Jack Carew, a member of the class of 1959 is a distinguished speaker who uses his leadership qualities and his people skills to enlighten students and professionals from many different backgrounds, including non-profit work, educational work and members of the business community. Carew International, founded in 1976 by Jack provides services for Coca-Cola, Harvard University, John Deere, Moody’s Investor Services and Siemens.
Torch: You have been to many colleges around the nation. How does St. John’s compare to them?
Carew: St. John’s holds a special place in my heart because when I graduated from St. John’s they got me a job and they always got me tickets to a sports games, when I didn’t have $2.50 for sports tickets. So I think of St. John’s as a “boot strap school.” We’re not as fancy as other schools, but I think, pound-for-pound, the people at St. John’s are the best of the best. I’m connected to the school in every respect. No school could have done for me, what St. John’s did. I got to be the substitute speaker for graduation [in 2000] and I got an honorary degree. I have seen St. John’s do some extraordinary things. They reassured a lot of people by welcoming them back with respect.”
Torch: You mentioned before that in order to be a good leader in business you have to have encouragement, is their anything else that a good leader requires?
Carew: I think that it is important to walk the walk and talk the talk, don’t ask people to do things that you wouldn’t do. Leaders like my [relative] went to a business conference in Hawaii and her boss said you stay here until you get this deal done. She worked late into the night to get the job done, while her manager sat by the swimming pool and had drinks with other managers. That is so bad for a manager. You have got to get into it. You know Tony was the captain of the Central Michigan, I think he can add something about leadership.
Torch: Part of being a good manager is maintaining a good work enviorment. How do you as a manager maintain a good work environment as a manager?
Carew: Number one is listen to your colleagues, that is showing them that you care. Managers are not encouraging people enough, it’s important for them to say ‘you can do it, you have it!’ Let me do whatever I need to do to help me make you successful. I believe in encouragement and reassurance. When people make a big mistake you can criticize them and chastise them or you can encourage them to come back and give them hope. Hope is everything.
Torch: Why do you think these factors are missing in today’s businesses?
Carew: I think a lot of today’s leaders never learned how to lead, they just learned how to operate the business, but interpersonally they didn’t. I believe in mentoring, if you want your people to me successful they need to be mentored. Give them the benefit of your wisdom and your mistakes.
Torch: In management you have to organize all of your assets, be it human assets or assets of the business. How do you organize as a manager?
Carew: You need to plan. When I was in the Marines we always had to plan, it is the plan and the strategic objective that helps you reach the objective, such as I need more sales people, I need my employees better trained.
Torch: How do you balance short term planning with long term planning as a business manager?
Carew: You have to be able to plan, organize, direct and control if you are a manager. Organizing is asset distribution and control and being able to lead the charge. If you are not able to lead the charge, you don’t want to lead a horse charge if you can’t run with the horses.
You have to be flexible, if it’s not working you have to change it. Always try to engage your colleagues, I think of them not as subordinates, I think of them as colleagues. I learned from an army lieutenant one time that said that leadership is [defined as] ‘officers eat last.’ In business that means that you have to look after your people, look at their best interest and treat them with respect.