What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of business is definitely the people. Hiring great people, helping them grow and thrive, and dealing with people issues are the biggest challenges but also very rewarding.
Who is your hero and why?
Since I was a kid, my hero has been Bill Gates. He was one of the first to make nerds cool, inspiring a generation. He built a big business that did a lot of good in the world, empowering a generation by putting a powerful PC on every desk. And now he’s focused on giving away a nation-sized fortune to make the world a better place.
What was the most important thing you learned while studying at Cal?
As a kid who grew up in a small farming town in North Carolina, Cal was pretty different for me. For the first time, I was surrounded by people who thought very differently from me. And I learned so much from them! Most importantly, I learned the value of surrounding yourself with people who are different from you, with different perspectives and life experience, and to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes before judging their perspective. The best ideas and the best creations are birthed from diverse teams.
Do you have any advice for current IEOR students?
1. Make friends. This is the easiest time in life to make friends, and you will be shocked by how small of a world it is out here. The stronger relationships you build, the better you will be prepared.
2. Work during school, start now. Your learning in classes is multiplied in effectiveness once you start working. Second, it’s the easiest way to get a great job afterwards — either directly