19 Stellar Pieces of Advice from 19 CEOs

CEOs talk business…about life.


(Annette Shaff / Shutterstock.com)

CEOs know a thing or two about the school of life. Aside from the long hours at the office, endless meetings, and tireless strategizing, CEO often grapple with larger issues. Many work at balancing career and family, pursuing their passion in the face of adversity, and inevitably dealing with failure. Speaking from experience, here are 19 CEOs imparting what they’ve learned about this crazy journey called life.


CEO: Google
STELLAR ADVICE: “If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: Page originally wanted Google to be called “Backrub.”


CEO: Berkshire Hathaway
STELLAR ADVICE: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things different."
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: The origin of Berkshire Hathaway dates back to the New England Industrial Revolution.


CEO: General Motors
STELLAR ADVICE: “Do something you are passionate about, do something you love. If you are doing something you are passionate about, you are just naturally going to succeed.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: Barra is the first female CEO of a major global automaker.


CEO: Monetise
STELLAR ADVICE: “Build good habits. Whether it's time management, work ethic, setting work/life boundaries, exercising, eating well or being disciplined with your personal finances, habits are your baseline. When unexpected moments interfere in your life, it is long established habits that are your savior.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW:  As a website that operates on a consumer-first model, Monetise neither takes commissions nor charges its customers.


CEO: KX Group
STELLAR ADVICE:The first thing I would say is to travel the world. There is nothing more eye opening than travelling the globe to broaden your thinking and excel your communication skills with other people and cultures. Worldly experience is priceless. It's also about becoming more relatable to people which will only reflect positivity back in the real world.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: KX stands for Kaizen Experience, a Japanese philosophy that adapts a long-term, systematic approach to achieve small, incremental changes.


CEO: Dow Chemical
STELLAR ADVICE: “People can be bought with their pockets and they can be stimulated with their brains. But only if you win their hearts will they give you their fullest efforts driven by their passions.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: Dow Chemical is currently in the process of reinventing itself by hiring younger talent, emphasizing innovation, and investing in research.


CEO: Inspiring Rare Birds
STELLAR ADVICE: “Find your passion and then aim to be the best on the planet at what you do by having a ferocious hunger for learning. Both formally and through experience.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: With its four pillars - storytelling, funding, mentorship and community - Inspiring Rare Birds plans to create 1 million women entrepreneurs by 2020.



CEO: Gilt
STELLAR ADVICE: If you’re going to live a bold life, and if you’re going to take risks and try to step out of your comfort zone, you are going to occasionally fail, make some missteps and disappoint yourself…Grace is meeting those moments on the journey, then picking yourself back up, being humble enough to learn and not being too hard on yourself.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: A born entrepreneur, Peluso opened a swimming school in her backyard at 15 and served as the CEO of Travelocity for six years.


9. STEVE JOBS (1955– 2011)

CEO: Apple
STELLAR ADVICE: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: Jobs had an entire team devoted to packaging who studied the experience of opening a box to learn how to achieve the excitement and emotional response that is now so well-known with Apple products.


CEO: atmail.com
STELLAR ADVICE: “Live as much as you can and embrace all experiences as they come—fully and completely.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: Johnson is proud that his global messaging software business is not driven solely by the technical talent of his company. Rather, he says it’s the non-technical creative pursuits of the company’s musicians, poets, athletes and other diverse team members that drive its approach to innovation and the pursuit of excellence.


STELLAR ADVICE: “The most important is to make sure that you talk to yourself, that you think hard about what’s important to you and gives you meaning…It’s so healthy and important to be thinking, “Oh, I could have done that better.” Or, “What about this idea?” But nowadays, we’re on our iPhones all the time, and you don’t have time to talk with yourself, to analyze. It’s very important for people to know what gives them meaning. But it’s hard for people to figure out if you’re not connecting with yourself and taking the time to just be introspective and daydream.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: Lubetzy’s upbringing as the son of a Holocaust survivor and Mexican Jew influenced his decision to start his other company Peaceworks, which works to build peace in the Middle East.


CEO: Yahoo!
STELLAR ADVICE: “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: When she was young, Mayer always wanted to be a pediatric neurosurgeon. It was her first computer science class at Stanford that changed her mind.



CEO: FedEx
STELLAR ADVICE: “Leaders get out in front and stay there by raising the standards by which they judge themselves—and by which they are willing to be judged.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: At Yale University in the mid-1960s, Smith wrote an economics term paper on the need for reliable overnight delivery in a computerized information age. He received a C from his professor.


CEO: Los Angeles Opera
STELLAR ADVICE: “Don’t be afraid of tension and conflict. While it’s crucial that a leader not foment strife, it is equally important to have ballast against conventional wisdom, groupthink, and the path of least resistance. This is especially true in the opera house, where creative tension is absolutely essential in creating a product for the audience with maximum musical and theatrical rigor.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW:  Koelsch once said in an interview: “The opera house can and should be the center of cultural and political debate in our society.”


CEO: Tupperware Brands
STELLAR ADVICE: “It is both interesting and understandable that our resumes, bios, and even public introductions mostly focus on achievements, awards, and honors. And that’s nice! Yet it is often our failures, flops, and even face plants that are the most vital part of shaping us. These are the things that “make us.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: According to Tupperware brands, every 2.3 seconds, somebody somewhere in the world hosts a Tupperware party.


CEO: Pepco Holdings
STELLAR ADVICE: “Don’t worry too much about the material things. Be sure to experience life because this isn’t a dress rehearsal—it’s happening right now.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: Pepco Holdings is one of the largest energy delivery companies in the Mid-Atlantic region, serving approximately 2 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and New Jersey.


CEO: PepsiCo
STELLAR ADVICE: “Never stop learning. Whether you’re an entry-level employee fresh out of college or a CEO, you don't know it all. Admitting this is not a sign of weakness. The strongest leaders are those who are lifelong students."
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: Nooyi has been named the #1 Most Powerful Business Woman in the world in 2006 and 2007 by Fortune Magazine.


CEO: LearnVest
STELLAR ADVICE: "Sometimes when I’m mentoring people, I’ll say, ‘What’s your biggest dream?’ and it will be something small and I’ll say: ‘Dream bigger. Just give yourself the ability to say, “I want something bigger,” because who cares if you fail? Truly, who cares? So dream bigger because no one else is going to do it for you.’
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: As a company that provides financial planning to a huge audience that never had access to such a commodity before, LearnVest is considered the first-ever financial planner for the 99 percent.


CEO: Swipely
STELLAR ADVICE: “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no….What’s the harm in asking? What’s the worst that’s going to happen? Just ask—that’s been the story of my life.”
LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: Aside from being the CEO of Swipely, Davis is also active in education reform.


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CEO: Disney

STELLAR ADVICE: ...patience is extremely important because people set goals for themselves that often are unrealistic. It’s great to do that because you want to be ambitious, but you don’t have control of a lot of circumstances. And when you set these goals and they’re not met, the reasons are beyond your control, it creates impatience and you then make career decisions out of impatience. That’s a big mistake. One of my bosses once said that just when you think nothing’s going to change, everything changes.”

LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: Iger is known for collaborating with start-ups on Disney ideas and movies and even began a Disney accelerator program  to connect more start-ups with Disney funding.