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An Interview of Mentor Florian Borowski by Protégé Heather Karwowski

Protégé
Heather Karwowski
Heather Karwowski
Mentor
Florian Borowski
Florian Borowski
HR Manager
Schlumberger
Karwowski

Where are you from and how did you decide to pursue a career in Alaska?

I grew up in the Mid-West in Michigan. I had the opportunity to move to Alaska through a career move through my previous employer, BP. I choose Alaska for the personal and professional opportunities that are unique to Alaska. I love the outdoors and was interested in furthering my career in Alaska. I want to have it all and Alaska has that to offer.

Borowski
Karwowski

What did you study in college and was it an easy choice?

While pursuing a business degree at Michigan State University, I studied human resources and I found it so interesting I decided to major in it. After receiving my undergraduate degree in HR, I immediately went into the HR field. I found a good professional fit for myself and later went back to school for a Master of Arts in Human Resources Management degree at my alma mater.

Borowski
Karwowski

What is your current position? How would you describe your path to your current position? Did you have anyone you relied on for mentorship/solid career advice?

My title at my current position with Schlumberger is Human Resources Manager. My path to this position started out in my undergraduate degree where I obtained two internships in HR at Marshall Fields and General Motors. After getting my undergraduate degree, I started my HR career working in the hotel/hospitality industry which included working for Ritz Carlton Hotels.

While working in the hospitality industry, I decided I wanted to do something other than just recruiting and training so I went to graduate school. It was clear that to work for other industries, I would benefit from having an MBA or HR graduate degree. I decided to pursue the Master of Arts in Human Resources Management at Michigan State University. In graduate school I was recruited by Amoco, which ultimately merged with British Petroleum. I worked for BP for fifteen years, living in Colorado, Illinois, London, and Alaska. I left BP in 2008 to join the HR team at CH2M HILL as the HR Director. After six-years of leading the HR department at CH2M HILL I have now taken a new role at Schlumberger as the HR Manager.

On my path to where I am now, I had mentors along the way from company buddy mentors to informal peer mentors. They were very helpful and I wouldn’t be where I am in my career today without the support from all of them.

Borowski
Karwowski

When did you know you would be a leader?

I knew I would be a leader early on in my life. I knew I would take on leadership roles for groups of people. I remember when I was in 6th grade shop class I was asked by my classmates to be the one to turn the power on and off on a table saw because they trusted me. I learned then how important trust is in leadership. I also found myself in other leadership roles as a young person as a counselor in high school. While in college, I was a camp counselor throughout the summers and was also a resident advisor in my undergraduate degree at Michigan State University.

Borowski
Karwowski

Was/Is there ever a time when you felt/feel discouraged by obstacles? How did you/do you address that?

I am a big believer in persistence or as I like to call it, grit. I believe that determination and stick-to-it-ness are how you overcome obstacles. I tell my teenage boys, it is about perseverance and resilience. My first application to graduate school was declined but I took a class and kept at it, improving my application for the next round. I not only got in, I was awarded scholarships and went on to graduate with honors. If I had let those obstacles get in my way, I would never have applied again and never experienced graduate school.

Borowski
Karwowski

Is there a particular person who inspires you? Maybe someone you have read about, someone you know? What do you find inspiring about their story?

I recently got to meet Willy Hensley and I was impressed and inspired by his amazing achievements for Alaska and the Alaska Native community but beyond all of his accomplishments it was his humility that inspired me. I don’t do well with big egos and Willy is a great example of someone who can achieve great things but still have their feet on the ground. I really appreciate that level of character in people.

Borowski
Karwowski

It is important and beneficial for CBPP and Anchorage’s business community to collaborate and invest in the next generation of leaders. What do you think should be conveyed to our next generation of leaders?

I believe it is important and beneficial for CBPP and Anchorage’s business community to collaborate and invest in the next generation of leaders. As Vice Chair of the Alaska Workforce Development Board, I advocate for Alaskan’s helping grow a strong workforce from within the state and CBPP partnering with the local business community is one way to achieve that mission. I am excited to be a part of the Leadership Fellows program and I look forward to helping and learning from the experience myself.

My advice to young professionals is to be patient with their growth and advancements. Organizations have a hard time moving as fast as people want but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find opportunities to learn in every position. Sometimes it is about more than upward advancement, put in the work and learn as much as you can and the advancement will come.

Borowski
This content may have been edited for presentation, context, and/or brevity.