I had the opportunity to interview Paul Leblanc, the CEO of Southern New Hampshire University, earlier in 2017. When I asked him his best career advice for Millennials, he said, “Don’t think of it as a career. Think of what’s your next great project, and how you are going to bring value to your company or to the world.” It totally changed the way I thought about the concept of “career.”
Why did you choose your profession?
Almost five years ago, I stumbled into the office of my mentor Brendan P. Keegan. I had previously held a position in marketing, but Brendan really opened my eyes to the impact I could make in both leadership development and project management. He guided me in building my profession around those two core roles, and now I get to do that every day.
What motivates you to give back to your community?
At age 2, my younger brother Craig was diagnosed with Autism. At the time, support systems were not readily available for parents with special needs children. I watched my parents pioneer community service initiatives that supported the greater population of special needs children and adults, and thus service has been part of our family for a long time.
What advice would you give your 22-year-old self?
As she is preparing to be a young leader, I would tell her that a big part of leadership is the energy she brings and the presence she offers. When she brings energy and her full presence to every situation, others can’t help but feel it themselves as well, and want to follow it. And I would also tell her: stick to a personal budget.
What would make New Hampshire more attractive to young professionals?
This coming February, after several years in my hometown of Nashua, I will be a Portsmouth resident. While I will very much miss living in Nashua, I do commend Portsmouth on its ability to attract young professionals. If the state were to follow the Portsmouth model of shops and activity, music, events, and jobs, New Hampshire as a whole would be a more attractive state for young professionals.
What would you like to be doing when you’re 40?
It’s interesting to think about this question because that’s 11 years from now. Eleven years ago, when I was 18 years old, I never could have imagined I’d be where I am now, but I am so grateful for it. So when I am 40, I hope that I am doing things that make me happy with people who have a positive impact on me, and I hope I never stop learning, growing, and positively impacting others.
What was your last major achievement?
Co-founding the Victory Academy that has now trained over 25,000 young leaders at over 40 different institutions.