Born: W ooster, Ohio
Education: Master’s degree, business administration, Bowling Green State University
What leader in business do you admire the most?
One component of good leadership is being willing to look for mentors. I’ve always done that. I guess it was because of my thirst for personal growth. Many times, managers within my organization have failed to grow because they weren’t willing to go out and look for mentors. I’ve read Jack Welch’s book, and I try to understand what he did during his tenure at GE that we can adopt, because he’s obviously been very successful. One of my real close mentors was Don Noble, who was the chairman and CEO of Rubbermaid for 25 years. I was fortunate to get to know him here in Wooster during the latter part of his career at Rubbermaid. Plus, he was willing to serve on our board for a number of years, and I found him to be a very helpful mentor as we were growing our business.
What does a leader need to do to be effective?
To be an effective leader of an organization or institution, you have to know and understand the business of that organization or the purpose of that institution. You’re not going to be effective at leading an organization of people if they don’t have confidence in your knowledge and understanding of the business you are involved in. This does not mean you have to know it intimately, but it does mean that you know enough that you’re willing to ask questions and get input for those people who do know it intimately. Those people recognize that you are listening to them and you are going to process their input in your decision-making process.