Anyone who is an entrepreneur (current or aspiring) knows that passion and dedication are essential qualities to building a business. So is the ability to self-motivate. Nonetheless, hearing the stories of others can be incredibly inspiring and serve as a gentle reminder to look up from what you’re doing and stay connected to why you’re doing. Hearing Eric Lochtefeld speak at NYU on Tuesday night was one of those moments.
Eric is the founder and CEO of the University of Dreams, a company that provides professional development opportunities to college and high school students through internship placement and experiential learning. In listening to Eric speak, it’s clear that his mission in life is to encourage others to discover and pursue their dreams.
On his personal journey to building Dream Careers into the powerhouse it is today, Eric has gone from high to low and then back again. Several times, in fact. At various points in Eric’s career, he has worked with music legends such as Gwen Stefani and the Beastie Boys, slept on a warehouse floor, started multiple companies out of little but his own strong will and the ability to inspire others, experienced significant personal pain, and traveled the globe. He spoke to the students ‘” all interns in the program ‘” about the importance of following your dreams, and that as long as you do what you’re good at and what makes you happy, you’ll be successful.
We share Eric’s sentiment, as launching and building Urban Interns was truly our dream. Despite our own highs and lows, not a day goes by when we’re not proud to have chosen the path of the entrepreneur. We also share the view that internships are critical experiences for students and college grads, particularly those who aspire to one day work with or become entrepreneurs. The experience of learning from those who have taken an idea and from there built a business will not only give you a glimmer of what you might have to deal with yourself someday, but it will help you evaluate whether entrepreneurship is really right for you.
Another key point Eric touched on last night ‘” finding a mentor and the importance of maintaining personal relationships in our increasingly connected world. We can relate- there are several moments in our history where personal relationships opened doors that were game changers for us.
If this doesn’t make you want to run out and intern for an entrepreneur, how about this one? 75-percent of the Dream Career’s team started as participants in the Dream Career Program. Entrepreneurs value good people, and as organizations grow, so do the opportunities.
From two entrepreneurs living their dream, a heartfelt thanks Eric, for the inspiring words.