"Work on your job, earn a salary. Work on yourself, earn a fortune."
Those were the words of Larry Mazza, CEO of MVB Financial Corporation and alumnus of the WVU College of Business & Economics (B&E), when he spoke at the first event of the Fall 2013 B&E Distinguished Speaker Series.
Mazza brought his more than 25 years of banking experience to a crowd of nearly 1,000 students, faculty, staff and community members on September 11 in the WVU Mountainlair Ballrooms. His message was simple: you can learn from your own mistakes or the mistakes of others, so why not learn from his?
He shared a variety of life lessons he got from education, becoming a CPA, holding executive positions in a number of banks, and from being a partner of Football Talk, LLC, a global business venture that is recognized as a respected source for the latest information on the NFL (National Football League).
Mazza recalled that one of his earliest life lessons was the importance of education. In order to grow in any aspect in life, including business, a person must work hard, be disciplined and communicate well, he said.
At WVU, Mazza studied accounting and ran for the WVU Board of Governors. His campaign taught him the importance of teamwork, leadership and setting goals. Upon graduation and passing the CPA exam, he joined KPMG, a "Big Four" accounting firm. His position there reinforced the ideas of hard work, continual learning and to keep up with ever-changing technology.
By the age of 29, Mazza found himself as the president of Empire National Bank. While this was, of course, a huge achievement, Mazza thought to himself, "What were they thinking?" For months, he was stressed out, tired and burnt out. He said he knew things had to change. He made adjustments so he could live a healthier lifestyle – eating right, exercising often and refueling his body with plenty of rest.
"A little stress is good, but too much is killer," Mazza told the crowd. "Everything happens for a reason. Don't let setbacks stop you from your goals."
The most important message he shared was that life is all about relationships. He encouraged the crowd to surround themselves with confident and positive individuals and to steer clear of those who will pull them down.
"There are three questions everyone always asks, consciously or unconsciously," he said.
The first was, "Can I trust you?" Second was, "Are you committed to be the best you can be?" And third was, "Do you care about me or the organization?" He encouraged the crowd to consider their last failed relationship with a friend or loved one, and to test its demise against these three questions.
Mazza has served on boards of both public companies and non-profit organizations, and also serves on the MVB Financial Corp. Board of Directors. He's a member of the West Virginia Board of Banking and Financial Institutions. Prior to joining MVB in 2005, Mazza was employed by BB&T and its predecessors, where he eventually served as senior vice president and retail banking manager for BB&T's West Virginia North region, consisting of 33 financial centers with $2 billion in assets and more than 300 employees. Mazza resides in Clarksburg, W.Va.