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During my first two years on the job after college, I felt both excitement and regret. I was excited about meeting new people but found working for a small cooperative in a town with fewer than 200 people, a supper club and a church a bit stodgy. After all, my dream at graduation was working for an advertising agency on Wacker Drive in Chicago.

To my surprise, the cooperative grew quickly into what became a Fortune 500 company in the 1980s. And I grew with it --- eventually becoming vice president for corporate communication and serving its members for 29 years.

After a stint in Los Angeles with a research firm and 10 years with a nonprofit in New York City (and 11 years of retirement), I now have no regrets.

My cooperative background has given me an appreciation for evaluating CEO performance based on success in delicately balancing the interests of stockholders, employees, customers, community members and vendors/suppliers.

As a corporate communicator at heart, I find that much more complex (and rewarding) than the private sector’s current obsession among CEOs with stock valuation levels alone.

* When have you found yourself setting aside regret as no longer relevant while recalling events in your career?

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