E. Philip Saunders
Chairman, Genesee Regional Bank
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
As an entrepreneur, you must be hard working, driven, organized, have a desire to win, and know how to regroup in the wake of failure. The first four are almost a given. But that last point is the most important — and the toughest. Stay in an industry that you understand and like. Invest in a broad range of businesses but understand one of them is bound to not work out. Realize not everything will go your way 100 percent of the time. You will experience setbacks; it is the nature of business. Being able to move on from those setbacks is crucial.
What’s been your biggest success?
Although not terribly original, my biggest success is being able to give back to this community and help it move forward for the next generation. I believe the key to the long-term success of the Rochester region is having an educated workforce. Our educational institutions are among the most important resources we have. Establishing the Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology will have a long-standing impact on our community. At the University of Rochester, the Saunders Family Distinguished Professor in Neuromuscular Research helps recruit leading researchers.
What do you do to unplug in your free time?
I truly enjoy the outdoors and just taking in the simple pleasures of nature. There is nothing I do not like about being on my farm, whether it is fishing, hunting, hiking, snowmobiling, or riding on a tractor. They say being exposed to nature’s wonders stimulates your brain. I will tell you that some of my most creative ideas/solutions have come to me while enjoying time on the farm.