STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 11/21/2011

Conversations: Leading and Succeeding In an Uncertain World

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

by Natalie Ferjulian '10

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

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

“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 the world,” says Lindsay.

Ullman, a former White House Fellow who has led five major enterprises on three continents, discussed challenges facing American business today—including unemployment, adjusting to a global economy, and executive compensation.

“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 inspiring visions for their teams 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 in 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."

This first event in the Conversations with the President series was 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

Natalie Ferjulian ’10 is Gordon College’s assistant community relations writer. In addition to telling the stories of the campus community, she enjoys cycling the roads of the North Shore.

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