Your purpose is what makes you jump out of bed and show up, said Jerilyn Medrea during Heidelberg University's spring Patricia Adams Lecture Series Thursday.
Medrea, a 1977 Heidelberg graduate, is global head of talent engagement for Liquidnet Holding in New York City. The company is a global institutional trading network that represents the values of the "new Wall Street."
Since joining the firm in 2007, Medrea has developed a number of innovative and award-winning approaches to employee engagement, including directing Liquidnet for Good, the company's corporate social engagement program.
Liquidnet for Good established the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, which helps orphans of Rwanda's genocide.
"'Agahozo' means the place where tears are dried and 'Shalom' means to live in peace," Medrea said.
During her address, "Purpose Beyond Profit," Medrea said the meaning of purpose that she learned from her mother and father began her search to find her true purpose.
"My mother found her purpose in family and giving back to the community. My father's purpose was providing a better life and opportunities than he had as a child," Medrea said.
When Medrea graduated from Heidelberg with a bachelor's of science in biology, her father told her, "Now you have the world by the tail, go out and get it."
"I never felt that I couldn't accomplish anything and nothing was out of reach," she said.
In her first job, with paper company Champion International, Medrea said she helped establish health and fitness centers.
"The company believed in people first and purpose before profit," Medrea said.
From there, Medrea took on senior positions with PepsiCo, PricewaterhouseCoopers, EMC/Smarts and Bearing Point.
Medrea earned her master's degree from Michigan State University and is a graduate of Harvard Business School's Program for Management Development.
"My message is this: Life happens and happens quickly," she said. "You are remembered for what you stand for, not the house you live in or your bank account. Go out and find your reason for doing it and be mindful of why you are doing it."
Medrea left the forum with one of her favorite quotes from Minor Myers: "Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good."
In addition to her address, Medrea met with students and faculty throughout the day with several informal and formal sessions, including "Aligning Your Values With Your Career" and "Strategic Human Resources and the Bottom Line People are an Asset, Not a Cost."
President Robert Huntington said this was the largest of the six Patricia Adams Lecture Series presentations so far, with 360 guests, including 170 students.
The series, currently in its third year, was created by The John and Patricia Adams Foundation. Sponsors for the event were Mercy Tiffin Hospital, National Machinery Foundation, Reineke Family Dealerships and Tiffin Aire.