Project Delivery Lead
I manage and run large information systems operations for my clients
A great day at work consists of heavy interaction with my client and team solving complex problems. They would see me on my feet, exchanging ideas in rapid fashion, mentoring junior staff, and bringing a level of calmness and control to what is often a chaotic environment.
The importance of excellent communications skills cannot be emphasized enough. Whether in writing or verbally (in person), the ability to convey my ideas clearly and concisely is critical to every interaction with my client or colleagues. Specific job-related training and skills only go so far - you need to say something which people want to hear, have the ability to put forth a well-formed recommendation, and display compassion so people know that you really care about them.
Here's the first step for college students
Get a well-rounded education and take every opportunity to develop "soft skills". Looks for areas where you can take on leadership roles and interact with people who have different opinions. Find opportunities to make presentations and get comfortable in front of a room of people, regardless of how scary it seems - it truly does get easier with practice!
"The path I was on was unlikely to lead to success and my future was in doubt."
I kept myself focused on the job at hand, never wavered in my commitment to my client or my colleagues. Eventually, those who had provided the discouragement recognized me for what my strengths were and offered another path within the company where I have since been highly successful. I thoroughly enjoy my work and don't try to be someone or something which would lead to unhappiness and probably failure.