Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Manning & Napier
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
My father was a successful businessperson and I always remember the best lesson he ever taught me: The higher up you go, the more your job is to say “yes” to good ideas. This helped me understand that a manager must be surrounded by the very best people, and he/she must empower them fully and do everything to draw out their courage and creativity.
Who have been the biggest mentors in your career?
I’ve had many great mentors that I actually knew, but I will mention three key ones I never met. Socrates (as depicted by Plato). His tireless quest for ultimate truths is endlessly inspiring. Of course, he upset people so much that he was put to death, so I keep that in mind. Charlie Parker, the great jazz saxophonist. He pushed the boundaries of music with such astonishing brilliance. He also destroyed himself by the age of 35, so I keep that in mind. George Smiley, John LeCarre’s fictional spy. He navigated labyrinths within labyrinths with dogged persistence and penetrating insight.
What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?
We have so much to do to address the vast gaps in our society. It is stark in the Rochester area, and COVID has exacerbated the injustices. We all need to help in the ways that we can to support those most vulnerable and take steps to rectify inequalities and injustices.
What do you do to unplug in your free time?
My family adores traveling, the farther away the better. Exploring other worlds, other cultures is exhilarating. This has obviously been a bit harder recently, so I love to do the next best thing, which is to read voraciously and listen to a gigantic amount of music (I have over 50,000 CDs, vinyl records, cassettes, shellac discs, and Edison cylinders). Jazz is my greatest love (everything from 1920 to now) but I listen to tons of western classical music, blues, R&B, rap, rock, and music from everywhere in the world (indigenous, popular, and classical).