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Oxford and Beyond

Denise Taylor takes inspiration from today's purpose-driven students

A new entrepreneur venture draws on alumna's leadership experience in the field of systems analysis.

Oxford and Beyond

Denise Taylor takes inspiration from today's purpose-driven students

#Denise Taylor's career includes new entrepreneur opportunities where she can share her leadership skills she acquired as a systems analysis expert.()

By Carole Johnson, University Communications and Marketing, College of Engineering and Computing

Denise Taylor's new book cover

Denise Taylor can point to numerous examples of her success, but today the Miami University alumna is focused more on the word ‘significant’ than on the awards in her office.  

A 1992 graduate of the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC), the systems analysis major received numerous job offers before accepting her first major career position with Eli Lilly and Company.

More than 20 years later, she reflects on her office wall of honors that she earned in leadership roles at Eli Lilly and Company, Caterpillar, Harnischfeger Corporation, Kohls Department Stores, Belk Department Stores, BMC - Building Materials Company, and American Tire Distributors.

She acknowledges that while her professional career continues to be extremely important and gratifying, she is adding another dimension.

“God changed my appetite for success, she said. “I was performance- and results-focused. Now, I ask, ‘What can I do to give back to people?’ I am transitioning from being simply successful to being significant.” 

She is excited to hear the same message from today’s students. A member of CEC’s Women’s Advisory Committee, Taylor is inspired by the students' perspectives on work and careers.

“Young people have layered in purpose. It’s not just a job for them. They want to work on things that are important to them. They are changing the whole dynamic of what work looks like by thinking about the impact they can really make. I’m excited to see where things are headed.”

Taylor has entered the world of entrepreneurship as a success strategist and lifestyle coach — www.denisetaylor.live/#/. This spring she is celebrating the one-year anniversary of her podcast, “Life Love & The Pursuit of Happiness.” 

She recently published her second book, Embrace Your Power & Go, which draws on her career and life experiences to help guide others as they pursue their goals. In her book, she outlines five success superpowers that encompass the meaning behind the word ‘significant.’

“See yourself successful,” according to Taylor is the first step. Taylor’s high school record was not the best due to all sorts of outside negative forces, but, finding herself on the campus of Miami University, her view changed due to positive forces—one of those being her now-husband and Miami alumnus Chuck, with whom she cherishes 25 plus years of marriage, two daughters, and a joint business partnership.  Through excellent mentors and support from staff at Miami, she saw herself as someone who could excel, and today advises people to avoid the fear trap.

“F.E.A.R. is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real,” she explained. “Instead, take a regiment of gratitude, find a space where you can remain hopeful, and be intentional about things. Don’t be afraid to do the work.”

Her major was not an easy one, as she recalled the many days and nights she spent in the computer lab. But she rolled up her sleeves and got busy. She did the same throughout her career. Her analytical mind proved to be one of her personal superpowers that she leveraged as she grew in her career. 

She also advises that we all should take care of ourselves. This is one area that gets downplayed, especially for women, but she warns that we don’t understand the effect it can have on our mental capabilities.

“Work, work, work, prove, prove, prove, is how we place value on ourselves, but we must prioritize what we need,” she said. “We are worthy of investing and taking care of ourselves.” 

For Taylor, that means holding fast to her faith and family, and she councils others to do the same, whatever that may look like. 

“Keep your accomplishments handy. I keep my awards on a wall in my office. They are reminders to me of my achievements and to give back,” she said reiterating her shift to focus more on the significance of purpose and helping others to achieve.