Submitted by: Maggie March, Arena Strategies

This was my first Know the CEO event and I thought it was great!  Mr. DeBenedictis outlined his career path starting from college graduation to eventually becoming CEO, president and chairman of Aqua America. He gave great advice to millennials and explained that your career path is not always what you expect and it’s not always linear.

The quote that really resonated with me was, “Always have an exit plan in case you chose the wrong path.”  It was interesting to learn about how he became interested in environmental engineering and where that took him in his career. The choice between getting an MBA and getting an environmental science degree changed the course of his life, yet it was obvious that he had an innate determination and ability to lead. That characteristic is what took him from PECO to the Governer’s office in Harrisburg to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and eventually to Aqua America. Additionally, he stressed that it’s important to create a work-life balance that works for you, which is a piece of advice that you don’t often hear from CEO of leading corporations.

The Know the CEO series is a great way to hear first-hand from people who lead some of the largest and established companies in the region. The events offers an opportunity to ask questions and gain insight from senior level management that is valuable when seeking career advancement and professional development opportunities.