10 Things I Learned: Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Eileen Curtis

As she retires this month, Curtis shares with us the lessons she’s learned during her more than 20-year tenure.

Eileen Curtis
Photo courtesy of Eileen Curtis

Since 1994 Eileen Curtis has helmed the chamber of commerce that has grown into one of the largest in the Metro-D.C. region. As she retires this month, she shares with us the lessons she’s learned during her tenure.

1. Show up. Something so simple can separate you from the crowd.

2. Be positive. Life has so many blessings to be found, and your positive attitude can brighten someone else’s day.

3. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Instead of asking only if something is good (or bad) for you, look at it from other people’s vantage point. It’s a great consensus-building tool.

4. Show determination. Don’t give up just because you didn’t succeed the first time—or the second or third. If you want to succeed, work hard and keep at it.

5. Keep learning! My goodness, we’re in the midst of a sea change that only comes along once in several centuries. We all have to be lifelong students to just keep pace with today’s discoveries.

6. Practice your communication skills. Maintain eye contact with people; smile; practice listening. Find some neat words to replace the cliches.

7. Embrace civility. It’s beginning to seem like a lost art form, but it’s supposed to be the gold standard for common sense and kindness.

8. The higher you rise in your profession, the more you have the chance to set an example for those junior to you. Use that opportunity well.

9. Don’t make snap judgments about people. Women and men have some different but equal skill sets. Immigrants are often hard workers. Those differences may hide an awesome achiever.

10. Money and power are not the ultimate achievements. Kindness, family and friendships are.

(July 2017)