On Leadership, Kindness and Authenticity – A Conversation Between Mentors


This morning I ran across some notes from a talk I went to with Tory Burch and Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google. Speaking to an audience of young professionals and entrepreneurs on leadership… they had some shared values and valuable ideas on what they wish they knew then. Tory Burch often talks about the importance of mentorship and credits Eric who is on her board with being a major influence on her.


Mentorship has been such a big part of my career. When I started my company I was an information gatherer — I went back to people I had worked with and got their advice. I leaned on it but then made my own decisions.” – Tory Burch

The highlights of their short talk highlighted here:

  • Establish high professional standards early in your career and never go below them
  • If you find people you really respect, find a way to work with them.  It’s more important who you do things with than what you do
  • Male dominating behavior has to be mitigated. The stronger your network, the more collaboration, the stronger the company
  • Pick the right partners. Bet on character and honesty
  • Eric’s best advice her ever got — the world is bigger and opportunities are greater than you think
  • Tory’s add: People define their aspirations too narrowly. For instance…I could have said I am going to design handbags vs. build an upscale fashion brand
  • Focus on one thing. You must articulate what that is. Start with one thing …then that one thing can revolutionize many things
  • You hear focus focus focus vs. think big. My answer is work harder
  • You trade off a significant unit of life for business. You cant be happy if don’t love what you do


I have always admired Tory Burch’s work ethic…from what I have read, she seems to have a commitment to building a flexible workplace based on quality over quantity much the way she lives her own life. Eric Schmidt I always thought a bit quirky – ever since he announced that kids should be able to wipe out their identity at 20 and start over.

So it was interesting when they got into a conversation about being true to yourself. Tory spoke of the importance of kindness as a successful businessperson. Talk turned to a leader of another tech company founder who Eric Schmidt had some negative experiences with.  Someone commented that they were not a very nice person but they were successful. Eric replied, “well at least he is authentically an a-hole.”  Made me laugh.  So kind or not…they agreed that you have to be authentic and true to yourself!

on Twitter

on Facebook

on Google+