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Kepcher: Motivation, determination keys to success at work

At the age of 37, Carolyn Kepcher is already nationally recognized as a reality show straight shooter and a former executive vice president – but few know how she came to be so successful so quickly.

“To be successful is objective; the key to success is balance,” Kepcher said Tuesday morning in a roundtable discussion that included 20 USF students. “Success is waking up, looking in the mirror and enjoying where you are in life.”

The discussion was followed by a luncheon attended by 300 various community leaders and business professionals at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tampa.

During the roundtable discussion, Kepcher answered each students’ questions thoroughly and offered words of encouragement and examples of leadership. She also discussed how she became the business-savvy woman she is today.

Kepcher got her start at the age of 26 as the director of marketing at a golf course in New York. There she was given an opportunity and successfully pitched the sale of the property to real estate mogul Donald Trump.

After several months of mismanagement at the golf course, Trump came to Kepcher and asked her whom she thought would be a good manager. Kepcher replied, “Me.”

She then discussed the qualities a good manager should have.

“A leader needs to inspire and motivate,” Kepcher said. “In order to do this, you must be inspired and motivated. A meeting on Fifth Avenue may not leave you so inspired, but even so, you must go back to your team and inspire them.”

Kepcher revealed the qualities she looks for in prospective employees.

“Interviews are very hard,” she said. “I look at resumes carefully and throw out most of them. I look at jobs and how many you’ve had, where you are located and what positions you’ve held to make sure you have direction in your life.

“When I bring them in, I ask about personal philosophies and why they left their previous job. If they speak positively, they have a chance. If they bash their old job, they don’t get hired. I don’t want them going to their next job and bashing me.”

Many of the students found Kepcher to be very helpful, including freshman psychology student and scholarship recipient Liz Reichwald.

“It’s good to see a woman with a family who can succeed,” Reichwald said. “It’s nice for a woman to see and is a goal to set for myself.”

Reichwald received the first East Tampa Bank of America scholarship, which is designed to help students who are first-generation college students from that area.

Kepcher shared how she balances being a mom, wife and businesswoman with crowd of 300.

She holds family as her No. 1 priority and maintains a good support system in order to sustain her multiple roles, something she says many women do.

Following the luncheon, Kepcher held a book signing for her New York Times’ bestseller Carolyn 101.

The luncheon was a fundraiser for the department of Women in Leadership and Philanthropy, which sponsored the event. Gayle Sierens of WFLA was the emcee for the event, which was part of the 50-year celebration for USF.