Born: Long Island, N.Y.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology, University of California at Santa Barbara; master’s of social work degree in community organization, management and planning, Boston University; master’s degree, business administration, University of California at Berkeley
What was your first job?
I worked for my parents. They owned a real estate business. They used to buy places, and I used to fix them up when I was in high school. I learned a lot of things; I could do carpentry, some plumbing, some electrical kind of a little bit of everything.
Then I got a job at a shotgun range. I was a puller a puller was a guy who got on one of these five stations where the shooter comes. When they say pull, you push the button to launch the bird. That was a pretty fun job because you got good tips when the tournaments came. And I learned how to shoot a bit myself.
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I had a lot of respect and admiration for the leaders I worked for at Sun Microsystems. I thought Scott McNealy was a very charismatic and effective leader in terms of motivating people and being a tough competitor in the marketplace. Sun had a great run while I was there, but I always thought he did a great job of communicating to the employees that they were important, that they were valued, that they would create a positive work environment for us, and that we were going to be aggressive in the marketplace. Instilling confidence and motivating the company were things he was good at.
What advice do you find yourself giving most often?
One of the things I like to tell the engineering teams and my executive team is that, every day you come into work, you need to look at our vision and mission, and say, ‘Is what I’m doing today somehow contributing to that?’ Then you’ll know if your goals and objectives are aligned with the vision and mission. If they’re not or if you’re not clear about how they relate to that, then you’ve got to go to a manager and have that discussion.