Born: Jackson, Mich.
Education: B.A., community relations, Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Mich.
History: President of Humana Michigan since 2003
First job: Cooking refried beans at Taco Bell while in high school
What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?
The most important skill is communication. You have to say what you want and say it clearly. Being thoughtful, clear and concise is everything.
What are several universal truths you’ve learned about business leadership?
No. 1, you have to earn it. It’s not something given to you simply by title. A lot of it has to do with being consistent, showing integrity and kind of letting your reputation precede you. The other truth is that it’s really all about having the right team members who share the passion of the work you need to do. I know [‘Good to Great’ author] Jim Collins is over-quoted, but it really is about getting the right people on the bus, and then getting them in the right seats. It’s so important to build the right team.
The third universal truth I have is that it has to be about more than making money. You have to make a difference. If you believe you are going to make a difference, ultimately, you are going to make some money.
What is your definition of success?
My definition of success is making lifelong connections with others through the work that we did together. I think about when I’m 80 and done with my life’s work, it’s going to be about those relationships and all those connections we made through the years.