Unconventional Graduation Tips From Unlikely CEO

Fred Cook

Fred Cook

As 3.2 million U.S. college students graduate this month and next, Fred Cook’s advice in his new book, Improvise, is as good as any commencement address. The CEO of global public relations firm Golin Harris discussed his eclectic career with DePaul University public relations students last week, offering tips for  those soon entering the “real world”.

By the time Fred discovered the public relations profession in his mid 30s, he had accumulated a wide variety of fascinating life experiences that prepared him to lead. While you need to read the book, here are a few of my favorite words of advice from this unconventional leader:

Ask for Opportunities. . .and Promotions will Follow.

Expose Yourself. Amass life experiences. When traveling, it’s as simple as picking up pick up magazines that you’d normally never read. Enlarge your personal “database.”

Risk Failure. “When you start your own business you learn so much more than you would with an internship.”

Don’t Rush. Noting that he entered the corporate world at 36, about 15 years after his peers, Fred caught up and advanced quickly due to his relevant life experiences.

Make Your Own Rules. Encouraging students not to simply “drift,” Fred said students should discover their own paths to eventual careers. “Life is much more interesting if you don’t have a map for every step of the way.”

This brief video sums up Fred’s unique and entertaining career book. Read more about Fred Cook–including what’s on his iPod and Kindle–in his Golin Harris bio.

1 comment on this post.
  1. Lily Kim:

    An incredible life story from an unconventional leader. I was also lucky to have received his new book through the LAGRANT Foundation 16th Annual Conference this past week and am looking forward to the reading. Thanks for sharing Professor.

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