Education: Graduated magna cum laude from the University of Louisville and completed post-graduate studies at Harvard Business School’s Executive Management Program
Whom do you admire most and why?
Rather than admiring a specific person, I’ve honed in on human interest stories of people who suffered tragedy or setbacks and how they overcame those. For instance, I saw a report on the news about a Marine who lost his arms and legs in Iraq. He’s recovering and he just got engaged. He’s excited about getting new arms and legs. That’s inspirational. That puts in context my tribulations compared to people with insurmountable difficulties.
Your workday is off to a bad start. How do you turn it around?
I wouldn’t look to turn a bad start around; I would live through it and know you’ve got to have trying periods to appreciate life cycles. When I first got into the executive search business, I went to my boss and said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to make it. One day, I’m high because I found a great candidate and the client was thrilled. The next day, the client is upset because the candidate didn’t live up to their expectations.’ The boss smiled and said, ‘Clip your highs. Clip your lows. Don’t get overly excited or depressed.’
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
From Cecil Dye, district manager at Digital Equipment Corp.: ‘When you’re at a critical decision, sit down at your desk and write down all the positive things that can be derived from a yes answer to the decision that’s before you. After you’ve written down virtually all the wonderful things that can happen by a yes decision, take that piece of paper, wad it up and throw it in the trash. Now, write down all the worst things that can happen [from] a yes decision. If you can live with the worst negative, do it. If you can’t, then you shouldn’t do it.’
What’s your definition of success?
Success is when you’re passionate and you’re focused and you’re committed to what you’re doing, that you are totally engaged and you really believe that you’re making a difference. It’s that sense of mission mentality that you are where you need to be and you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing to experience fulfillment.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is really sitting down with my leadership team or, for that matter, any of the people in the company and listening to them work through an issue or a challenge that they have and being the sounding board to them. You kind of see that aha moment where they light up because they figured out what they’re going to do on their own. It’s watching those managers grow and develop in their skills and abilities as they’re making these critical decisions that certainly will affect the outcome of many people’s lives.