Arthur M. Blank ’63, H’98 steps into the Grand Salon of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation office in Atlanta, and almost immediately, wants to hear directly from the Babson College students seated in front of him.
He’s enthusiastic about all the future leaders learning at the No. 1 school for entrepreneurship, and how they’ve set their sights on creating change, bettering their communities, and putting people first, just like Blank has done throughout his illustrious entrepreneurial career as the co-founder of The Home Depot and current owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’ Atlanta United F.C., among many other entities. He’s so confident in Babson students that in 2019, he made a historic $50 million gift to the institution to help establish its Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
As part of Good Company, Good Game: Law, Ethics & Leadership in Sports Business, a new and unique weeklong course taught by Assistant Professor of Practice Leslie Garbarino in which students studied Blank’s family of businesses in his home of Atlanta, a group of undergraduates had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pick the brain of Blank and hear some of his most powerful advice from his years as an entrepreneurial leader.
“If you follow your passion, you’re going to be happier and more successful,” Blank told the group. “A sense of purpose is really important. I don’t really feel when I’m going to work, that I’m going to work. As early as you can, find those things that inspire you.”
“I am incredibly grateful to Mr. Blank for his generosity with both his time and the access he gave us to study the Blank Family of Businesses,” Garbarino said following the talk. “Speaking with Mr. Blank helped students see the importance of defining their own core values and standing by them, even when that may be challenging. He has changed so many lives by living his own core values, and now that list includes me and my students. We will all carry this experience and what we learned from it with us for the rest of our lives.”
These are the top pieces of leadership advice our students took away from the discussion.
“Keep core values aligned with the businesses you run. You really see through talking to him how he takes it into his own personal life. His core values are shown and represented through everything that he does.”
“Instill philanthropy and giving back in all your business practices. You just need to do the right thing, and all the success will follow.”
“Take your time to find out what you’re passionate about because it will help you in your career. Arthur makes it clear that the finances will follow when you do what you love.”
“Instill a philosophy where work and life become intertwined. That makes business decisions a lot easier.”
“It’s important to surround yourself with people who both understand and live by your core values and philosophy.”
“Finding your passion and being yourself, and doing what you enjoy, will lead to success. Make sure you understand and know yourself, it will set you up for a happier life.”
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