Todd Nelson | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Todd Nelson


LightStream is the national online consumer lending division of SunTrust Bank, the flagship subsidiary of SunTrust Banks Inc., one of the nation’s leading financial services companies.

The Mistake:

The mistake was sacrificing something that was interesting and engaging for geography.

I did my undergrad in Phoenix and decided to go to grad school back East. After graduating, I really wanted to move back to Phoenix; I loved it and wanted to live there. So, I ended up taking a job in Phoenix because it got me to where I wanted to be from a geography standpoint.

The mistake was that it wasn’t something that I was overly passionate about. The job got me back to Phoenix, but it wasn’t something that I was overly enthusiastic about.

People don’t quit companies; they quit bosses.

The Lesson:

Now, when I talk to people about what they like about where they work, it really boils down to a couple of things: 

No. 1, I really like the people I work with. I think that is so important. You spend so much time with them that, if you don’t like the people you work with, you really have to consider whether that’s the right thing to do.

No. 2, I’ve worked for my boss on three separate occasions over the last 20 years. My wife said something, and I think it’s really wise: "People don’t quit companies; they quit bosses. I think that’s true. The folks you work for and their vision for the business are really, really important.

The third piece that I think is really critical is truly believing in the product or service that your company offers.

If you can find that rare combination, that to me is the secret sauce.

Follow LightStream on Twitter at @LS_Loans

Photo courtesy of Todd Nelson

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