Education: B.S., business administration, Western Michigan University
First job: Masonry laborer for a construction company at age 16
What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?
That people make all the difference, and focusing on people is something I feel very good about. The caring you give makes all the difference in the world to the people you serve, and that’s what I’ve taken as the biggest lesson I’ve learned at Merrill Lynch.
What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?
Listening, being able to communicate and caring about people be they clients, be they a member of the firm. It serves you very well when you invest in those relationships and go beyond just doing the day-to-day work of the business.
What is a universal truth you’ve learned about leadership?
Leadership happens every day, all day for great leaders. When you love what you do, there is no reason to turn it off.
What is your definition of success?
I find success in helping people, and the way I look at it, if I’m helping someone else, perhaps that person can help another person. That’s one of the great reasons to go into a leadership position, the ability to help others. If I have 440 financial advisers and I’m helping them be more efficient, they will then work with 40,000 clients and help them. That to me is success in leadership.