Today's spotlight: Grayce Belvedere-Young

  • Updated: February 3, 2008 - 10:38 PM

Age: 42

Title: President of organizational performance -- a new practice of the Prouty Project [a management consulting firm in Eden Prairie]

What do you do? I help our clients address internal organizational challenges so they can successfully achieve their business goals.

Education: Bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from the University of Minnesota and DePaul University in Chicago; master's degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from the University of St. Thomas

Family: Spouse, Daniel Young, partner at Murnane Brandt law firm; dog Sassie, a 65-pound yellow Lab who thinks that she is a lap dog.

Hobbies: Extensive travel plus all the "up north" cabin sports, such as waterskiing, cross-country skiing and boating.

Previous jobs: Most recently, I worked at two divisions of UnitedHealth Group as a senior director of leadership systems and, earlier, as director of marketing and business development for the company. Before that, I was a manager at Thomson West in several positions, including strategy and business development and leadership development. My early career was focused on teaching, and learning and development.

Other than your current position, what would be your dream job? Since being a "wine connoisseur" isn't typically a paid position, my dream job is helping leadership teams that are open to working more effectively together and getting a higher return on their performance goals via business metrics.

How did you choose the line of work you're in? Moving into organizational performance evolved out of my early career as an English teacher into the business world as a learning and development professional. Organizational performance creates a more significant impact in a business when you are able to change underlying systems and processes that help ensure people are successful in their own work.

Name one thing that you would rather do than go to work Monday morning: More adventure travel. On my near-term list is exploring Machu Picchu in Peru, the Galapagos Islands, and the pyramids in Egypt.

What is something about yourself that others would be surprised to know? At age 16 I traveled in Europe with my girlfriend Liz for two months on a Eurail pass. I couldn't wait to see and experience the castles, churches, scenery, people and food of other countries. To this day, people ask how my parents "let" me go at such a young age. I think we are all still surprised, especially when I talk to most 16-year-olds today.

Career advice: Think about your career advancement as a lattice, rather than a ladder. Be willing to move into other functional areas to grow new skills and experiences. If you love what you were doing before, you can always go back, but other opportunities may not present themselves again. And remember to laugh along the way.

Ideal retirement: Helping nonprofits do strategic planning and organizational performance as a volunteer, while also spending summers at the cabin and winters in Arizona, and traveling in the spring and fall. Who knows, maybe I'll finally earn my doctorate in English literature.

AIMEE BLANCHETTE

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