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Five Minutes with Judson Green

Published: October 24, 2008
Judson Green

Image by Matthew Gilson

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Clearly my greatest accomplishment, which I share with my wife, Joyce, has been to raise a loving and talented family—two fabulous kids, one son-in-law, and two fabulous grandchildren. Balancing a loving family with an ambitious and rewarding career is not an easy thing to do, and I think I’m very blessed to have done just that.

What’s been your most humbling experience?

Throughout my career, whether for Disney, NAVTEQ, or Conservation International, where I sit on the board of directors, I’ve traveled the world extensively. I am so completely humbled when I see the vast needs of people around the world, and I compare that with the enormous abundance and opportunity we have in our country.

What do you wish you had known at the start of your career?

Two things. One thing is how quickly it passes. I feel like I just graduated from the GSB and yet my career is slowly drawing to a close. The second has to do with the many incredible people I have met and worked with over my career. If I were starting my career over, I would want somebody to get this thought into my head—“You’re going to have an enormous opportunity to meet incredibly talented and wonderful people, so savor those experiences, learn as much as you can, and invest in efforts to maintain those relationships because it is probably one of the most valuable and enriching things you can do.” I would do a better job of this if I were starting over.

What GSB course — or faculty member — still affects the way you do business?

I enjoyed cost accounting with [Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Accounting] Sidney Davidson and other accounting courses because they made me fluent in and comfortable with the language of business. I also loved marketing with [Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management] Harry Davis, which was my introduction to the non-financial aspects of running a business that I’ve grown to love the most.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Prioritizing what to do next, because time is the most precious resource. At NAVTEQ, when I look at what we can do and the opportunities in front of us, it’s a question of allocating our time, energy, and resources most effectively. It comes down to making some very tough calls on prioritizing what to do when, because you simply can’t do it all.

What’s the best part of your job?

Having the opportunity to lead a diverse global organization. I love the subject of leadership and I believe in leadership excellence—which I define not from a CEO perspective, but from the perspective that every one of us has the opportunity to encourage everyone around us to excel in everything they do, whether it’s your boss, your colleagues, or your subordinates. I love having the opportunity to lead a great organization.

If you had to choose another line of work, what would it be?

I would like to be the piano player for either John Mayer or the Doobie Brothers. I’m a jazz pianist and I think that would be more fun than anything else I could imagine.  Unfortunately, they haven’t called!—P.H.

Last Updated 5/14/09