Born: New York City
Mets or Yankees?
This is a good story. I was a Mets fan, and my dad actually got transferred down to Atlanta in 1969 so I started school in Atlanta as a Mets fan when the Mets were playing the Atlanta Braves for the National League Championship. I was very unpopular because I was the only kid in school rooting for the Mets. I quickly became a Braves fan. For any readers in New York that are fans of the Yankees, I will say I admire their success.
Education: MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from the University of Georgia
What was your first job?
My first job ever was I was 13 years old, and I was a busboy at a delicatessen. It wasn’t very glamorous. I was always taught the importance of working from a very young age and a hard work ethic and whatever you’re going to do, even if you don’t like, do it well. It’s hard to like being a busboy.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I think I’d have to say the best advice I’ve ever received is come to work every single day wanting to earn your job. Especially as the CEO of the company, where, for many people that may be their career ambition and they’ve made it to the top, but I feel a pretty deep obligation every single morning to earn my job. I think, whether it’s writing an article or bussing tables or being the CEO, whatever work we’re doing in our daily lives, it’s not a privilege and it’s not something that because you’ve reached a certain point in your career that you have the right to anything so I think that was it. Come to work every day prepared to earn your job.
What’s your favorite board game and why?
Scrabble. It’s fun. It’s creative. I enjoy writing, and I probably don’t love board games where you roll dice or spin wheels, and you’ve got letters and you have to use some creativity and there’s some thinking ahead. It’s a game I grew up playing with my mom when I was little, so I’ve just always enjoyed playing Scrabble.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a professional baseball player, but I knew that wasn’t practical. Then I wanted to be a coach, and I realized that wasn’t practical either. I think my first real practical professional goal was to actually become an attorney. I was at a student awards banquet at my undergrad, and I received the student of the year award, and they announced I was going to go to law school, and one of my friends’ fathers saw me and said, ‘You’re not going to law school you’ll hate being an attorney. You’re going to come work for me for a couple of years, and if you want to go back to law school, then do it.’ I went to work for him in the accounting and consulting field and got exposed to businesses and realized that’s where my heart laid in building businesses. If my friend’s father hadn’t been there that day at that awards banquet, I probably would have been a lawyer.