In any strong MBA program, you get plenty of opportunity to hear about the application of specific disciplines from researchers, experts, and professionals at the top of their field. What you don’t get as often is the chance to hear a successful, dedicated leader talk openly and intimately about their life journey, their successes and failures, and values that led them along the way.
Recently, I had the privilege of attending a lunch event sponsored by Fisher’s Black MBA Association, wherein we heard from Ramon Gregory, who is Senior Vice President, Customer Care Shared Services for Cardinal Health. With more than 25 years of experience leading customer service and contact centers, Mr. Gregory can speak with authority on multiple topics, but at this event, he focused on his professional journey, the way he and his family navigated the various forks in the road that they encountered as he balanced raising a family with leading in a company, and the mindset of a leader.
As he spoke, Mr. Gregory kept coming back to a phrase that seemed to be very important to him: “from success to significance.” Although he never directly explained the phrase or specified how he came across it, he used it to underscore a shift in his professional perspective that seemed to occur over the years. Although he is extremely successful, he seems to have come to a conclusion that I have heard expressed before from men and women of high achievement. He communicated to us that success is great, and that we—as MBAers who are hungry to get out into the world and climb the ranks—should do so. Success comes with a lot of benefits, and he recommends them. But he said that once success is attained, there is something more important that he hopes we will set our eyes on. That to lead truly significant lives, we should invest in the process of knowing, developing, and collaborating with people. Mr. Gregory spoke with kindness, honesty, and humility about his dedication to serving others, developing leaders who work for him, and leading a life that will benefit not only his company, but the people who work there, in powerful and meaningful ways. I am thankful to him for his transparency and willingness to speak to a room of strangers about some of his deepest convictions, and I hope I am blessed with the opportunity to put them into practice.