The Latest with Lindsay: last updated 10/27/2011

Leading and Succeeding in an Uncertain World

J. C. Penney CEO Joins President Lindsay to Inaugurate New Series

By Natalie Ferjulian

Drawing upon experience honed while conducting the largest-ever empirical study based on interviews with senior leaders, Dr. D. Michael Lindsay launched the first major event in a new series—Conversations with the President—by welcoming J. C. Penney Chairman and CEO Myron (Mike) E. Ullman III as his first guest.

More than 250 guests joined Lindsay and Ullman on October 14, 2011, at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast and conversation at the Westin Copley Place in Boston, Massachusetts, including Boston business professionals, alumni and friends.

“It is my hope that these conversations will give professionals in the Greater Boston area the opportunity to be enriched by the perspective of top leaders in the country and world,” says Lindsay.

Ullman, a former White House Fellow who has led five major enterprises on three continents, discussed the political challenges facing American business today. Such issues include unemployment, adjusting to a global economy, executive compensation and Christian faith in leadership.

“I always try to think in terms of ‘what can I give back’ (through my work) and not, ‘what can I get,’” says Ullman. “I’m successful because I don’t take myself too seriously, but I take my work very seriously.”

Ullman also discussed his role as CEO of J. C. Penney in increasing customer satisfaction and financial success.

“I tried to set the direction for Penney’s by encouraging managers to develop an inspiring vision for their team and letting every store have its own personality,” says Ullman.

President Lindsay met Ullman seven years ago while completing his book, Faith in the Halls of Power. He most recently expanded that research through his PLATINUM Study, which encompasses interviews with 550 prominent American leaders in Fortune 500 corporations as well as government, nonprofit and educational institutions

“I chose Mike for our first conversation because he is an extraordinary model of a wildly successful business executive who exemplifies the Christian character we hope our students will bring to their leadership roles,” says Lindsay. “It is my hope that today’s conversation was an inspiration to all who attended.”

The Conversations With the President series is made possible by Presidential Sponsors Daintree Advisors LLC and the Boston Business Journal; Executive Sponsors Brad and Pam Warner; and 20 Partner Sponsors.

The next conversation in the series will be held March 8, 2012 with Gerard Arpey, chairman and CEO of American Airlines, Inc. For more details contact Kathy Walker, assistant to the president for external relations, by emailing