Education: Bachelor of science degree in business administration from The Pennsylvania State University
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
My first job out of university was as a staff accountant at Price Waterhouse, which is now called PricewaterhouseCoopers, in their San Francisco office. That was really my first introduction to the great, big, wide world of business.
It very rapidly taught me a great deal about how to conduct myself in the real world of business. You’re immediately thrown into environments where you’re dealing with management and higher-level employees within their clients, and as a result of that, you have to conduct yourself in a pretty professional and mature way. That’s a big difference from what it’s like being in university. It helps you progress and mature and gain a lot of the skills that are very useful in interacting with people in the business world.
Whom do you admire most and why?
The Dalai Lama. He seems to be like a constant ray of sunshine never has anything bad to say about anyone, always has a positive outlook on the world and is always making very insightful comments.
What’s your definition of success?
The most important thing is that when you look back at what you’ve accomplished, that in the process of doing that you’ve also had a significant positive influence or difference in other people’s lives. Some people may talk about success being measured by the position that you achieve or the income or net worth that you eventually achieve, and certainly those are important, but at the end of the day, I think those things can be relatively shallow and empty. I think it’s much more important to [ask yourself]: Are there things that you have done throughout your career that have had a positive influence on other people and helped them along in their lives and allowed them to realize some of their objectives?
Your workday is off to a bad start. How do you turn it around?
I just try to take a deep breath, insert some humor into the situation if I’m interacting with other people to lighten the atmosphere a little bit, and then just keep plugging away.