Born: Kalamazoo, Mich.
Education: BBA in accounting from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, 1987
What was your very first job, and what did you learn from it?
I worked in the concession stand at a country club. I learned how to deal with all types of people. We had really pleasant members that we had to deal with and some more unpleasant members that we had to deal with. I learned early on that the customer is always right and you have to work through that.
Whom do you admire most and why?
It’s a man by the name of Ernest Shackleton. He was an explorer in the early 1900s. He took a team to try to sail to the South Pole. They actually never got there because they got stuck in the ice; the ice formed around their boat and they couldn’t go anywhere for nine months. They had to camp there and then ultimately their boat ended up getting crushed in the ice.
They had to take these rowboats to an island that was uninhabited. He left them all there, and he took a smaller group and, ultimately, was able to make it back to an area that was inhabited.
The amazing thing about it was that no one on his crew died. It’s a great story in leadership, where he had to really convince these guys to not lose faith and to be motivated and forward-looking even when they were sitting on this ice flow for nine months in the dark of winter. He was able to take these guys and turn them into a team.
Your workday is off to a bad start. How do you turn it around?
I work with a really great team of people that are really funny and have a good sense of humor, so I usually walk down to their office and get them to tell me jokes.
The other thing, I have a wall of pictures of my kids. I look up at them, because you can’t really be in a bad mood when you’re looking at pictures of your kids.
If your company had a theme song, what would it be?
This is kind of corny, but I think it’s very true: ‘I Believe I Can Fly.’ That is sort of the spirit of the people at our company. I cannot think of any client problem that we haven’t been able to solve in my career. As a group, we can accomplish anything.
If you weren’t in your current position, what might you
be doing instead?
The one right now that seems attractive to me is career coach. Maybe that’s just because I’ve worked with a few of them in the last several years. One of my favorite things to do in my job is just working with people here and helping them realize their potential. I think it’d be fun to be doing it on a full-time basis.
Deloitte University by the numbers:
- Construction began October 2009
- Scheduled to open in 2011
- $300 million project
- 750,000 square feet on 107 acres
- 35 classrooms
- 800 on-site guest rooms