The Sheptor File Featured

8:00pm EDT July 26, 2009

Born: Carthage, N.Y.

Education: Executive M.B.A. from Tulane; B.S. in chemical engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

What was your first job? Mowing lawns as a 10-year-old

What has been your greatest leadership lesson?

The importance of harvesting ideas from others. What I have found in my career is that everybody has ideas about their work, about life, but maybe 10 percent of people have enough courage to do anything about their ideas. This was perhaps some mentoring or coaching from somebody in my past — the importance of sharing your challenges with others so that they think about how to potentially solve your challenges, then harvesting those ideas that they share with you. Those same people that don’t have courage to do anything with their own ideas are really happy to share those ideas with you and let you execute them because they have some degree of satisfaction in seeing their ideas implemented.

The other part of that thought is, particularly early in your career, it’s not about who had the idea, it’s about who implemented the idea in terms of acknowledgment and recognition.

If you couldn’t have your current position, what would be your dream job?

I’d be working in public health care in a developing country. I ran a not-for-profit-company prior to coming to Imperial Sugar. I was working in Washington D.C. but mostly traveling in Africa working in HIV and AIDS clinics providing essential medicines. If I had my career to do over again, I would probably be working full-time in that job and have spent 30 years doing it.