The Bartels Fellowship was established at the University of New Haven through the generosity of the Bartels family to bring individuals of national stature and prominence to the University of New Haven campus. Every fall and spring since the fellowship’s establishment in 1989, an individual selected for their achievement in the field of business or public service comes to campus, where they may visit classes, meet with students, faculty, and staff, and deliver a lecture to the entire university community. Bruce Bednarski ’80 B.S. in Business Administration, ’82 M.B.A. was selected as the Spring 2011 Bartels Fellow.
Bruce Bednarski is currently the senior vice-president of business development for XipLink, a leader in the telecommunications industry. On Monday, April 11, Bednarski came to campus, where he presented a lecture entitled “From the Soccer Field to the Board Room: Lessons Learned Along the Way” in Dodds Theater. An alumnus of the university, Bednarski was recruited to UNH to play soccer and later served as the captain of the soccer team. Initially determined to play in the 1980 Olympics, Bednarski’s dream was ended by an unfortunate turn of events along with the epiphany that his education would have a more lasting effect than soccer. Therefore, when presented with the opportunity to play with the Hartford Hellions following graduation, Bednarski instead chose to continue at UNH and earn his MBA while serving as assistant coach of the soccer team.
In his lecture, Bednarski categorized his life into three phases: his educational phase, his career management phase where he made his name in the professional world while gaining the skills and experience he needed to enter his current and third status, the entrepreneurial phase. He then divulged seven lessons he learned at UNH that he carried with him and hoped the audience would carry with them as well.
The first lesson was that learning doesn’t end after college unless you allow it to; don’t be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes. The second lesson was that everything falls back to the team and that none of his accomplishments would’ve been possible without his team. The third lesson was to stick to the fundamentals and to always make sure that there is logic supporting your passion. The fourth lesson was to build a winning culture by reinforcing your core values. The fifth lesson was that you can never over-communicate; communication is key to success in any endeavor. The sixth lesson consisted of the personal ones: don’t take yourself too seriously, be humble, and remember to set personal goals alongside your professional goals. The seventh and final lesson Bednarski gave the audience, especially the students in the audience, was to always pursue your endeavors with passion because alacrity and purpose are contagious or, in other words, “never, never give up!”
Following the lecture, Bednarski was honored on behalf of the university by President Kaplan and on behalf of the student body by Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) President Scott Kazar. Lastly, UNH’s director of athletics Deborah Chin and current soccer coach Joshua Krusewski surprised Bednarski by bringing his former soccer coach Joe Machnik and teammates to the stage and presented him with his framed jersey, creating a memorable ending to an inspiring lecture.Tweet