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SMC hears “Top Ten” rules for life from CEO

Megan Loney | Friday, November 12, 2010

Vince Caponi, CEO of St. Vincent Health in Indianapolis and former trustee of Saint Mary’s College, spoke to Saint Mary’s students in a self-described “true David Letterman fashion” talk called “The Top 10 Rules to Live By.”

The College’s “Cross Currents” program sponsored this talk as part of its ongoing Collegiate Speaker Series.

Using anecdotal framework from his experiences with his daughters, Caponi addressed students with advice on how to approach the business world after graduation. Introducing his “top 10,” He told students that they should consider three things as they go through college and enter the business world.

“In order to be a good student, person, employee, there are three things we all want from our experiences: you want to be in on the things that affect you, you want recognition for a job well done, you want to know what you do makes a difference in people’s lives and have a very clear sight of what role you play,” Caponi said.

He followed with his top 10 rules to live by.

Caponi said his first two rules, humility and gratitude, were underrated traits of real leaders. Going into the business world, he said, someone would take a chance on you because you have no experience, and it is important to demonstrate your thanks for the opportunities you are given.

His third rule was about ethics.

“The ethical part is your handshake; it is your honor,” Caponi said. “It’s something only you have and you are the only one who can make that positive of negative.”

The fourth rule was to have a sense of humor, which is important because you have to learn to laugh at yourself. Caponi said laughter can help relieve tensions in a lot of difficult situations.

Caponi also said that everyone should have a “can-do, positive attitude.” He told students to remain positive, especially when first entering the career world.

“There are people that walk around with a cloud over their heads, but that will get you nowhere,” Caponi said. “When you apply for jobs, there are going to be a lot of people who are going to tell you that you can’t do it, but you have to remember that you are a gift from God and that you have a unique talent.”

Sixth on Caponi’s list was to love where you are. He said that if one does not receive their ideal position in the company, take advantage of the opportunity because situations tend to work out in the end.

As a seventh rule, Caponi said he would advise everyone to try and learn something new everyday. Learning new things, especially details about people, can break down the walls that divide us and allow us to start building relationships. His advice was to learn from outlets that you don’t necessarily agree with.

The eighth rule was to communicate often and clearly. Caponi stressed the importance of communication, both verbal and physical communication.

“In terms of jobs, communication is very important,” Caponi said. “It’s really important that you do it clearly, understandably and often.”

The ninth rule to live by, according to Caponi, was to remember that there are two sides to every story. Keeping this in mind, Caponi said, do not rush to judgment and give people the benefit of the doubt.

He also said that it is important to explore, probe and to find out the truth in these situations.

Caponi’s culminated his top 10 list with a rule that he said was probably the most important of the 10 — volunteer.

He said location isn’t an excuse, because there is always an opportunity to spend time giving of yourself to others.

“My advice to you is do what you do, and love what it is that you do,” Caponi said.