Penn State alumnus and CEO of Land’s End Jerome Griffith visited the university on Friday to share some tips with budding entrepreneurs and innovators for Penn State Startup Week.
“You have to understand ‘What am I good at? What am I not good at?’ and how to deal with that,” Griffith said to the audience at Alumni Hall.
Griffith said he’s not an entrepreneur, but a fixer. He’s spent the majority of his professional career fixing broken companies, divisions and those with financial problems.
He said he went through training in an industry where he was told, “You’ll figure it out or you won’t,” and many didn’t, but he did.
Griffith, the first person in his family to attend college, went on to work with many companies, including Gap and Tommy Hilfiger.
Throughout his career, Griffith said he witnessed numerous decisions that led to either growth and improvement or downsizing and liquidation.
When it comes to decision-making, Griffith said self-awareness and situational awareness are key.
He added that when a mistake is made, own up to it and then try something new because oftentimes employees are rated on how they get things done.
“Your business is your report card and you get graded every day,” he said.
Griffith came out of retirement to accept the job at Land’s End. When asked why, he said he simply enjoys what he does.
“Find something you really enjoy because then it’s like you’re barely working,” he said.
Griffith also gave a shoutout to his alma mater and the type of students it produces.
“I always say, people from this place (Penn State) have the best work ethic,” he said.
Lastly, Griffith reiterated the importance of adapting to the situation.
“There are no guarantees in life,” he said. “You have no idea what will happen in the marketplace.
Caralyn Reese is a Penn State journalism student.