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Mary Pat McCarthy’s
Leadership Reflections

Mary Pat McCarthyWhile serving on the boards of directors for Motorola and Motorola Solutions, I chaired their audit committees for several years. In so doing, I worked with KPMG’s U. S. vice chair, Mary Pat McCarthy. An exemplary leader, she is a model of ethical and professional standards.

After learning about Mary Pat’s experiences working with such corporate leaders as Steve Jobs and Jack Welch, I invited her to meet with my leadership class. At the time, Mary Pat lived in Kansas City and made multiple trips to Fayetteville. The students (and I) were fascinated with stories Mary Pat shared from her extensive career and benefited from advice drawn from numerous experiences during her journey.

(By the way, there must be something about me that causes people to associate me with audit committees. I served on and chaired audit committees for Eastman Chemical, J. B. Hunt, Logility, Motorola, and Russell, as well as NCAA’s board. In so doing, I worked with senior partners from the Big Four audit firms and benefited from their advice and counsel.)

Among leadership reflections Mary Pat shared with students are the following.

  • “We did not raise the bar for you to run under it.”
  • “One way you can determine if you are an effective leader is to see if people want to work with you or for you.”
  • “I measure success by the number of people on my team who are promoted to partner in the firm.”
  • “Treat your career as a marathon, not a sprint.”
  • “Set high standards, take care of the people on your team, listen attentively and carefully, and maintain high ethical standards.”
  • “Exercise to relieve stress.”
  • “Respect those with whom you compete.”
  • “Whatever you do, be the best at it.”
  • “Always do the right thing.”
  • “Leaders should be self-deprecating.”
  • “Set high standards and have impeccable integrity.”
  • “Don’t run away from tough situations, run toward them.”
  • “Be a good listener.”
  • “Don’t ask someone to do something you will not do yourself.” Mary Pat relocated her family from Silicon Valley to Kansas City. She walked her talk.

In addition to what I learned from Mary Pat through her visits with my leadership class and our interactions at Motorola’s audit committee meetings, my leadership journey benefited from several McGraw-Hill books she coauthored:

  • Agile Business for Fragile Times: Strategies for Enhancing Competitive Resiliency and Stakeholder Trust
  • Security Transformation: Digital Defense Strategies to Protect Your Company’s Reputation & Market Share
  • Designed to Win: Strategies for Building a Thriving Global Business.

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