Valerie Grubb began her career at Rolls Royce, the high end automobile manufacture, while earning her bachelor’s degree at Kettering University. She later moved on to become the director of operations for USA Networks, helped found the Oxygen Channel with Oprah Winfrey, and then became the vice president of strategic operations and initiatives for NBC Universal. She has continued to rub shoulders with many very influential people as the principal of her own consulting firm, Val Grubb & Associates, Ltd., but she said it was at her first job with Rolls Royce that she received the most influential advice of her business career.
Grubb: “Ron Riffel, who was the executive vice president of sales at Rolls Royce, once told me ‘never be afraid to do what it takes to get the job done.’ I was bitching about doing something that I felt was ‘beneath me’ (hey, I was 20 years old at the time) and that’s when he coached me that when doing a job, you can’t be afraid to do what it takes – even the yucky stuff – to get the job done. Brilliant advice and it’s stuck with me to this day. It’s especially important in what I do – in operations; it’s all a bunch of little things – some/most yucky – that make up the job and you can’t shy away from that.
“The second piece of advice was from another Rolls Royce guy named Pete (unfortunately cannot remember his last name). He told me I may never be happy with one career. At the time (again, think back to when you’re in your 20’s) I was actually kinda mad and hurt at this comment. I felt it was an indictment on me and how I was so restless. Now, at 45, I understand that he was right. I am someone who likes to reinvent myself and that’s OK. In fact, it’s more than OK. I’ve been in engineering for 11 years (including five in school), in entertainment for 12 years and now have had my own company for four years. I like reinvention and somewhere along the line, I realized Pete was right and I was OK.”
Grubb earned her MBA in 2001 from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
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Edited by Dustin Bass, @dbass_cmn