Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, Dowling College, Long Island, N.Y.; MBA, J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, Chicago; Business Development Program, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Graduate School of Management
First Job: Xerox
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I try to take good things from different leaders and get unique qualities they have and build that into my thinking.
What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
You can get anything in this life you want as long as you help other people get what they want. The most important resource by a factor of 10 is your people.
What has been your toughest business challenge?
Getting the momentum rolling on the turnaround, and radical change was the way I approached it, and I started at the top.
Describe your leadership style.
I believe in building an entire company from the customer end and focusing on people.
McDermott on choosing role models:
As a young person starting out, I didn’t go to work at Xerox to be a salesperson. I went to work for Xerox to be David Kearns (former chairman and CEO). You have to have big dreams to make big dreams come true. You have to choose your role models wisely, and I was choosing mine early.