numbers, making a bonus, and getting the in-house award from my company. The territory I cover has yet to meet their goals since start-up approx. 8 years ago, and I'd like to be the first person to do that for the company.

On a scale of 1-10, how relevant was your academic major to your career? (1=not at all, 10=absolutely essential)

1 Not Relevant

What would you like to have achieved by the last day of your career?

I would love to be one of the company's most recognized/successful sales representatives. By that, I'd like to have our customer base recognize me as an outstanding sales person to their business, not just our own. Having our merchant base recognize me as a successful partner would be an ultimate sign of success.

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