On April 30, the Orr Fellows were privileged to meet with an experienced local CEO, Ann Murtlow of the United Way of Central Indiana. The Fellows showed up at United Way’s office on Meridian Street with empty stomachs and eager minds, and they left having satisfied both. Crackers, chips, cookies, and soft drinks were offered bountifully, but the real nourishment came from Murtlow’s golden nuggets of career building advice.
Murtlow, a graduate of Lehigh University who majored in Chemical Engineering, started her career as a Design Engineer at Bechtel Power Corporation. As a driven and management-oriented individual, Murtlow quickly climbed the career ladder and took on leadership positions in a wide variety of industries, from multi-national energy corporations to locally-focused community foundations. Murtlow became rooted in Indiana during her nine year tenure as CEO of Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) and has sat at the helm of the United Way of Central Indiana since April 2013. Her broad range of managerial expertise, international business exposure, female-in-business perspective and natural leadership abilities have provided her with a vast expanse of wisdom relevant to the lives of Orr Fellows—and she shared it all generously last week.
Here are 10 of Murtlow’s tastiest golden nuggets (of wisdom):
- People don’t leave their jobs, they leave their bosses.
- In a small company, it’s all about team effort. You do what needs to be done.
- The best organizations don’t make the same mistake twice.
- There is no substitute for hard work.
- Always make sure you’re outside your comfort zone. Volunteer for stuff. Your growth is only limited by your willingness to volunteer.
- If you hire good people and you micro-manage them, they will leave you as soon as they can. Hire good people, set high standards, and then let them go get it done.
- Hard decisions are really necessary. But when you become a leader, your first allegiance is to your company.
- If you treat people like they’re trustworthy, they will be trustworthy.
- You’re the sum of your experiences. You take something away from every experience you have.
- People really want to have a meaningful role. They want responsibility. People all over the world are very motivated by that.
Ann Murtlow has spent a good deal of her life working hard to make organizations better from the top down. Like many Orr Fellows, working on long-term solutions to big problems is something that has always enticed her. The Indianapolis community, as well, is one of her passions. As an outsider to Indiana who came here for business, Murtlow reflected on her decision to be here for the long-term: “As the CEO of IPL, a regulated utility company, I had to get involved in the community to be successful. I only planned to be here for maybe 5 years, but then I fell in love with the community.”
Indianapolis is proud to have leaders like Ann Murtlow. Many thanks to her for sharing her time and wisdom with the Orr Fellowship!