Video transcript: Steve Layt, SCU Outstanding Alumnus 2015
Since graduating I stayed with that company for the next 10 or so years and travelled the world so it was a wonderful career with and since leaving Yum in America I've gone on to work with a whole range of companies and most recently Applebee's which is the largest restaurant dining chain in the world.
When I was 19-years-old I was running my first restaurant as a general manager and at 19 I felt very successful I was making good company back then, when I spoke to my leadership at KFC saying how do I move forward in the company the single biggest piece of advice they gave me was you're going to be competing against people with degrees and they challenged me to get my degree and without that challenge there's no way I could have risen through the ranks in that company and therefore progress in the American scene.
The key for me at least that the degree did was give me a great sense of confidence going into those early roles. You know I was the first in my family to graduate so many of my family said hey it's just a piece of paper and you're not going to need it, and you're good enough without it. The reality is it really mattered, it gave me a great foundation in the early stages of my career and gave me the confidence I think to enter into bigger and more expanded roles and have a broader reach than I otherwise would have had.
It really was a story of coming from humble beginnings to rising to a senior level within Yum brands and the sort of global restaurant scene I feel grateful every day that I've had the success that I've had.
My advice would be reach beyond what you think you can do and don't underestimate the power of what you learn in tertiary education versus what people around might say you are not going to learn.
Two big tips one is be yourself and don't let corporate life change you, it's very easy to fit into the corporate mould and the second would be find great mentors who can steward you along and champion your career and people that you can really learn something from and then I'd say lastly be a mentor yourself and seek out people you can help through their career who are in the same place you were back then.
It's hard to believe 20 years ago I was a graduate myself and getting my degree and look it's such an honour to be back. For me it's been fantastic to allow my children the opportunity to see where their dad went to university, I think it's a great thrill for me as well.