Wisdom at the Top Interviews



RicLepleyRick Lepley, Chief Executive, A.C. Moore

Quote from Rick’s Chapter: “At the end of the day, it’s not life and death. I tell my staff, ‘Have fun, we’re not selling nuclear waste here.’ These are crafts. People should have a good time in our stores. If our employees are enjoying their work, our customers will enjoy the time they spend shopping with us.”
Read Rick’s Complete Chapter

kevinkanKevin Kan, President and CEO, American Auto Wash, Inc.

Quote from Kevin’s Chapter:“I understand what our managers go through. I understand the difficulties of the hiring process. I understand the difficulties of training and maintaining quality services. When I tell my managers I want things to be done a certain way and they complain, I can say, ‘I’ve been there. I know it’s hard, but I know we can do it.’ I can speak with authority because I’ve had the same experience.”
Read Kevin’s Complete Chapter

Don Correll, President and CEODon Correll, President &CEO, American Water

Quote from Don’s Chapter:“I touch base with the top ten people in the organization at least once every other day, if not every day. I prefer face-to-face, next would be telephone. Last for me is sending an email. I haven’t reached the point where I find it personal enough. It’s just as easy to pick up the phone. I hear their voices and they hear mine. It’s the next closest thing to meeting them face to face. I’m also an absolute subscriber to management by walking around (MBWA). When you have face time, you know you’re connecting with someone. I fear the day when the majority of communication is through the internet, because then we’ve lost the personal touch.”
Read Don’s Complete Chapter

DaveYostDave Yost, President & Chief Executive Officer, AmerisourceBergen

Quote from Dave’s Chapter: “I think the guy at the top sets the tone for the organization, not in an egocentric way, but the guy in charge has to walk the talk because people watch what you do versus what you say.”

Read Dave’s Complete Chapter

TimAndrewTim Andrews, President and Chief Executive Officer, Advertising Specialty Institute
Quote from Tim’s Chapter: “The challenge is to keep your employees focused, grounded in truth and not in fear. What we have now is a nation grounded in fear and not focused on the future. If everyone’s afraid about what’s going to happen, then it’s going to happen. Yes, there are a lot of people without jobs, but at the end of the day 92% of people do have jobs. In a downturn, people are still spending money and you have to find out how to get that business.”

Read Tim’s Complete Chapter

MarkBaiadaMark Baiada, President and Founder, Bayada Nurses

Quote from Mark’s Chapter: “People who become successful set a goal and stay on the goal, which means they’re fully, totally engaged. They’re in the flow. In each moment, they’re on their goal. It’s like being an athlete in the middle of a sports event–you’d better be alert to what’s happening and what you need to do. This applies to business or anything else you do–in each moment, just stay on goal.”

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BinswangerDavid Binswanger, President and CEO, Binswanger

Quote from David’s Chapter: “If you put work first, you’re making a huge mistake. If family and community, no matter how you define them, are not equally important to you and part of your life, you’re probably not going to be a great leader. You may understand the numbers, but you’ll never understand the people. Every business is a people business, no matter what it is. When you lose track of that, you’re in trouble. The financial crisis, in my opinion, was the result of putting numbers before people.”

Read David’s Complete Chapter

BrownsteinMarc Brownstein, President and CEO, Brownstein Group

Quote from Marc’s Chapter: “People may have different personalities, but what aligns them are shared values. We’re clear about our core values. I want people who take smart risks. I want people who have sweaty palms in terms of their ideas, because their ideas scare them a little. I want people with fire in their bellies. I want people with integrity. I want wickedly smart people. I want people who think about ‘we’ rather than ‘me.’ The culture is very strong here and weeds out people who interview well, but who don’t really share those values.”

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tedpetersTed Peters, Chairman and CEO, Bryn Mawr Trust Company

Quote from Ted’s Chapter: “Sometimes it can be lonely at the top. Surround yourself with people who will tell you exactly what they think. I have a CFO who’s a brilliant guy, we’re good friends, and yet we go at it all the time. You have to be open and willing to accept criticism and admit mistakes. If you screw up, tell people. I’ve screwed up plenty of times.”
Read Ted’s Complete Chapter

jeff gravesDr. Jeff Graves, CEO, C&D Technologies

Quote from Jeff’s Chapter: “When we do major layoffs, I always do a number of them myself. When you have to sit across from someone who’s angry and crying, you say, ‘Never again is this going to happen on my watch. I’m going to do everything I can to avoid this.'”

2007012vprDavid Adleman, President and CEO, Campus Apartments

Quote from David’s Chapter: “The only thing that gets you through the tough times is knowing that you’ve had such a good time doing it, and that it’s impossible not to have a bump in the road. That kind of momentum will carry you through everything. You also need to appreciate what you’ve already accomplished, instead of being caught up in growth, growth, growth.”

edsniderEd Snider, Chairman, Comcast-Spectacor

Quote from Ed’s Chapter: “When you’re starting something and you have to make it work or you’re broke, you’re a micromanager. You know every single detail of every single thing that’s going on. So when I started the Flyers and the Spectrum, I knew absolutely everything that was going on because I had to make payroll every week and I didn’t know how I was going to do it. Now that we’ve grown and are much more prosperous, I don’t micromanage. My people keep me informed and the things that come my way are the things that are really important. I put someone in a job and let them do it.”

pearsonMike Pearson, President, Contemporary Staffing Solutions

Quote from Mike’s Chapter: “Being a CEO is more grueling than glamorous, not like the TV shows. You’ll have a month or two of pure excitement and growth, and then it all explodes on you, and you say to yourself, ‘How did that happen? I didn’t see it coming.’ So I always say, don’t get too comfortable.”

adamsJoel Adams, President, Devon Consulting

Quote from Joel’s Chapter: “CEOs will get plenty of conflicting advice all the time. The best CEO is the one who is able to judge a situation and apply the right piece of advice to that situation. And I don’t believe there is any way to teach that. You can read a lot of case studies. You can learn to see patterns of problems and ways to solve them. But which piece of learning you apply still comes down to the choices you make.”

richterIrv Richter, Chairman and CEO, Hill International, Inc.

Quote from Irv’s Chapter: “The most critical thing in running a business is being able to deal with people. The other is having vision. Those skills don’t necessarily overlap. Having a vision often has nothing to do with your ability to deal with people.”

ibx 167Joe Frick, President & CEO, Independence Blue Cross

Quote from Joe’s Chapter: “I’m more and more convinced that we have a responsibility, as leaders, to have a personal brand that’s impeccable because people want to feel good about their companies and their leaders, particularly when you read about inappropriate business or personal conduct that taints our whole profession.”

Read Joe’s Complete Chapter

cohenLes Cohen, Executive Director, Jewish Community Center of Southern New Jersey

Quote from Les’ Chapter: “I subscribe to the power of one theory–that one person can make a difference and move things forward. Imagine the cumulative effect of all of those powers of one coming together? Even though it sounds corny, most of us came into this field because we wanted to build a better world. And I think that we’ll build a better world. When we remind ourselves about that, it helps put things in perspective.”

spectorJay Spector, CEO, JEVS Human Services

Quote from Jay’s Chapter: “Every decision has to be thought through strategically. Sometimes when you rush to make a decision, you fail to consider all the possible ramifications.”

karsanRudy Karsan, CEO, Kenexa Technology Inc.

Quote from Rudy’s Chapter: “In my mind, CEO stands for our three most important stakeholders—our clients, our employees and our owners. So I look at serving those three stakeholder groups.”

griffithDavid Griffith, President and CEO, Modern Group Ltd.

Quote from David’s Chapter: “My job is real simple: to make sure we do a great job of hiring and then get those people what they need to succeed. That’s the definition of being a good CEO. I don’t have a big ego to feed. If I can leave behind a great company that preserved and grew jobs, that’s just fine.”

soperRobert Soper, President and CEO, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Quote from Bobby’s Chapter: “Leadership is about respect. It’s about humility. It’s about objectivity and not being emotional. For me, those attributes differentiate the great leaders from the ones who are merely good. Many leaders have great experience and background, but ego often gets in their way.”

goldenJane Golden Heriza, Executive Director, Mural Arts Program

Quote from Jane’s Chapter: “I think one of the hardest things in life is for us to see things from another point of view. When that happens, when your perception has shifted, even slightly, I find that to be a victory, a triumph of the human spirit, in a sense, and that’s what I love about the work.”

*Photo by Shea Roggio for Philadelphia Magazine.

ciaruffoliRobert J. Ciaruffoli, Chief Executive Officer, ParenteBeard LLC

Quote from Robert’s Chapter:“…if anything, drives me. It’s not about me or my partners, or just about money. One of the questions we ask ourselves about everything we do, especially from a risk standpoint, is how does it affect 650 families? There’s no way in the world I will ever let anything happen that jeopardizes this firm or the 650 families that depend on it.”

zuritskyJoseph S. Zuritsky, Chairman and CEO, Parkway Corporation

Quote from Joe’s Chapter: “It’s difficult to run a business with people who have big egos. We needed people with good skills, but who are also team players. People who enjoyed working with other staff and working for the success of the venture.”

coradinoJoseph F. Coradino, President, PREIT Services, LLC

Quote from Joe’s Chapter: “”

eppsHarold Epps, President and CEO, PRWT Services, Inc.

Quote from Harold’s Chapter: “Practice the ‘R’ before the ‘I’. In other words, put the relationship before the issues. If I’m going to do a sales call or if I see you as a prospect, I’m going to invite you to play golf or take you to a baseball game, and I’m not likely to talk business at all. Before we get to that, we’re just going to get to know each other.”

Quaker ChemicalMike Barry, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Quaker Chemical Corporation

Quote from Mike’s Chapter: “I think there are three keys to running a good business. You have to have a good strategy, and you need to actively involve your team in developing strategy. You have to have good people throughout the organization…And then you have to be able to execute very well, and have good processes and systems in place to reach your goals.”

boniPeter J. Boni, President & CEO, Safeguard Scientifics, Inc.

Quote from Peter’s Chapter: “Have a focus for where you want to go. Then have a clear vision for how to get there. Surround yourself with good, high-quality people. It makes all the difference. Energize them, and get motivation from them as well.”

mcdermottBill McDermott, Co-CEO, Member SAP Executive Board, SAP AG

Quote from Bill’s Chapter: “I honestly believe that the best way to get your dreams fulfilled in life is to help the people who count on you to achieve theirs. And if I do that well, everything is going to take care of itself, one way or another.”

condeCristobal Conde, President & CEO, Sungard Data Systems, Inc.

Quote from Cris’ Chapter: “You need to earn enough to live, but it’s much more important to make a job choice on the basis of the team you’re joining. Over the course of a fulfilling career, you won’t remember what you made when you started out.”

stengelMary Stengel Austen, President and CEO, The Tierney Group

Quote from Mary’s Chapter: “Men and women are built differently in terms of their makeup, but I think we have many of the same desires, issues, distractions, and frustrations. I don’t feel I’ve ever been taken less seriously because I’m a woman.”

michalJill Michal, President and CEO, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Quote from Jill’s Chapter: “I really value getting things right over being right. I’m a facilitator and driver of change, but it’s really more about getting people engaged and using their talents effectively to make that happen.”

Canon Digital CameraRichard P. Miller, President and CEO, Virtua

Quote from Richard’s Chapter: “If you don’t have that balance, you’re going to run into a problem along the way. I tell my senior management that I don’t want to see their emails on Sunday afternoon. Have a life. Take your kids out. They’re only going to be young for a short time.”

lombardoDan Lombardo, CEO, Volunteers of America of Delaware Valley

Quote from Dan’s Chapter: “The people who work here bring something to the battle themselves–an abiding commitment to serve. Because if you’re in it for the money, you’re in the wrong business. We recruit folks who have a sense of mission and purpose in their lives.”

howard stoeckelHoward Stoeckel, President & CEO, Wawa, Inc.

Quote from Howard’s Chapter: “We have six deeply held values that guide almost everything we do in this business. Value people. Delight customers. Do things right. Do the right things. Embrace change. Have a passion for winning. If decisions embrace most of those values, they prove to be very, very successful decisions.”