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Local professionals offer advice to graduates

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Posted: Friday, May 23, 2014 7:32 am

In honor of those who will be tossing their mortarboards this month, we asked professionals who call Lodi home to share their best advice for success post-high school.

We heard back from winemakers, artists, professional athletes and more who offer their pointers for a life well-lived.

Don’t be afraid to take big chances

Ruben and Adi Larrazolo, executive chef and owner of Alebrijes

Many people are paralyzed by fear of the unknown and the skepticism of the “what if?” and so they fail to accomplish anything significant. Seven years ago my husband Ruben and I decided that opening Alebrijes Mexican Bistro, regardless of what odds were against us, would be the ultimate career accomplishment. We both have a driven mindset and know that education is an incredible asset. Ruben continued his education from Mexico to the United States where he received a master’s degree in business administration and continuously works with conviction to increase his culinary knowledge and abilities.

As a new high school graduate your possibilities are endless, and no matter what your dreams are or how long it will take you to achieve them, you will have success as long as you are resilient, optimistic and always passionate.

If your dream is to become a pilot, a business owner, or anywhere in between, remember that mistakes are inevitable but the key is to learn from them and move on quickly. In our career we have found that nothing is lost as long as you keep hope alive, and when new opportunities come your way, remember you will always miss 100 percent of the chances you don’t take.

Local professionals offer advice to graduates
Patrick Ianni

Keep yourself healthy

Patrick Ianni, professional soccer player with the Chicago Fire

For those of you who aspire to be a professional athlete, I would like to encourage you to give your all in every training session, weight session and video session that you partake in. Because that’s what it takes. There is no time to be stagnant at this level, so get yourself used to that by trying to make yourself one percent better every day. The best way to do that is set small goals that are tangible and keep them at the forefront of your mind by cultivating the discipline of reviewing your goals daily. This is an absolute must because it keeps you focused on where you are going so you don’t drift.

Remember, small goals each day, week or month so you don’t burn yourself out! I have learned that I must prioritize the things that make my body feel good, whether it be going to bed between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. most nights, icing my ankles at the first sign of pain, or eating non packaged food.

Lastly, don’t let anyone tell you anything besides “You Can.” Because you can. Go Flames!

Local professionals offer advice to graduates
Sheri Didrickson

Pay it forward as far as you can

Sheri Didrickson, Sheri’s Sonshine Nutrition Center

In 1979 when I graduated from Lodi High School, I received four local scholarships. They really touched my life and I embraced the fact other people had faith in me. So, because of this experience, it was important to me to give back and bless other students. I have offered a scholarship each year for the past 18 years at Lodi High School.

As a graduate gets ready to enter the next chapter in his or her life, I would suggest they follow their dreams and never, never give up. If you are looking for a career, pick something that fits your passions in your life. I was very blessed that I found my passion when I was young, helping people get and stay healthy. Even if your dream takes a while, keep going forward and one day your dream will become a reality.

Local professionals offer advice to graduates
Amanda Denu

Follow your passion through hard days

Amanda Denu, clinical nurse educator with Lodi Health

It is OK that you do not know what you want to do after high school. The best advice I could give a high school graduate is to go after your dreams and do what you love to do. If you follow your passion the extra work and school will be achievable. If health care is your passion, get familiar with your local hospitals; there is always a need for volunteers.

For the new nurse that is graduating, it is okay that you don’t know everything. I have been a nurse for 10 years and I am still learning new things every day. Also, the new nurse has the most recent knowledge that they can share with the seasoned nurses. Embrace your new lifestyle, but never forget that every nurse was once a new graduate.

Local professionals offer advice to graduates
Sue Tipton

Stay open-minded

Sue Tipton, owner and winemaker at Acquiesce Winery

Follow your inspiration wherever it might lead. In 2012 I opened Lodi’s only all white wine winery after receiving well intended advice from others that my vision would not work in this zinfandel centric region. I could have easily doubted myself and pursued a different path, but followed my dream and focused all my energy on creating the best white wines possible. Acquiesce Winery is now in its third year and I have been selling out of wine, even though I have been making incrementally more wine each year.

Find a mentor who shares your vision and goals and has values you admire. The best way to learn is from someone who has faced challenges and overcome obstacles in your vocation while maintaining their self-respect and dignity while garnering the admiration of colleagues.

Be inquisitive, travel and become a lifelong student. I have lived in 6 different states and in Europe. This opportunity to travel, meet people from other cultures, try new experiences and learn different ways of life has helped me to be open to change, empathetic to others and humbled by the generosity of those that have taught me along the way.

Local professionals offer advice to graduates
Tony Segale

Adapt to change

Tony Segale, Segale Fine Art & Gold Leaf Sign Company and Double Dip Gallery

From working in a retail meat market to a career as a professional commercial artist, fine artist and gallery owner, I’d be lying if I told you I knew what path I would choose. You can be sure that your road ahead may have many paths, also. You may take a wrong turn, but don’t let it keep you from changing directions and moving on. Don’t allow those who say it can’t be done or you can’t do that, block the message your intuitions send. Be willing to accept change and evolve with it. Many strokes are practiced before the brush glides smoothly.

Local professionals offer advice to graduates
Sierra Brucia

Set positive goals

Sierra Brucia, Lodi Police Department

As a father of a high school student I thought of the things I tell my own son so he can be successful in his life. First, honesty and integrity are cornerstones of success. If you can’t be trusted you will have difficulty in all aspects of your life, both personal and professional. Secondly I think the ability to communicate is of the utmost importance. Too often I see people who cannot connect with others because of their lack of communication skills. The ability to connect with others and build relationships is extremely important to reach your goals. Mostly because you won’t be successful without the help of others.

Don’t be afraid to set goals for yourself. If you set goals it is more likely that you reach them. With attention to detail, dedication and hard work I am certain you can achieve your goals. Just don’t forget to have fun along the way. Good luck.



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