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Membership: Member Interviews

John Shields

(Interview continued from e-mail newsletter.)

Q. Do you have any advice you can offer to more recent HBS grads in the area?
A. I have two thoughts on that. First, take a job that really allows you to build a knowledge base. That's what happened to me with Jewel. I really learned a lot about retail. Second, I meet with a lot of folks to offer advice and counseling. I never do this for profit, and it's just amazing to me how often it comes back to you in spades, helping you, later in life. Just this week I have met with at least three of my contemporaries who are looking to make career changes. It's really fun to do. So, secondly, I would say be generous in offering your time and advice.
Q. What is the best HBS NEO event you ever attended?
A.

Well, I can tell you the worst. The reason I am not active in the club goes back to a bad experience I had with the club. When I was CEO of First National Supermarkets, we were sued by one of your members. At about the time the suit was being filed, I came and did a presentation to the club on the conversion of Pick and Pay to Finast, with the understanding that all I said would be off the record and that this member would be asked not to attend the meeting. Well, it turns out he came to the meeting, and he used my remarks in the lawsuit, which was unsuccessful, but I was furious that the club did not censure the member and his consultant, who was the chairperson of that breakfast meeting.

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