CEO was never tempted to give up
Occupation: President and CEO, Coffee Memorial Blood Center
Where did you receive your education?
University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Davis.
How has your education played a role in your life today?
My undergraduate and graduate degrees opened doors to so many career choices, not limited by my fields of academic expertise.
What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
I went straight from an unremarkable high school to one of the most prestigious and competitive universities in the world, and frankly I wasn't ready for it. I didn't realize how much more difficult it was going to be, how much more time I was going to have to spend on my studies. It's when those first grades came out that I got the message and made some significant adjustments in my priorities.
What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
Continuing your education is essential, but timing is everything. For some people, going straight through to a "final" degree is the right answer. That worked for me, but just barely. For others, it might be better to take some time off between high school and college, or before going on to post-graduate studies. There is no "one size fits all" answer.
When did you make education a priority?
Education did not really become a priority until I got to graduate school. That's when coursework and associated activities became my job rather that just a means to a getting a job. That was a key to future success.
What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
Some key teachers along the way played pretty important roles, even as far back as sixth grade. I wanted to be one of them, to learn what they knew and to command the respect that they seemed to command. It was pretty easy to see that continuing my education was the way to get there.
Did you ever think about quitting? What made you keep going?
I was never really tempted to quit. The real fear was that I might fail. During my undergraduate years at Cal-Berkeley, that possibility never seemed far away. I had to keep reminding myself that they (whoever they were) wouldn't have let me in if they (same folks) hadn't thought I could make it.