Read Norton

Occupation: Director, Professional Services, NetSuite

First Car: 1974 Jeep CJ-5. H pattern transmission with only 3 forward gears.

Favorite Restaurant: Kitayama - Newport Beach, CA

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

a). I wrote a thesis about Islamic Fundamentalism in 1995
b). I lived in Telluride, CO one winter so I could ski every day
c). My first job out of college was with the Boston Celtics

What's been your greatest adventure in life?

Exploring my spirituality.

What's your best childhood memory?

Summers at the beach on Long Island and fishing in the Adirondack Mountains 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?

My great grandparents.  I’m interested in the history of my family and never had the chance to meet any of them.

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

I blew out my knee playing lacrosse, went through an 8 month recovery process and then blew it out again and had to do rehab all over again. I did play lacrosse again - 2 years later.

Tell us about your favorite hobby.

Spending time with my wife and son.

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

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin is my current book. From Beirut to Jerusalem by Tom Freidman is probably my favorite.

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

Cape Town, South Africa

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

El Hogar Ministries. They run an orphanage for about 250 of the poorest boys and girls in Honduras.  They literally save lives one child at a time. It’s a wonderful organization run by a remarkable group of people.  They’ve transformed many lives including my own.

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

Coaching athletics or working in public service

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

I wrote a proposal about a new service I thought my company should offer and presented the idea to my CEO.  He reviewed the idea and then appointed me to head the team that would implement the service.  I didn’t know what a project manager was but I really enjoyed the learning process and transforming an idea into something concrete.  Then I went looking for professional services work and I’ve stayed in this profession because it constantly requires me to learn and grow.

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

This work is about creating structure and order where it previously didn’t exist or was insufficient.  Good consultants are the ones who learn from their experiences, know that the learning never ends so they are always looking to add skills and experience.  Seek out a mentor who models the sort of behavior you aspire to and spend time developing relationship(s) that will last longer than your current job. If you feel unsure about which direction your career should go, consider taking the Myers Briggs personality test.  This can be a valuable way to identify preferences and skills you may not be consciously aware of.