An educated decisionJamie Star ’89
Halfway through his clerkship with a U.S. federal judge, attorney Jamie Star ’89 decided he needed a job where his decisions had consequences.
A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, Star felt dissatisfied by the level of detachment involved in legal proceedings. “I wasn’t really taking any risk for my decisions or judgments,” he says. “I had a problem, and I’d do my best to try to fix it. But I never really had a great deal of risk involved.”
The stock market, by contrast, was all about risk — and it piqued Star’s interest. So when he learned that the judge was retiring, he took what became the first of many chances. He enrolled in Kellogg’s Full-Time MBA Program, hoping to carve out a new career in business.
Today, Star serves as president and CEO of Longview Asset Management, a leading Chicago-based private-asset-management firm that manages accounts for charities, individuals and trusts. The firm, Star explains, takes a “very long-term” approach to investing for its clients and makes investment decisions based on deep research.
“For me, investing is all about learning,” Star says. “You’re learning new industries, you’re learning new business models, you’re learning about people and you’re learning about organizational behavior — and where organizations tend to succeed or fail.”
That passion for learning has become a driving force in Star’s career, which post-Kellogg has included roles at Harris Associates and a precursor to Longview. Star also founded and ran a highly successful hedge fund, Star Partners, for five years before being named president of Longview in 2003.
Along with returns, Star has found great satisfaction in “working hard to come to a decision, placing your capital down and living with that decision,” he says. “Sometimes the experience is painful, and sometimes it’s pleasant. But you have to be committed.”
The courage to changeDoug Conant ’76
It sounds almost too simple.
But Doug Conant, the former CEO and president of Campbell Soup Company, insists that “helping people” is behind his success as a corporate leader and turnaround expert.
When Conant took the helm at Campbell, he inherited a whole host of problems — low sales, dwindling share prices, unmotivated employees and a toxic company culture. The Nabisco and General Mills veteran developed initiatives to improve morale, creating a place where people wanted to work. As part of the same turnaround strategy, he implemented social responsibility programs.
“The more we helped, the better we did,” says Conant, whose efforts led to sales growth for Campbell for eight consecutive years. The company also earned national recognition for its sustainability efforts and accolades for its workplace culture.
Today, as founder and CEO of ConantLeadership, chairman of Avon Products and newly minted chairman of the Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute, Conant is focused on training the leaders of tomorrow. Insisting that “leaders aren’t born; they’re made,” Conant encourages executives to continually work on their leadership development, engage in self-reflection and determine a mission for their life’s work.
For Conant, that mission is clear: “I delight in building high-performance teams that rise to challenges, thrive in the face of adversity and defy the critics,” he says. “It’s about having the courage of one’s convictions.”
Find additional information about Doug Conant at conantleadership.com or follow him on Twitter @DougConant.
WHY I GAVE TO KELLOGG
“I give my time and resources to Kellogg because it is uniquely poised to help improve the quality of leadership in the 21st century. The world is becoming an increasingly challenging place and Kellogg is bravely stepping forward to help leaders shape the future in an integrity-laden, high-performance fashion. How exciting!”