President and CEO, Paychex, Inc.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
To listen. I learned that from my mother and grandmother. Both were great listeners who taught me to respect others and to listen more than I spoke. In addition to being a great listener, to succeed in business long term, you have to be a lifelong learner, build and count on a team, and be able to assess any situation you face accurately. You can’t do this without listening to those around you and then learning from their input. A quote that’s always resonated with me is, “To know and not to do is not to know.” To me, it means if you know what you have to do, do it. Don’t be afraid to act.
What’s been your biggest success?
I believe my biggest accomplishment has been the ability to take a team and re-accelerate the growth of the top and bottom line at Paychex. We’ve now doubled the revenue from $2B to $4B in 10 years and increased our market value from $10B to over $30B, which is what it is today. We did this by being relentless about achieving our goals and expanding the product set of the company; the sales, marketing, and service to our clients; and transforming Paychex to be known as much for our technology and innovation and human resource support as our personalized service and financial performance.
Who have been the biggest mentors in your career?
I have been lucky to have many important mentors in my career who have challenged me to think differently, identify new opportunities, and additional approaches to make the most of a situation and consider alternatives that I may not have normally thought about. The best mentors have been those who had different styles and approaches than I did at the time — they helped me grow the most as an individual and leader. My mentors have extended across a broad spectrum — from people I’ve worked for to people I work with, from my own teams to frontline employees.
What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?
That as a business community, we continue to work together to improve the opportunity that Rochester has to flourish in the future. The work of business and community leaders in initiatives like ROC2025 is critical to harnessing the combined strength of leaders to make a difference in education, racial equity, and job opportunities that will lead to sustained growth in our region.
This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 100 list for 2021. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at rbj.net.