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Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Elizabeth Cutler, SoulCycle

Cathie Black, Hearst

Edward Nardoza, WWD E-I-C

Alex Ljung, Soundcloud

Patrick Doyle, Dominos CEO

David Pecker, American Media

Nobu

Linda Sawyer, Deutsch Inc

Charlotte Ronson

Alex Wilcox, Jetsuite

Matthew Hiltzik

Jaimes Leggett, MC Saatchi

Achilli Matteo Egomnia Founder/CEO
Ansel Dominque Dominique Ansel Bakery Owner
Antebi Marcus JuicePress Founder
Avino Mariella Palazzo Avino Owner/CEO
Barker John Barker/DZP Founder/President
Bassett Jennifer Jennifer Bassett Events Owner
Bastianich Lidia Felidia, Eataly, Del Posto Owner
Belfort Jordan Straight Line Systems Founder
Berman Sarah The Berman Group Founder/President
Black Cathie Hearst Magazines Former Chairman
Blumenstein Penny JDC President

Borries/Stefano Philippe/Justin Refinery29 CEO/Founders
Bowen Arabella Fodors Editor-in0-Chief

Bragman Howard 15 Minutes PR Founder/Chairman
Brodsky Howard David Barton CEO
Burke David David Burke Group Owner
Carter Will Burner App/AhHoc Labs Co-Founder
Cassidy Sean DKC President
Chapur Rafael Hard Rock Inclusive Resorts COO
Chevanne Antione Groupe Floriat CEO
Chong Alexandra LuLu Founder/CEO
Church Jeff SUJA Juice Founder
Cuomo Cristina Modern Luxury EIC
Cutler Elizabeth SoulCyle Co-Founder
Dadich Scott WIRED EIC
Darabi Soraya Zady Co-Founder
Davis Peter Scene Magazine EIC
Desseigne Dominque Groupe Lucien Barriere CEO
Doyle Patrick Domino's President/CEO
Ducasse Alain Alain Duccase Restaurants Owner
Dufresne David Bandzoogle CEO
Evans Annie Beautified App Co-Founder
Feeley Tom Sole Hotels Owner
Ferdman Michael Firstborn Founder
Foster Stuart Luxury Brands, Hilton VP of Marketing
Freid Brandon Sanctuary Hotel President
Georges Elie Hotel San Regis President/Owner
Gillis Neil Round Hill Music President
Godfrey Jay Jay Godfrey Founder
Goldstein Tara Brookfield VP of Marketing
Gomes Philma Cape Grace Hotel DOSM
Guest Cornelia Cornelia Guest Cookies Owner
Harrison Phil Perkins+Will CEO
Hendry Ricky Isaora Founder
Hiltzik Matthew Hiltzik Strategies President/CEO
Hofstetter Sarah 360i CEO
Hostettler Daniel Ocean House Management President
Humm Daniel Eleven Madison Park Owner
Huvane Stephen Slate PR Partner
Ivan Sir Peaceman Foundation Founder
Jackson Lisa LJ Cross Jewelry Founder/CEO

James Paul Starwood Luxury Collection Global Leader
Javian Michelle Harboring Hearts CEO/Co-Founder
Kaplow Liz Kaplow Communications Founder/CEO
Karan Donna DKNY Founder
Karlitz Herb Karlitz & Company Founder
Katz Allen NY Distilling Company Fonder
Kenner Nick Just Salad Founder
Kepmner Michael MWW Founder/President
Kessler Richard The Kessler Collection Chairman/CEO
Kliegerman Stephen Halstead President
Kolodny Shawn VIP Room Managing Director
Kunkel John 50 Eggs, Yardbird CEO/Founder
Labrecque Paul Paul Labrecque Owner
LaForce James LaForce + Stevens Founder/CEO
Le Calvez Didier Le Bristol Paris CEO
Lee Stacy Brazilian Court Hotel DOSM
Leggett Jaimes M&C Saatchi Australia CEO
Lekach David Dream Water Founder/CEO
Leyland Chelsea Chelsea Leyland Owner/Producer
Ljunberg Jenny C/O Hotels, Maidstone Owner
Ljung Alex SoundCloud Founder
Lo Anita Annisa Owner
Maccioni Mario Maccioni Group Partner
Malin/Goetz Matthew/Andrew Malin + Goetz Founders
Mamone Tony Livingly Media Founder/CEO
Martin Amy Jo Digital Royalty CEO/Founder
Matsuhisa Nobu Nobu Restaurants Owner
Mazar Mike Tenthwave Partner
Morimoto Iron Chef Morimoto Owner
Moscot Zack MOSCOT Creative Director
Murphy Sean Jetsetter EIC
Murphy Rhona The Daily Beast CEO
Musolino Sheila Ronald McDonald Chairty VP/COO
Nardoza Edward WWD EIC
Novogrod Nancy Travel + Leisure EIC
Olay Pablo PaddilaCRT VP
Osher Shaun CORE Founder/CEO

Pauli Dimitri Sant Ambroeus Owner
Pechar Edward McCormick/360 Vodka Chairman
Pecker David American Media Chairman/CEO
Perkins Lynn UrbanSitter Founder/CEO

Preysman Michael Everlane Founder/CEO

Rabin David Skylark, Lambs Club Owner
Reckford Jonathan Habitat for Humanity CEO
Rondeau Chris Planet Fitness CEO

Ronson Charlotte Charlotte Ronson Owner
Rotten Lilian Swissotel VP
Rousseau Linda Singita Group DOSM
Russell Charles Stribling & Associates DOSM

Sawyer Linda Deutsch CEO
Schoenberg Bruce Oasis Spa Owner
Senbahar Izak The Mark Hotel Owner
Siegel Alan Siegelvision CEO
Silvstedt Victoria Very Victoria Silvstedt Owner
Spencer Miles Mojiva/TrustCloud Founder
Spindel Janice Serious Matchmaking Owner
Steinberg Leonard Urban Compass President
Steinberg Richard Warburg Realty Managing Director
Tahlin Jonas Absolut Elyx CEO
Tanaka Patrice PaddilaCRT Founder
Tarkoff Rob Lithium Tech CEO
Tetrick Joshua Hampton Creek CEO/Founder
Thomson Amy ATM Artists President
Torossian Ron 5W PR Founder/President
Van der Meer Antonia Coastal Living EIC
Verschleiser Eli American Jewish Congress Treasurer
Vongerichten Jean-Georges Jean Georges Restaurants Owner
Wagner James Emory University President
Wales Jimmy Wikipedia Founder
Westergren Tim Pandora Founder
White Alex Next Big Sound Co-Founder
Wiedlin Andy BuzzFeed CRO
Wilcox Alex JetSuite CEO
Winter Alexandre Placemeter CEO/Founder
Wolffer Marc Wolffer Estate Vineyard Owner
Wunderman Lester Wunderman Chairman/Founder
Zecher Linda Houghton Mifflin Harcourt President/CEO

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Wednesday
Nov262014

Frank Britt, CEO of Penn Foster

Frank Britt is the CEO of Penn Foster, a leading career-focused online and hybrid education institution that annually supports over 100,000 active students and 1,000 institutions nationwide. His mission is to create a national movement to better connect education, career pathways and job creation, and to promote debt-free and affordable learning. By utilizing the power of practical education, career training and hands-on mentoring, he has helped improve the lives of everyone from underprivileged children and families, to front-line workers and recent college graduates. His efforts recognize the challenges faced by the 7,000 people that regrettably drop out of high school each day, the 4 million middle-skilled workers seeking employment, 50-70 year olds transitioning careers, and the thousands of veterans focused on establishing new career pathways.

How did you get into the education industry?

In my younger years, I didn’t place a high priority on education. Towards the end of my high school journey, I realized that education needed to serve as the catalyst for my future. I became purposeful in school, and I ended up at Syracuse University against the odds, graduated successfully, and began a career in management consulting. I set out with the goal of becoming a General Manager and it became clear that I could grow beyond that role to running a full enterprise. For me the best place to do that would be in the education sector, as education changed my life trajectory.

Tell us about Penn Foster. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the institution?

Our company was founded in 1890 as America’s first correspondence school with an aim of democratizing access to career-focused education and training. This original idea is even more relevant today given the issues of skills shortages and educational inequity particularly for the at-risk population. We believe talent is equally distributed by zip code, opportunity is not. Our institution seeks to address these issues and sits at the epicenter of the initiative to drive greater access to affordable, debt-free and flexible education.

What strategic partnerships have you implemented that have contributed to Penn Foster’s success?

We recently announced a partnership with America’s Promise, an organization that is dedicated to helping Americans, thinkers and organizations. Its definition of Opportunity Youth is people who are unemployed and don’t have a high school degree. I think America’s Promise and organizations like these are important catalysts for our future. We can play an important role in that ecosystem, and we hope to build on our role as partners to non-profits.

What industry trends are you noticing, and how do you capitalize on them?

The redistribution of opportunity is this country’s leading challenge as there is a stall in upward mobility at every stage of our education pipeline. We need to be far better at redistributing opportunity and giving everyone equal access to participate in the future.  What should we do about the fact that 50 percent of urban youth won't graduate from high school? Or, the fact that just 8 percent of kids growing up in the bottom 25 percent of household incomes will get a college degree? Or, jobs created through the second quarter of 2014, paid on average lower than the average wage of jobs from 2007, while the top 20 percent of income households captured 61 percent of total wage gains.  Education is primary path to leveling the playing field of opportunity and providing an on-ramp for lower income people who are increasingly being locked out of the future. As a provider of affordable, accessible education, we will work with employers who must play a more active role at the high school level in order to educate their future and current employees.

Life motto?

What you leave behind is not engraved in mountains but woven into the lives of others. I’d like to believe that many people that have worked with me would say as a result they are better versions of themselves, and their trajectory and career ambitions have been lifted.  In the end, wealth is a zero sum game, but transferring knowledge and mentoring is a multiplier.

Penn Foster’s motto?

Penn Foster’s motto is to strive to be a student achievement champion. We have built a culture and solution that directly addresses the underlying cause of attrition. Our team and student community become advocates for learners that often have lacked the social lattice that promotes success. We are in the confidence-building business as the cornerstone of enabling better academic outcomes and higher employability.

Your greatest success as CEO of Penn Foster? Most difficult moment—how did you overcome and what did you learn?

Transforming a culture was one of my biggest challenges, but in the end, is one of our greatest successes at Penn Foster. I believe that the source of our competitive advantage is culture. We help people achieve and believe, and we earnestly embrace that that is what we’re supposed to do. We say “we just changed another life” not “we have another enrollment.”  When you can embed that mindset into the fabric of a high performance organization, you can transform aspects of an industry – even the $1.3 trillion US education sector.

Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?

CEO’s are made, not born. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary entrepreneurs is perseverance and mindset. All early stage companies are trying to create a product or a service to meet a real or unarticulated need. It’s pretty hard to hit that bull’s-eye the first time, and there is a lot of competition and crosswinds. The successful leaders are the ones who persevere, who don’t get it right the first time, but stick with it until they have the right product/market “fit”

How do you motivate your employees?

What we’ve tried to do is generally not the mission of a traditional company. We’re more similar to a nonprofit—we’re trying to embed purpose in all of what we do and create a national movement to empower the 73 million middle class adults with even stronger skills, greater confidence, and better insights on alternative career pathways.

One food left on earth, what would you choose?

I would dig into a pecan pie for both the great taste and because I think it is an underappreciated part of the dessert world.  While it’s an iconic item across major holidays, it often takes a backseat among leading pastry chefs.

What literature is on your bed stand?

I’m a bit of an American history guy; I usually have several American history books on the side of my bed at any given time. For example, at home right now is The Fall of the House of Dixie, which is about the Civil War and the revolution in the South. Bunker Hill, which is about a revolution that started in Boston and spread, and about a battle that changed the city and the country. I think that it’s very helpful to understand how leaders and the rank-and-file in their time made choices. There are many commonalities between how leaders in government, military and business make their decisions, albeit different context - but they all share the common narrative of people who took it upon themselves to change the world.

Role model—business and personal?

For me, this has changed with age. These days I’m attracted to role models who are humble and wise as opposed to rich and powerful. In the formative stages of life, my values were influenced by a wise old man who became a surrogate grandfather and in college by a mentor that challenged me to raise my expectations of the possible. These men inculcated principles into my worldview that have stuck with me through adulthood. In both cases their most important lesson was to embrace a mission of living life to help empower other people.

Current passion?

I play ice hockey. It’s one of the places in my life where I am in the bottom 10-20 percent. That sense of personal exposure and uncertainty is a helpful reminder to me of what it feels like to lack control and all the key skills, and it helps keep me grounded and hopefully humble.

Most interesting headline you’ve read this week?

Thomas Friedman wrote a recent article called “The World Is Fast,” in which he outlines three “climate changes” currently happening: digital, ecological and geo-economic. At Penn Foster we are a part of all three of those changes: ecologically, we lower the carbon footprint by training people online. We are digitally powered, and we are part of the geo-economic change as we work towards empowering people to take better charge of their careers.

What’s next for Penn Foster?

Building an equitable human capital pipeline that supports upward mobility and enables more people to participate in the future is the critical challenge facing our country. We’re a 124-year-old company maturing at the exact right moment with the right proposition for employers and students. We aspire to be the leader in creating a movement to improve the lives of the underserved through the power of debt free education.

www.pennfoster.edu/

https://twitter.com/pennfoster

https://twitter.com/frankbritt

https://www.facebook.com/pennfostereducation