learn to swim then...

learn to swim then... - ,LearntoSwim...

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September 11, 2010 Before Making a Big Splash, Learn to Swim This interview with  Richard R. Buery Jr., president and  chief executive of the  Children’s Aid Society,  based in New York,  was conducted and condensed by   Adam Bryant Q.  Do you remember the first time you were somebody’s boss?   A.  When I was in college, I started a summer camp for kids in a housing project in Roxbury, Boston. I was a boss in the  sense that I was in charge, but these weren’t folks whose careers were riding on this. That was really my first  experience being in charge of something.  Q.  Were the people working for you volunteers?   A.  The college students and high school students were working for modest wages for the summer. But I had to hold  them accountable. I had to create a plan. I was responsible for what happened. It was a great experience.  Q.  Talk more about that.   A.  It was a good practice environment, but it felt very natural. I love the idea of getting people excited about an idea,  and that’s really what that was about. Like any other start-up, there was no track record, and I had to convince people  to let me take care of their kids for the summer and had to convince potential employees that this would be a great  way to spend a few months — and many of them were Type A  Harvard  kids, so they wanted to make sure they were  doing good things with their summer.  Q.  What were some other lessons from that experience?  
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A.  One great lesson was that there is nothing that’s not possible. I was a college student who recruited friends. We had  to go raise money. People understood that we were serious and that we had confidence. You have to show that you  have that confidence. Not false bravado — if you have challenges, you let people know what the challenges are — but  you need to show people that you’re serious, you had thought it through and had contingencies in place.  Another big part of it also was just the importance of developing mentors and supporters, which I’ve always done  throughout my career. I never really felt like I was doing anything alone. I always had partners who were just as  invested as I was. I always had mentors who were committed to my success and wanted to see my work follow  through.  Q.  Can you elaborate?   A.  I have been very intentional about recruiting mentors in my careers, and I think a lot of it has to do with the work  that I’ve been doing. I’ve started two other nonprofits; now I’m leading a new one. There are lots of great things about  being the boss. But because I’ve been in charge for most of my career, I’ve always been envious of friends and 
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