The Kupietzky file Featured

8:00pm EDT May 26, 2010

Born: Los Angeles

Education: MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School; graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in economics from Columbia University

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

I was a fill-in maitre d’ at a restaurant. I probably learned how competitive every field could be. My job there was to ensure that there was a balance of diners with each waiter because if there wasn’t, one would make more than the other or less than the other. My job was making peace between people and keeping things fair — no different from my job today, in some ways.

What’s your definition of success?

Giving 100 percent best effort and knowing you did everything that you possibly could.

Your workday is off to a bad start. How do you turn it around?

I jump into the next meeting. Try and create more activity to get your mind off whatever the bad start was. This way, you also don’t dwell on it.

Whom do you admire most and why?

I’m looking forward to meeting him in a month or so: Mark Hurd, who is the CEO of HP. I think he embodies that idea of 100 percent execution and servant leadership.

What’s your best business advice?

I always love that question. I really encourage people to think about finding a mentor, and you’ve got to actively find those. Your manager’s not necessarily the person who’s going to help develop your career or [whom] you go to for questions. Really work on developing that person or persons who will help you deal with questions that you face in your own job. I’ve found that again and again it’s paid off so well to have those people that you can ask who are not in the specific situation and therefore can give you very good advice.

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