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CEO Success Stories

From the Corner Office interviewer, Jackie Kibler speaks with Phil Hettema about the importance of having a mentor for solid advice, feedback and encouragement can be in creating a path to success when starting a new career.

Enthusiasm, curiosity, and attitude play important behavioral roles when embarking on a new career or business venture. Having a mentor for solid advice, feedback and encouragement can be an important factor in creating a path to success.

Hettema Group is a production and design firm in Pasadena that creates immersive experiences ranging from theme parks to museum exhibits, to theatrical shows. Phil’s background working for Disney and Universal Studios in creative development gave him the experience and excitement required to go on and found a company such as the Hettema group. The Hettema Group, as Phil describes it “creates stories you can touch, worlds people can walk into, and have a complete experience.”

In innovative fields with technologies changing so fast, it is the use of technology to tell a fantastic story in a dynamic way that will last much longer than experiences that only rely on the novelty of the technology.

Hettema works with their clients to take an idea from concept, to design, to production, to final execution. To do this well, you need to know who your audience is, how they are going to respond to it, and what you’re trying to get out of it, whether it’s educational or entertainment based. As a company, Hettema’s projects tend to push the boundaries, using technology to do things nobody’s ever done before. Sometimes in such an innovative field, there can be missteps or misses, but there is much more learning that comes from the mistakes than the successes, and this can be true in all areas of your career.

As a company, Hettema’s projects tend to push the boundaries, using technology to do things nobody’s ever done before. Sometimes in such an innovative field, there can be missteps or misses, but there is much more learning that comes from the mistakes than the successes, and this can be true in all areas of your career.

Some of the best advice for anybody who is starting in their career or starting a new business is to have a mentor that you admire that will give you good solid advice and feedback on your work and the encouragement and belief in you to succeed. When looking at a potential new employee, Phil looks for a sense of curiosity and interest in areas beyond the person’s niche, like the willingness to listen and learn and be of value.

Enthusiasm, attitude, good communication, and teamwork are just as important as talent, capabilities and knowledge. When making a career choice, or even changing career paths, do your homework and be familiar with what a company does, then evaluate how your talent and skillsets could be applied to the desired position. Taking those basic steps will help you to be more effective and successful in the field of your choosing.


episode 4 – interview with
Phil Hettema
CEO
The Hettema Group

From the Corner Office - CEO Success Stories

Produced by Gail Schaper-Gordon, Ph.D.
Interview by Jackie Kibler

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