Yeah, I’m sure a lot of people tonight are going to talk about Bob and all of his accomplishments. Believe me, he’s one of a kind. He’s done it all. You know, private sector, public sector. I’m not as familiar with his his public sector experience with Procter & Gamble. But what I’ve read, it was outstanding. More familiar, I think, with his education and his background. He didn’t come from a lot of means. He’s a self-made man, but he’s a very determined individual. He knew he wanted to be in the military from a very young age. And the best way to get in there for him was to get an education at West Point, and he set about to do that and that’s exactly what he did do. One of the great stories I do know about him is that during his first semester at West Point, do you get graded there every day? He found out that he was only 200 in rank, 200 in his class of 2000. And the story goes, You said I’ve never been to 100 in anything. And so he set about to improve his grades and ultimately graduated in the top two percent of his class. And I think the exact number was 13th. That’s really interesting for me because I like to tell the story about how I graduated in the top two percent only it was the fourth quartile, everybody. And we have to cut that part out and maybe I don’t know. But anyway, leadership, you know, there’s so much and I’m sure a lot of people tonight are going to talk about the leadership, and I certainly will as well. But the other value that I hold in very highly myself is integrity. Bob has both leadership and integrity. We were taught at the academy to shoot from the high ground and by high ground, in Bob’s case, I’m talking about the moral high ground Bob is has impeccable ethics and integrity, something I know he’s very proud of and I’m very proud for him.
So, Bob, when he was at the VA, I know he had a difficult time. Those were challenging years with the recession and all, and quite frankly, there were so many veterans coming home and many people felt that they weren’t being adequately treated and attended to, which he felt. Also, the hard part was what to do about that. I think Bob made more headway in those years than any others had certainly his predecessor. But he and the reason why he was able to do that was because he had this value that I mentioned earlier of integrity, and he has always been a person who expresses himself by what he thinks and how he feels. When Bob tells you something. It’s from the heart, always. And I think that was in great part why he was highly successful as a secretary of the VA.
Sure. And I’d like to just mention about Bob’s early years, and of course, this is what I’ve read about him. He came from very humble beginnings. He was born in Gary, Indiana. Here’s a story goes across the fence from the U.S. steel plant in Gary. He would say that his family was middle income, but certainly not wealthy in any respect. He was so determined as a young man to go into the military and to serve the country that even in the sixth grade, he would tell people that that was what he was going to do and he set out to do it. That’s exactly what he did do. He got a congressional appointment and went to West Point. He graduated as a brigade adjutant, which, if I remember correctly, is like number two and the brigade staff, certainly something that everybody would like to have been. But he did that and he did it to a lot of hard work, perseverance. And like I said, the song traits of leadership that he even exhibited even as a young man.
Well, Bob certainly has a very strong compassion for veterans, and he’s exhibited that all of his life. He upon graduation, he went into the army infantry. He was in the 80 second airborne doesn’t get any better than that unless you’re in the 101st. So he advanced himself to the rank of captain, I believe, got a graduate degree and won numerous medals along the way and then decided it was time to make a change. And he had the opportunity to get a job at Procter and Gamble at the lowest level in 33 years later. He retired as chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble. Now I’ll tell you what that is really some accomplishment and not easily done. But along the way he had to have made a lot of friends in the way he did. That was by his outstanding ability to lead and to that effort. He’s still leading. I think Bob is 75 in that area anyway and still is one of the busiest guys I know and volunteers for innumerable board opportunities, and I give him a lot of credit for that.
Sure. Well, one of the things I’d like to talk about is how Bob inspires me to do better at what it is I do. I’ve called him numerous times on different matters. He’s always so gracious and so generous with his time that I think to myself to use. If I could be a little more like Bob McDonald in the world would have to be a better place. He’s helped me on numerous occasions on matters of personal matters and so forth, and I’m greatly appreciative for that.
So, Bob, congratulations tonight. This is an outstanding affair. We’re so proud of you and what you’ve accomplished and so proud that we can show you higher our heroes. It is truly an outstanding organization. Enjoy the evening. You and Diane in. So nice to see you again.
About The Naturals A culturally rich team passionately uniting diverse talents and a profound love for nature, seamlessly weaving together shared values, unique backgrounds, and an unbreakable bond with the natural world. Event Focus and Takeaways Grasp Common Pitfalls Conquer Cultural Challenges Decode Culture Dynamics Harness High-Performance Mastery Distinguished Guest Speakers Johnson, Sector VP & […]
Bob McDonald will be speaking at the Purdue University School of Business Executive Forum on the topic of values based leadership and how they impact the success of an organization and its people. 10 Principles of Leadership Living a life driven by purpose is more meaningful and rewarding than meandering through life without direction. Companies […]
We hope you enjoy these images from the 2023 Alumni Parade and Distinguished Graduate Award Ceremony at West Point.