Bronco Beat

CEOs provide Boise State athletes real-life advice: ‘Find your hedgehog’

In a notebook already full of concepts and things to remember for the Boise State offense, senior tight end Jake Roh also has pages of notes on business ideas, too.

Wednesday was the last day in a new series of talks for the Broncos’ athletes called “Real Life Wednesday.” It is part of the BroncoLife program, which kicked off in earnest this summer, designed to prepare young athletes for college, personal development and career planning.

Roh was among the athletes on hand Wednesday to hear Idaho Power CEO Darrel Anderson and Fisher’s Technology President/CEO Chris Taylor. Both told their stories of how they worked into their current positions, while also explaining why their companies have succeeded.

Roh made sure to pay attention when Taylor noted finding the right career was three-pronged: what you can be best at in your world, what you have deep passion for and what you can make money doing.

“I think it’s always good to hear people from the community, make those connections,” said Roh, a finance major. “Also, hearing everybody’s experiences ... hearing the things that got them to where they are and how they run their companies. That’s a team environment, we’re in a team environment, so it relates.”

Recent speakers included TSheets CEO Matt Rissell, AFT22 CEO Angela Taylor and former football player Ebo Makinde, now VP/treasury relationship manager for Zions Bank.

“They’re going to have an experience here when they’re student-athletes, and then when they’re done, what’s next?” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “This is really about what’s next. How did some of these people ... how did they get to where they are now?”

Taylor spoke about turning around the company over the last decade, passing along some of his favorite business motivational terms, including “find your hedgehog.” When attacked, the hedgehog, every time, will get into a ball, exposing its spikes and protecting its underside. Businesses have to be like that — find what they do best and do it every time.

Anderson stressed for athletes to not forget where they came from, retelling of times when his nine-person family lived in a two-bedroom duplex in Mountain Home, how he is on the Women’s And Children’s Alliance board because of past experiences with a father that abused his mother, and his hopes to end texting and driving after an employee died doing so four years ago.

“Just the opportunity to have that, take notes, and apply it to their lives right now, I think it’s just giving them a head start,” Harsin said.

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @davesouthorn