CEO Club Briefing


Excerpt from remarks to Boston College Chief Executives Club  

February 6, 2019


Who in your life influenced you?

I’ve got a lot of mentors. Most of them you’ve never heard of. I mean, these are people who are like the intense—the plant explorer who lives out in Seattle—he really got me interested in varieties of plants, different species and cultivars, and I really learned a lot about horticulture from him—Dan Hinkley. And then there’s the cooks. Julia Child was one of my mentors. I cooked every single one of Julia’s recipes assiduously until I knew how to cook and knew how to make my best French bread. My daughter still says my croissants were as good as any croissant she’s ever had—ever, anywhere. So that’s good. And Julia’s recipe taught me. And I was on her show several times. She came to visit me and had lunch with my mom. They were about the same age. And how nice it was to get those two ladies in the same room. 

David Rockefeller, who died at 102 last year—he, too, was one of—I would consider him one of my mentors. He was my neighbor in Maine. What a lovely gentleman and how kind and how totally free—he gave his advice so freely and nicely. Really great guy. So, he was one of my mentors.

And then there’s—I had an old boyfriend who was one of my mentors. He taught me all about software. He designed Excel and Word, and I learned a lot from him. He learned a lot from me, too, because I taught him how to be an entrepreneur. He started a company after he left Microsoft.

Those are the kinds of people—very kind of thoughtful, intellectual, educated—educated in your mind people.