Derek Wolf

Occupation: Vice President, Services, Taleo

First Car: 1982 Toyota Celica - loved that car

Favorite Restaurant: Edith's, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

But the best food is my Mom's kitchen - Jefferson City, MO

What are three things most people don't know about you?

a). We have a family farm in Iowa that we’ve had for nearly 150 years.  My Dad has the original land grant deed from the US Government.

b). I was in a college dance troupe.

c). I am convinced that Nutter Butters are the best cookie in the world.

What's been your greatest adventure in life?

My wife and I traveled the back roads through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.  We didn’t know any of the languages, which made for some interesting experiences in small European villages.

What's your best childhood memory?

Annual ski trips with my family.

If you could have a conversation with a person of your choice, past, present or future, who would that person be and why?

Barack Obama at the end of his Presidency.  I’d ask him how the world has changed since he took office. 

What's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life?

See my beloved dog take his last breath.

Tell us about your favorite hobby.

I really enjoy a workout program called CrossFit, an all around conditioning and strength program. I love the challenge, competition, camaraderie, and results.

What are you currently reading? What is your favorite book?

Currently - Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Favorite Non-fiction - Where Have All of the Leaders Gone by Lee Iacocca

Favorite Fiction - Probably The Da Vinci Code, at least that’s a book that I couldn’t put down.  I enjoy art and reading thrillers, so it was a fun book for me.

Is there a particular place or thing you want to see?

There are way too many to list.

If you could give $10,000 to a charity, what would that charity be and why?

The Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) because I am a dog lover and support “no kill” foundations who work to find good homes for pets.

If you weren't on the professional services career track, what would you be doing?

I enjoyed studying Finance and thought about being a financial planner very early in my career, which is actually quite similar to professional services - listening to a client’s business needs, objectives, and goals, and delivering a solution that achieves those goals.

What is the path that led you to Professional Services/Consulting?

I graduated from college with a Finance degree, but went to work for Andersen Consulting.  I didn’t realize how much IT work it would really be, but it benefitted me greatly personally (met my wife there!) and well as professionally. 

What advice would you give to a recent graduate who just took a job in professional services?

Take advantage of all of the opportunities that are presented to you within professional services.  Do not specialize in any one thing - be a sponge and learn about technology, business process, change management, project management, relationships, finance, and everything else professional services provides.  You will learn so much in a relatively short period of time, so jump right in and take it all in.  Seek out great mentors and in turn don’t hesitate to become a mentor yourself.  Stay connected with your company’s headquarters and/or local office, especially the team members that work behind the scenes. 

Finally, always stay professional in front of your client - no matter how informal the customer environment is or what time of the day it is.