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Major Insight Episode 17 How Business Marketing and Sustainability Co-exist

Connor Moreton

Major Insight Podcast          More Miami Podcasts 

Connor Moreton wants to blur the lines between business and sustainability. As a double Corporate Sustainability and Marketing major, his work explores the middle ground between economic, social, and ecological areas where viable new models can have both profitable and positive worldly effects.

On this episode, Connor also talks about using sales as a powerful tool to identify problems and find solutions, following through on long-term goals, and about reaping the rewards of investing in yourself.

Featured Majors:

Corporate Sustainability, Marketing

Featured Organizations & Internships:

Pi Sigma Epsilon - Gamma Gamma

Diversity Affairs Council

Miami University Sales Competition

Individualized Studies (Western Program)

Advancing Women In Entrepreneurship

The Living Room (Internship)

Faculty Leadership Community (Internship)

Career Clusters:

Management, Sales and Consulting

Full Episode Also Available on YouTube

Music: “Only Knows” by Broke For Free

Read the transcript

James Loy: Major Insight is a production of Miami University. This is where we showcase successful students, their promising new research and its relevance in our world.

James Loy: Connor Moreton wants to blur the lines between business and sustainability. As a double Corporate Sustainability and Marketing major in Miami’s Western Program, his work explores the middle ground between economic, social, and ecological practices where viable new models can be both profitable and beneficial to everyone involved. 

Connor is also highly active within numerous campus and community organizations, where he leads student projects for major companies such as Proctor & Gamble, Deloitte, American Eagle, and more.

 And on this episode, he also talks about using sales and marketing as tools to identify problems and find solutions, how to follow through on long-term goals, and about reaping the rewards of investing in yourself.

Peter Everett: Hi Connor, welcome to the podcast. How are you?

Connor Moreton: I'm thriving.

Peter Everett: Awesome. Tell me a little bit about that. What's thriving right now in your life?

Connor Moreton: I don't know, I just feel like I'm in a really good spot. We're starting off my second semester of my third year here at Miami.

Peter Everett: Wow.

Connor Moreton: And yeah, classes are going great. Extracurriculars are going great. I just like to say thriving because usually when people are like, how are you doing? It's like, I think good is a little bit too typical. It's too basic.

Peter Everett: Sure.

Connor Moreton: So I'm thriving. I'm doing much better than good. Yeah.

Peter Everett: That's awesome. Oh man. So there's so much I want to talk to you about, but first I want to hit your fraternity you're involved in.

Connor Moreton: Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Everett: So you told me that you are the VP of marketing in that fraternity, what does that look like? What are your responsibilities?

Connor Moreton: Yeah, totally. So my professional business fraternity is called PSE. It stands for Pi Sigma Epsilon.

Peter Everett: Yeah.

Connor Moreton: And it's a national fraternity. It's actually the largest coed marketing sales and management fraternity in the nation. And my role as VP of marketing is I bring in all of the professional opportunities to the chapter. So we do projects for clients, we operate as a small consulting firm. So like I said earlier, we are working with really large companies like Proctor & Gamble, and Deloitte, and Express, American Eagle, Gartner, these really big companies that our members want to work for.

Connor Moreton: Our goal is to provide impact for them. So they'll come to us with a specific problem like we want to better recruit people on campus, or we want SEO done for our website, or we want an entire brand refreshed. We want to find out how we can best target these types of consumers. And so what our members do is, because we're college students, we operate on the forefront of innovation. We think creatively and outside the box, so that we're able to provide them with that unique insight and those unique implementations and recommendations. They really like that.

Connor Moreton: And all the while they get to recruit from our students and see them apply the skills that they're learning in the classroom and from our own professional development opportunities. And then any money that we get from those client projects get reinvested back into our chapter through a variety of different professional development opportunities. We also compete regionally and nationally, are actually going to our national convention in Norfolk, Virginia here in, I think we're in T minus a month now.

Peter Everett: Oh, wow.

Connor Moreton: And so there's this really big award that we compete for called the Top Gold Chapter. And we have won that, I believe 16 times in the past 22 years. So we are the-

Peter Everett: You are top tier.

Connor Moreton: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We've been winning. And our chapter name is Gamma Gamma. So Gamma Gamma is the one that everyone's trying to beat. And I'm really happy because this year I actually made it to the final two for an individual awards, for a PSE top salesperson. So I'm trying to be the top salesperson in the nation, and I have to prepare this-

Peter Everett: Well, you've sold me on the fraternity.

Connor Moreton: Well thank you. Thank you. I mean, that's my job.

Peter Everett: If I was a business major, I'd be like, "I want to go do that."

Connor Moreton: You could, you could. I love to hear it. So I had to do this whole written entry, type this thing out. This entire past year I was serving as director of sales for the chapter before I came into VP of marketing and my job was to develop the sales talent on campus and within the chapter. So we do things like the Miami University Sales Competition, which had 80 plus participants. I planned that with my team. And I hold workshops, work with even more clients.

Connor Moreton: The event made close to $9,000 that got to be reinvested back into the chapter, just a bunch of businessy things. And now I get to go to present all of my hard work in a... I think it's a 10 minute pitch. I only have 10 minutes to talk about a year's worth of work, which is not enough time.

Peter Everett: Wow. All right. How do you go about consolidating that? What's your process like?

Connor Moreton: Oh my gosh. Well they give us this rubric and we have to sit down and we break it down into pieces. And with any good sales pitch, you only have enough time to say what you absolutely have to say. Yeah. So it's like every single word you say counts.

Peter Everett: People have heard about the 30-second elevator pitch. So that kind of mindset?

Connor Moreton: Oh yeah. So if you've seen Shark Tank, that's all sales, that is sales pitch. What's really unique about it, that a lot of people don't realize, is that when you are pitching something, it's never, you're pitching it through your lens or your perspective. You have to pitch it in your audience's lens. So when I am up there trying to tell them why I believe I'm the top salesperson, it's not why I believe I am. It's almost as if I'm convincing them to see me that way, if that makes sense.

Peter Everett: Yeah.

Connor Moreton: They always call it pitching benefits and not features. So I always use the analogy, if you have a glass of water, I'm not going to sit here and say, "Oh, this is a stainless steel cup and it's super nice and it's this much full of water." No, I'm going to say, "You're dehydrated and I have water and if you drink this, you're going to be hydrated." That's the benefit. So that's how you do it with everything you do when you're doing a sales pitch. And that's what I try to train the rest of my chapter and the rest of the people at Miami. And it's tough because Miami doesn't even have a sales program.

Peter Everett: Really?

Connor Moreton: We just have one class. Yeah. So we have this top tier business school and we're top tier in so many different ways, like marketing and accounting and finance and supply chain management. Our leadership and management program is amazing, but only one sales class. And we have all this sales talent on campus and it's just untapped. And all these recruiters are showing up to career fair and they want salespeople. So what I set out to do this past year was connect this top sales talent with those recruiters.

Peter Everett: Through your fraternity?

Connor Moreton: Through my fraternity. Yeah.

Peter Everett: So your fraternity is almost functioning as a department that should exist in the university.

Connor Moreton: Right, right. And now we're even at the point to where we were ideating the best ways to increase sales education on campus, and we think that we're going to start rolling out some classes, because it's possible for you to make your own class. I know that for this Western program that I'm in, you can build your own classes and you can build your own syllabus. So as long as you find faculty to support you and to teach the class, then you can do it.

Peter Everett: And you have professors, I'm assuming that would totally line up to-

Connor Moreton: Oh, most definitely.

Peter Everett: That would totally line up to teach sales.

Connor Moreton: Yeah.

Peter Everett: That'd be fun. I mean that would just be a fun class to take. Obviously that can apply to anything, not even just business.

Connor Moreton: Right. And a majority of people graduating from Miami, or any college for that matter, you need sales skills wherever you're going to go. You need people facing skills. Sales isn't like the grimy sales guy who sells cars type of deal. That stereotype or stigma. It's identifying a problem and helping people go from where they are now to where they want to be. So it's a lot of empathy. And the people really don't realize that.

Peter Everett: Absolutely. People on the podcast know now, a lot of my student research centers around empathy. And that's Westboro Baptist Church stuff that I was telling you about.

Connor Moreton: Yeah, yeah.

Peter Everett: It's all about, okay, if we can learn how to empathize with people on that extreme, we can learn how to empathize with anybody.

Connor Moreton: Right, right.

Peter Everett: And then also with the sales stuff, when you can empathize with someone, understand them, then you know how to sell to them.

Connor Moreton: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Peter Everett: That's awesome. Okay. I guess, what would be your favorite project that you'd been involved in with the fraternity? Like, "Oh, what was my favorite client contract?" Or anything you can share. Obviously I'm sure there's some stuff that's probably confidential or-

Connor Moreton: Yeah. Yeah. I think probably my favorite project... I always liked the projects where we can get really close with the clients. And I think my favorite project was actually the Miami University Sales Competition because I was leading that as director of sales. And I had a really close knit team. I had four people on my team and they were incredible. It was an eight or nine month project of us just cold calling, emailing, contacting clients, trying to get them to sponsor. Making sure they were happy with what they were getting, making sure that we were, like I said, fulfilling all of their needs as salespeople.

Connor Moreton: And one client in particular, I actually connected with the year prior and they're called Swank Motion Pictures, and they worked with Miami a lot because I believe they told me 50% of their C-suite are Miami alum. Their founder and all of their founder's children went to Miami and everything. They all graduated from here. So they always love to come back to Oxford and meet up with the organizations and whatnot.

Connor Moreton: But yeah, we were able to connect with them. And we have this really unique thing for our chapter called post career fair, where after career fair, we all go up to a local venue space up town, like the woods, and we can have a more casual interaction with some of the recruiters. And we're able to sit down. I was talking about, to one of the recruiters, how she has a daughter who goes to NKU and we were talking about that, and then she was able to give me advice, the same advice that she gave to her daughter and create that relationship. And then it ended up turning into, now this year, I keep in touch with them all the time and let them know what's the best way to get on campus to recruit.

Connor Moreton: They are now such a huge support of the chapter. I get to see them at every single one of their events. And now they're even talking about giving me a full time job. And I'm a junior, which is absolutely ridiculous because-

Peter Everett: And that all stemmed from that one conversation in the woods of all places?

Connor Moreton: Right, right. So super long time ago. So I would say that that was my favorite project, just because even after the project ended-

Peter Everett: Yeah, the relationship continued.

Connor Moreton: The relationship continued. Yeah. And I think a lot of people have that assumption that all business majors are obsessed with LinkedIn. I fit that assumption big time. I'm obsessed with LinkedIn and that's how I keep in touch with all of them. So my LinkedIn messenger is just filled with people from Swank Motion Pictures, and me keeping up to date with them and them talking about advice for their kids in college and me asking for advice about what to say in the next interview. And it has benefited me so much and I know that those relationships are going to carry on with me even after I graduate no matter where I go to work. So that has to be my favorite project. Yeah.

Peter Everett: Oh, that's awesome.

Connor Moreton: Yeah. Thank you.

Peter Everett: You mentioned you were involved in, I think, several eight month long projects, these very long projects. How would you maybe give advice to upcoming students, or how would you show people how can you keep your commitment level up that entire time? How can you stay motivated? How can you really follow through on things? Because I know that that's actually pretty challenging to stay, especially when you're doing cold calls. When it's getting like the project's starting to lag in the middle and you're like, "Oh my gosh, how am I going to get through this?" How did you do it?

Connor Moreton: Yeah. I think in any sales interview you go into they always ask you a question about perseverance because like you said, it gets taxing and it gets tedious. So you have to have that perseverance. You have to maintain that motivation. So something that I really enjoy doing is sales management. And the very first thing I do when putting together teams is talk about motivations and attitudes. Because you have to talk about it. So I guess my advice for incoming students focusing on how you can stay committed to longterm projects is you need to identify your purpose, why you're doing it, your motivation. And then you need to identify two different outcomes. One outcome is, "What happens if I stick with this? What is the reward?" And not just the reward. "I'm going to get an A on something," or, "The client's going to be happy." No, the reward is that client's going to be happy, they're going to maintain contact with you, potentially give you a job afterwards and you're going to get a new friend. That is the reward you need to be focusing on.

Connor Moreton: Or the opposite is, "What if I don't stick with this? What's the worst case scenario?" And in that case it's, "I can allocate my time to something else."

Peter Everett: Sure.

Connor Moreton: And that time could go towards a variety of different things. So if you are in a place where you're acknowledging the best case, the worst case and the most likely case scenarios, then you're going to be able to combine that with your motivations and your overall attitude. Like, "Is this even something that I enjoy?" And then whenever you're at a time where you want to procrastinate or you're at a time where you're low in self morale and you're low and you're thinking, "I really don't want to go forward with this anymore, I don't want to work on this. I'm tired. I want to focus on something else." You can rethink back to when you first started that project and you can focus on those first conversations you were having with yourselves about those motivations and remember, "No, I need to stick with this because I want that best case scenario and I'm going to keep working towards it."

Peter Everett: I do do something somewhat similar. I'll write down goals in a notebook. I have them written it down so it's like, "Oh," because I'm not going to remember what I thought four months ago, but I'll write them down because I do want to know like, "Oh, that's what I was thinking back then. Is that still true?" That's the other thing. So I think things can change. It shows a really cool quality in you, too, that you can just push through all those things. Yeah, I couldn't do it because business, for me, it just didn't click, but that's amazing.

Connor Moreton: You got to celebrate all the little milestones along the way, too. I think that was my introspective moment from this past year is that I was so focused on the end goal that I wasn't really celebrating the little mini tasks along the way. And I think that that's equally important. So setting those longterm goals, and the dream vision situation, but also realizing, "Okay, I just finished lap one and I need to celebrate before I start lap two," type deal.

Peter Everett: That's awesome. I think that's the perfect mindset to have, especially when you're first starting out college too, because I think getting those habits down early really helps later on. Because I do know some people now where it's like, "Oh yeah, you didn't do any of that and now you're really trying to figure it out junior year, senior year," and it's almost too late then. Or at least too late to fully take advantage of that college experience, which I can tell I think you've, you've definitely done.

Connor Moreton: I'm trying my best.

Peter Everett: Oh, man. I also want to ask you about, I notice you told me in your bio that you were the chief of staff at the Diversity Affairs Council.

Connor Moreton: Yes. Yeah.

Peter Everett: I don't know what the Diversity Affairs Council is. I'm curious, what does that position entail and what is that organization?

Connor Moreton: Right, so it's actually a perfect segue to what we were just talking about. That's my speech that I give to my board. But the Diversity Affairs Council is an umbrella organization. We're affiliated with Miami, so similar to the Residence Hall Association, RHA, and ASG, which is Associated Student Government. The trifecta to that is DAC, the Diversity Affairs Council, and like I said, we operate as an umbrella organization for all intercultural diversity and inclusion-based organizations on campus. We act as a resource in a liaison to them and administration. We allow them to connect with one another, to work together to uplift this attitude of diversity and inclusion on campus.

Connor Moreton: My specific role on that board, which the Diversity Affairs Council is an entirely elected board. I think we have a board of 10, I believe. I closely work with each member on the board to keep them accountable because as chief of staff, my role is to make sure that each person is meeting their own individual goals as well as we are all working together collaboratively as a board for our overall goal, our overarching goal for that year, while holding people accountable. Sometimes having to be that bad guy that has to like gavel and say-

Peter Everett: So you're the boss.

Connor Moreton: I'm just the... We still have a president. The president is still above me per se, but me and the president, we actually were housemates which works out really well.

Peter Everett: Oh wow. That's awesome.

Connor Moreton: And we work really close together to, like I said, reach those goals. So the president sets the goals and the attitude and the environment, and my job is to stabilize everything. So I'm just the accountability guy. Yeah.

Peter Everett: Oh, that's awesome. Everyone needs that every now and then. They might not like it in the moment, but I think they look back and thank people that do that. Or even true friends I think will tell you, "Hey, you're not doing what you need to be doing," or, "You told me you want to do this." That's how I am with my good friends too. And they don't always like me. But it's like, man.

Connor Moreton: But it ties back to that thing that we were talking about earlier with, I call it the group accountability. So when I sit down with my board, something that I do with all of my teams that I'm trying to lead is at the very beginning, at the very formation of our board, we talked about what are our goals? And what is going to be the reward if we hit them? And what's going to be the consequence if we don't? And we all agreed on it together. So I'm not even necessarily the person who's going forth with this punishment per se, or this consequence, because no, it's what we agreed on together. I'm just reminding people, "Hey, this is what's going to happen if we don't push through and we don't just get this done, we don't do this."

Peter Everett: And because there was that agreement beforehand, it has an added weight where it's like, it's not even coming from you really.

Connor Moreton: Right.

Peter Everett: You're just the vehicle at that point. Which is awesome.

Connor Moreton: And we're both working together to go towards that best case scenario. It's not like I'm pulling in an opposite direction at that point.

Peter Everett: Yeah. Wow. That's awesome. And I guess the big thing on top of all this is your student research, right?

Connor Moreton: Yes.

Peter Everett: Okay. And I was just thinking, at least in the political discourse now, business and sustainability are on polar opposite ends.

Connor Moreton: Oh, right, right.

Peter Everett: They don't connect at all. No one wants to talk about those together. They don't think they can be compatible. How do you make those compatible in your research? Or how did you bring them together?

Connor Moreton: Right. So what a lot of people don't necessarily know unless they've taken a sustainability course, is that there is a triad of sustainability. So you have three different points that make a perfectly sustainable solution. Most people only think about the ecological point of the triangle, which is the tree hugger. Let's save the animals, save the planet, yada, yada, yada. But then there are also two other equally important points. There's the economic and social sides of sustainability.

Connor Moreton: So the example I always like to give is going vegan, right? So obviously I would say 50 years ago, going vegan was very ecologically sustainable because obviously you don't have to kill animals to eat the food and it's just plants. But at that point, it wasn't very socially sustainable because it wasn't integrated into the culture, at least not in the United States. And it wasn't very economically sustainable at all. It was more expensive to get some of these meat alternatives, so that isn't very sustainable.

Connor Moreton: But now that, for example, the thing that I'm honestly obsessed with is that new Impossible Burger at Burger King. So now you-

Peter Everett: Is it good?

Connor Moreton: Oh my gosh, it's so good. It is so good.

Peter Everett: Really?

Connor Moreton: Yeah, I like it a lot. Because I cut out red meat for the purpose of sustainability.

Peter Everett: Oh, sure.

Connor Moreton: That could be a conversation for another day. That is a whole another story.

Peter Everett: No, that's part of your personal student journey. We can talk about it. That's awesome.

Connor Moreton: Right. But yeah, but this Impossible Burger, now it hits all three points because it tastes like meat so it fits that social and cultural aspect of, "We want it to taste like meat," and it's not too much more expensive than a normal burger. And it's vegan, so it's ecologically sustainable. So it fits all three points.

Connor Moreton: But anyway, my tangent, the whole purpose of this is that if we are able to find that perfect middle ground between economic, social, and ecological, then sustainability in business won't be a Venn diagram anymore. It'll just be a circle. Everything will interact. And that's the goal. And that's what my goal is. So with all my student research that I do, and I focus on green products, is I do research to convince businesses that, "Hey, your consumers want green products. They're willing to pay more for it."

Peter Everett: Oh, wow.

Connor Moreton: "And so if they're willing to pay more for it then it means that you're going to make more money and be able to save the planet at the same time. So why would you not do it?" So at that point there isn't going to be a lot of discourse. So that's so cool.

Peter Everett: And you just bridged the political divide, all at the same time.

Connor Moreton: Right. And then bada bing.

Peter Everett: It's awesome. So what would be an example product that you could give, just to ground this a little bit? Like, okay, what's a product that you would sell to a company? Like, "This is sustainable and it would pay more money." What would it be?

Connor Moreton: Right. I'm trying to think of... Well there's actually a product that I use right now and I'm obsessed with it. It's through Seventh Generation. They're actually, I think, the number one brand for sustainable home care goods, consumer package goods. Yeah. And they make everything from feminine care products to dishwasher detergent to laundry detergent to household cleaners to paper towels and wipes and things like that. And something that I've been using is they have a concentrated laundry detergent. So instead of like the big lug of Tide that you have to carry around, it's actually the small, probably half liter bottle that does the same amount of laundry loads.

Peter Everett: And you're just putting a dollop or a little tiny bit?

Connor Moreton: Exactly. And it has an automatic general on it that just stops it so that you know exactly how much to put in per load of laundry. And I'm obsessed with it. It reduces the amount of water needed drastically. It's entirely plant-based. So they don't have any harmful chemicals. And I guess a personal note, if you're like me, I have sensitive skin. But with this, because it's entirely plant-based, it's really nice. So for people like me, for newborns or elderly people, it works really, really well.

Connor Moreton: And at that point, yes it's a little bit more expensive but it's totally worth it for the convenience sake, and just the health side of things. It's starting to balance out that decision making. Like, "Hey, it's worth a few extra bucks because of these other attributes that are for it." So I started buying it, but there are some people out there that are cynics still that we call... I forget what the name is for that, but they won't even buy anything sustainable just because they automatically assume that sustainable is less effective, and that's not the case anymore.

Peter Everett: I do know that it did used to be the case, 20, 30 years ago.

Connor Moreton: Yeah, yeah.

Peter Everett: And so my dad is like that. He won't-

Connor Moreton: Right.

Peter Everett: He's like, "I miss the blocks and the old stuff." That's how my dad is. Where it would just pound your clothes into dust, you know? But they were clean.

Connor Moreton: Yeah. And I think it is definitely a generational thing. Millennials and Gen Zs are now having the largest buyer power in the overall US market and honestly, the overall world market. And our ideologies, our mindsets towards sustainability are more positive than the Boomers and the other generations older than us. So that's what the entire innovation and business market is headed towards. Something more sustainable.

Connor Moreton: So I'm excited to see it go there, not just to save the planet, but it's where my job is headed. So the job growth rate is amazing. And let's hope I can get some sort of [crosstalk 00:23:36] business job.

Peter Everett: So what's your dream job?

Connor Moreton: Oh my gosh.

Peter Everett: Tell me about this. I know you said you set goals and dreams. What is this dream job?

Connor Moreton: Right? I know, and I'm so hypocritical because it's nothing set stone, but I just have a lot of interests. I think eventually I would love to be something called a CSO, which is a Chief Sustainability Officer. I would really love to go up into the C suite and be in charge of making sure that our overall business practices are sustainable for a large company. But that's just one route and I can acknowledge that nothing is linear in life at all, so everybody needs to approach things in an adaptable, flexible way.

Connor Moreton: So I have two backup plans I guess, but not even backup plans. I love sales too, so I should go out and do sales and I love project management. Probably more so than even the sustainability aspects. I like managing teams and helping people work together to reach their goals and to meet a task and to complete a project. That's something that I really enjoy. So what I always said is I need to fit three parts in order to find my dream careers. I need to be working with people, I need to be fixing things and I need to have an effect on a cause that I care about. And as long as I'm doing those three things, I'm going to be happy wherever I'm at.

Peter Everett: That's awesome. So it's not even just tied to a specific job, it's just a general ... just like the sustainability stuff would.

Connor Moreton: Exactly. Yeah.

Peter Everett: Three pronged. Okay. It's a circle.

Connor Moreton: Everything comes in three. Yeah.

Peter Everett: Well, that's a nice package for people to be getting. I know in sales that the thing came in threes.

Connor Moreton: Yeah, they say to tell it to them, tell it to them again and then make sure they remember what you just said. So that's the three.

Peter Everett: Oh, that's awesome. I'm noticing a theme of just mentorship. I'm curious who mentored you, like especially if there's any Miami professors out there. What kind of mentorship have you received here?

Connor Moreton: I have two professors here in particular that they're my first two mentors here. I had them both my first semester of freshman year. When I was in the first year, integrated core, in FSB, in Farmer School of Business.

Peter Everett: The infamous integrated core.

Connor Moreton: Right, right. And their names were Beth Troy and Professor who is now Dr. Hulshult. She got her doctorate this past summer. And they were my entrepreneurship 103 professor and business communication, which is business 102 professor. And I first met them in the core, like I said. And I was actually so scared to go to office hours. And so I didn't even get to know them really until after I was out of their classes, because then I started going after the class was over, and connecting with them and they exposed me to so many opportunities. It was incredible. Beth Troy for example, she's incredible. At the time she was the only female entrepreneurship professor in the entire department.

Peter Everett: Oh, wow.

Connor Moreton: So she sat down me and my really good friend Lily Thaler and said, "We need to change this environment of male dominance in the entrepreneurship department." So we worked together with Beth and we founded an organization called Advancing Women In Entrepreneurship. And within our first semester it grew to 200 people and we held a seminar that had over 575 attendees that came to watch and listen to what it's like to be a woman in the business world, and specifically starting their own business. And we had incredible people like Wendy Lee. We had Summer Crenshaw there who founded Tilr, which is an app that helps connect people with contractual jobs.

Connor Moreton: It was just amazing to see the amount of support, not only in the organization, but from the Oxford community and the professor community, and that all stemmed from a relationship that I built my first semester here at Miami. And it's just funny to think that someone so close, like how close I am with Beth Troy now, is... I was terrified to go to their office hours and I regret that so much. I should've just went to their office hours and just had that conversation and made that connection earlier. But-

Peter Everett: Well, what matters is you did it.

Connor Moreton: Right. Eventually. Eventually. Yeah.

Peter Everett: So any upcoming students, go to office hours. Don't be scared, right?

Connor Moreton: Yes, yes. Go to office hours. Just the first week. Just go up. And get to class early and introduce yourself to your professor and talk about something other than school.

Peter Everett: Yes.

Connor Moreton: And it's totally normal. When I was in high school, it would be weird if you talked to one of your high school teachers about something that wasn't school.

Peter Everett: Yeah, or you see them in the grocery store and you avert your eyes and walk away.

Connor Moreton: Yeah, it's just weird. But when you're in college you have to realize that you're an adult now. You're both adults and you can sit there and have a conversation. So just go in there and just tell them about how your day was. Tell them about your career goals and how your intramural soccer game went last week. Just have a conversation with them, because they're people and they care about you, and they want to learn about you, and they care about your academic journey, and they want to help you in any way, shape or form that they can. You just have to allow them to do that.

Connor Moreton: So as soon as I got over that fear and allowed that to happen, Beth Troy was actually the person who landed me my first internship. Or not first, second internship. So this past summer I was working in Cincinnati at a qualitative market research firm called The Living Room. And she was able to land me that because she had connections there. She just walked up to the CEO of the company and said, "This is Connor. He's amazing. These are his skills. You trust me and I trust him, therefore you should trust him and you should hire him." And they hired me on the spot.

Peter Everett: Wow.

Connor Moreton: And that was all because I created that relationship with her.

Peter Everett: That's... Wow.

Connor Moreton: Yeah, it was amazing. It was amazing. And she helps me out all the time like that. I sit down and she gives me amazing life advice. She was actually the person who helped me figure out those three key points that determine what career I want to go into, those working with people, fixing things and having an effect on the cause. Yeah. And it's incredible. And then the other professor that I really connected with, Dr. Hulshult, she actually doesn't teach at the main campus anymore. She teaches down at the Hamilton campus now. But she identified that I really like motivating people and working with teams. So she allowed me to work as a on-campus intern for this FLC, which is the Faculty Leadership Community.

Connor Moreton: Which, really cool, I'm not sure if this is at every college but at Miami, faculty, if they want to supplement the department that they're a part of with additional coursework, or they want to practice and hone in their teaching skills they can create this community with other faculty and professors and do research on it. So we were specifically researching something called Agile, which is-

Peter Everett: Is that an acronym?

Connor Moreton: No, shockingly. I thought it was an acronym for the longest time, but it's just called Agile. And it's basically a toolbox of skills and techniques and applications that you can use to better run teams. So all of these professors wanted to learn it so that in their team-based classes they can teach their students Agile, and see the rewards and the higher efficiency and effectiveness of the students' coursework after they apply these these tools from this toolbox. And Dr. Hulshult saw that that would be something that I was interested in. So I was actually in that FLC as a student representative and I got to work with faculty, connect with even more faculty. Now they're all my mentors and we had about 15 to 20 people in there sometimes. Plus you got free food, which was really nice.

Connor Moreton: So now I know all of them and I can't even walk down Spring Street without waving to at least three professors that I know, just because I got connected through so many other professors. So I guess that's another piece of advice for incoming students is, let your professors introduce you to new people. Just let people in general introduce you to new people, or even initiate it. Say, "Hey, do you know anybody who would be interested in talking to me about this?"

Peter Everett: They'll know somebody.

Connor Moreton: Because although I've only been here for three years now, some of these professors have been here for 10, 15, 20. They've met way more people than I have. So they're going to be able to connect you with the right people.

Peter Everett: Yeah, no, I love doing that. I actually have a coffee meeting with a professor in a few hours.

Connor Moreton: That's fine.

Peter Everett: I love doing that stuff.

Connor Moreton: That's great. It's great.

Peter Everett: It is, it is. And it's amazing how interested they are in you personally. Like you said, it actually surprised me at first because I was like, "Oh, we're just going to talk about class." No, we didn't just talk about class. Actually, we usually don't talk about class.

Connor Moreton: Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Everett: Because class is usually going pretty well. We have other stuff to talk about, so that's usually-

Connor Moreton: Right, right. If class wasn't going well you wouldn't be getting coffee with them.

Peter Everett: Yeah, you'd be scared to show up.

Connor Moreton: Right.

Peter Everett: So yeah, definitely do that. And I guess I'm curious, any maybe final words of advice? Maybe a final lesson you've learned for any of our students who are coming up here.

Connor Moreton: Yeah, I think my final word of advice would be to be introspective with everything that you do.

Peter Everett: Yeah. That's great.

Connor Moreton: So a lot of advice that you will get from people is they say, "Go out and try new things. Go and join a bunch of organizations. Go out and do this, do that, do this." But I almost recommend not necessarily doing that, because sometimes you spread yourself too thin and instead of doing that, really be introspective, find out what your passions are. And I'm not talking about, "I'm passionate about mechanical engineering." No. Are you passionate about fixing things? Are you a kinetic learner? Are you passionate about helping people? Are you passionate about learning about people, learning about cultures?

Connor Moreton: And realizing that and then do your research. Find out different avenues, different people, different organizations, departments, ways for you to get involved on campus and even outside of campus and inside the community. Then just choose some of those and really invest yourself, because once you invest yourself, that's when you're going to see the reward from things. And I think that's a mistake that a lot of incoming students make and it's a mistake I made.

Peter Everett: They're just superficially involved in tons of things.

Connor Moreton: Exactly.

Peter Everett: But they're not deep diving in anything.

Connor Moreton: Exactly. And then what happens is you get to your sophomore year and you have to awkwardly tell people to take you off the email list, because now you're starting to dive into things, when really if you would've started that introspection earlier than I would have been able to be even more ahead of the game and really, really focus on what I want to focus on, and invest myself in the people and the organizations who reciprocate that investment back to me. So that's my key advice for anybody coming here is to be introspective.

Peter Everett: That's some awesome key advice right there. I made that mistake freshman year-

Connor Moreton: Yeah, I think everybody does.

Peter Everett: ... so I identified with that personally.

Connor Moreton: Yeah.

Peter Everett: Thank you for talking. Oh, man. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Connor Moreton: No, thank you.

Peter Everett: It was an absolute pleasure.

Connor Moreton: Oh, I had a great time.

Peter Everett: Awesome.

Connor Moreton: This is great.

James Loy: Connor Moreton is currently a Junior at Miami University, where he studies Corporate Sustainability and Marketing as part of Miami’s Western Program

If you've enjoyed this episode of Major Insight, please share with a friend, with students, or with anyone who hopes to make a powerful impact on their world. You can find more episodes right now on Apple Podcasts and wherever podcasts are found.

SHOW NOTES:

Featured Majors: 

Corporate Sustainability, Marketing

Featured Organizations & Internships:

Pi Sigma Epsilon - Gamma Gamma

Diversity Affairs Council

Miami University Sales Competition

Individualized Studies (Western Program)

Advancing Women In Entrepreneurship

The Living Room (Internship)

Faculty Leadership Community (Internship)

Career Clusters:

Management, Sales and Consulting

Major Insight

 

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Major Insight is a production of Miami University. This is where we showcase our students and how they transform academic subjects into lifelong passions. Join us wherever you listen to your podcasts and discover these students journeys.

Host Peter Everett

Peter Everett

The Major Insight Podcast is hosted by Peter Everett. Everett, a double-major in History and Comparative Religion, hopes to leverage empathetic skills gained through his own student research to highlight the academic and personal journeys of fellow Miami students.

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