Ellen J. Kullman
Ellen J. Kullman, former Chair and CEO of duPont, and the first woman to hold to lead the company in its 212-year history. Currently, Ellen is an independent director on the board of Goldman Sachs.
“I guess I never really viewed it as a glass ceiling. You know, I was just focused on my job. I think having the history with the company, 22 years. I think having a science background, being an engineer. I think having proved myself in a series of business roles, very different kind of business roles from each other. So I was a known entity to them. They understood who I was, how I thought, and really what my drivers were. And I think that was a huge help.
Parenting is good training to be CEO because we can’t control our children’s actions, right? We can counsel them. We can reprimand them. We can motivate them. But at the end of the day you’re taking this child and trying to instill values into them… And I think it helped me become more patient. It helped me understand that jus because I said so wasn’t a reason for them to do anything. I had to learn that listening side in order to really be successful. And I think having three kids really helped me with that. When you manage a household, three kids, all the stuff, you’ve got to focus on the important stuff. And not the little stuff. And I think that’s very, very true in business.
NBR, Photograph via University of Virginia