T. Bondurant French

CEO / Adams Street Partners

Staying in motion

T. Bondurant French ’76, pictured with wife Holly, complements work with volunteering

The secret to T. Bondurant French’s success lies in his mother’s advice: “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.”

“When you’re in motion, you stay in motion and you get organized,” explains French. “You get stuff done.”

Indeed, as CEO of Adams Street Partners, the Chicago-based firm that pioneered the private equity investment industry, French manages a portfolio worth more than $25 billion.

But equally important to French is volunteerism. He serves as a trustee to Northwestern and the Chicago History Museum, where he also is chair. Between Northwestern and Kellogg, he sits on eight committees.

French participates in a number of other civic and professional associations, but also finds time to explore his own interests, like working with the Madison, Wis.-based Center for Railroad Photography and Art as its chairman.

French credits his parents for both his work ethic and altruism. Growing up in Peoria, Ill., he watched his family spend as much time volunteering for nonprofits as they did working.

“You find the time,” he says.

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