As a student, Josh Meyer (BSBA ’13) completed a global internship experience at a small company in Australia. Eight years later, he was promoted to CEO. What’s his secret? Kaizen.
So how do you go from being an intern at a company to its CEO?
“Sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith,” says Josh Meyer.
If anyone knows about rapid ascents, it’s the 2013 Fisher graduate. Josh went from completing a global internship with Avatar Brokers in 2012 to CEO of the global risk and insurance firm based in Melbourne, Australia.
Working with Fisher’s Office of Global Business (OGB), Josh remembers intentionally targeting an internship at a small business. He theorized he would learn more at a smaller company, experience that would stand out on his resume.
“Book learning is great, but getting involved was what I was after,” says Josh.
“I wanted to work for a small business and get exposed to how the business really worked on all levels. I wanted to learn everything.”
Having walked in their shoes, Josh encourages current students to consider opportunities with small business internships. He knows firsthand what it meant to interact with every executive at a small business; he believes that experience may have gotten lost at a larger firm.
“The CEO at Avatar knew my name. I could walk into his office and have significant conversations with him,” he says. “I don’t think I would have had that type of access at a larger firm. The quality of my experience shaped everything.”
When his internship ended, Josh returned to Fisher for his senior year. But he came back to campus with more than he left with: a full-time job offer from Avatar. Eight years later in 2020, he was promoted to CEO.
“I could never have imagined the opportunities or the doors that internship opened for me. I feel incredibly blessed by this journey,” says Josh.
Sharing the wisdom of experience
Dominic DiCamillo, program manager within OGB, says experiential learning opportunities such as the Fisher Global Internships program can impact students in any number of ways.
“It can spark something different for everyone — maybe it fuels a desire to travel or changes a pre-conceived mindset about an unfamiliar culture,” he says. “In Josh’s case, it changed the trajectory of his entire life.”
Despite the distance and double-digit time difference, Josh spent time speaking with nearly 100 Fisher students recently over Zoom, fielding questions on a variety of topics related to his internship experience, living abroad and his journey to the executive suite.
“Because of what this program did for me, I feel a sense of responsibility to give back and support it,” says Josh. “I want to be a resource for the students in the global internship program.”
He advised students to seek out opportunities at Fisher and encouraged them to try new, unfamiliar things.
“Your experiences are just as valuable when they tell you what you don’t want to do as they are when they help you learn what you want to do.”
He stresses that it’s critical for students to be their own advocates, to be deliberate in who they seek out as mentors, and to be direct and specific with their request for mentorship.
“Don’t undervalue your network. Ask people for advice, help and guidance,” he says.
Kaizen in action
The past two years have been intense for Josh, but he’s a firm believer that one particular philosophy helped foster his personal and professional success: Kaizen. In short, it’s positive action aimed at continuous improvement.
While working full-time, he earned his MBA at Melbourne Business School. He and his wife, Katie, had their first child, Elias, who Josh hopes will be a part of Fisher’s Class of 2043.
And all of it happened during a pandemic.
But Josh thrives in these types of situations, and rather than stress about the pressure, he focuses on the experience and tries to identify what, or how, he can learn from it.
“The successes are really cool, but I feel like the learning opportunities are more important,” he says.
His biggest lesson learned?
“I learned I was capable of being in high-pressure scenarios and able to deliver successful outcomes,” says Josh.
Following his own advice, he is taking steps to identify his next mentor. As a CEO, he may be at a high point in his professional career, but he knows there’s always room for Kaizen — improvement. He’s also making plans to host Fisher interns at Avatar.
“The business has been in a transition period and we weren’t in a place to provide an internship experience that met my standards,” he says. “I wanted us to be in a position where we could give an intern projects they can really own and be accountable for. I want them to have a hands-on experience and really learn — like I did.”
After living and working in Australia for nearly eight years, Josh took a major step in his evolution as a Fisher alumnus abroad.
“After a while, it just made sense to become an Australian citizen,” he says. “Becoming a dual-citizen is one more opportunity I never dreamed possible when I said ‘yes’ to my internship.”
“This is where my life is. This is where Fisher brought me.”