If you want to play the game, just ask.
It’s a philosophy that has served Sarah Richards well. Richards was a PGA golf professional before returning to manage her family’s third-generation business in Mankato. Today she serves as the president, CEO, and board chair for Jones Metal Inc., Advanced Coil Technology and Jones Equity Holdings Inc. Her advice? Whether you’re lining up your shot on the green or in your career, be sure you take it.
Richards shared her entrepreneurial story at the South Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center’s Behind the Success: Lessons Learned From Entrepreneurs event in May. In her interview, Richards emphasized the value of mentoring and coaching. She explained the crucial difference between the two and why both are essential for every professional. Even now, at the height of her career, Richards continues to meet with her mentor. It’s a relationship she’s had since 2008, to which she attributes her confidence and success.
“Everyone, at any level, is coachable if they are open to it, and it is good to seek continual improvement. I think if you think that you’ve got it, that you’ve made it, you probably haven’t,” advised Richards. “There is always more to learn about leadership, people, technology, and all the external forces and factors that impact your success.”
It’s a message which resonated with entrepreneur Marcie Flygare of MF Coaching.
“We think we can do it on our own, but we can only get so far,” Flygare said. “I liked her reiterating the importance of a coach and a mentor, to have someone who’s already paved the way. She shares that inner part of me that knows I need people around me that have done it, even if it’s different than what I’m doing exactly.”
“I think it’s so important for people to network,” said Natasha Weis, publisher of River Valley Woman, North Kato Magazine and Mankato Clinic Thrives. “I think we all work better together the more we know each other.”
Coaching transcends Richards’ love of sports. She enjoys both sides of the coaching equation: receiving coaching advice and coaching others, especially the younger generation that is just joining the work force. Richards feels they want to see investments not only within the company and company culture they work in, but also in themselves as employees.
“If you don’t care about the people you’re working with and the people who are helping you, you’re not going to get very far,” Richards said. “Knowing people’s stories is one of my favorite things. We pride ourselves on learning people’s stories the first day they start and continuing to tell those stories when they hit milestones in their lives and in their work.”
“I liked that she embraced the generations we’re working with right now,” said Gari Jo Jordan, owner of Body Concepts. “I have staff as well, so I appreciate her vision and leadership and how getting to know her team was important to her success.”
“It goes to show if you follow your passions or interests, you can always find a good result,” added Willis Stout of Triple Falls Productions.
Keep playing the game, as Richards puts it, and take your shot at the next Behind the Success event on September 20, 2023.