One of the most popular Stanford Graduate School of Business events is the Military Service Appreciation Dinner. This annual event began in 2009 and its global participants – made up of current students and alumni – take great pride in having the opportunity to showcase military customs and traditions.
This year’s celebration was sponsored by the Veterans Club, Stanford GSB’s association of military veterans. The club serves as a resource for members to foster professional and personal development while encouraging leadership, both within Stanford GSB and in the greater business community. The club currently has 40 veterans (including 5 MSx students) from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Air Force, Israel Defense Force, and Republic of Korea Army among its membership. Other club members include representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense.
For many alumni veterans, especially those from the 1960s and 1970s, this event is a great opportunity to return to campus after many years and reconnect with the Stanford community.
TRX founder and CEO Randy Hetrick’s fitness suspension trainer was created in Stanford GSB class Formation of New Ventures. Hetrick, a former Navy SEAL, served as the evening’s keynote speaker, with a presentation titled “Business Lessons I Learned as a Frogman,” which included a humorous take on the importance of humility, purpose, and service in both military and business experiences. Stanford GSB alumnus Hetrick is one of many veterans-turned-entrepreneurs. According to the Small Business Association, nearly 1 in 10 of all American businesses are owned by veterans. Many of those veterans hire other vets. True to this tradition, veterans make up 20 percent of the workforce at TRX.
Garth Saloner, the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean of Stanford GSB, made reference during his remarks to the recent fatality of a Navy SEAL in an ISIL attack in Northern Iraq:
“It is fitting that on this night we pause and recognize that peace and security isn’t a given. It is a privilege that we enjoy because of the sacrifices made by people like our veteran students, alumni, and faculty … And because of the ultimate sacrifices made by service men and women across the globe, I am pleased to be here to share in honoring you all as vital members of the Stanford GSB community. I thank you for your leadership as veterans, and for the work you have done and continue to do on behalf of Stanford GSB.”
Stanford GSB is honored to award Timothy P. Sullivan, MBA ’89, this year’s Service and Leadership Award for his numerous contributions to Stanford GSB. Tim has 25 years of private equity experience and currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Kaufman Hall, Option Care, Patterson Medical, and VWR International, Inc. He also serves on the Boards of Trustees of Northwestern University, Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, United States Naval Academy Foundation, Stanford GSB Advisory Council and Loyola Academy. He also serves on the Investment Committees of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School.
In accepting the award, Tim spoke about his philosophy to serve: “By my way of thinking, one’s professional career is similar to a three-act play. Act I consists of our initial foray into a professional endeavor. In Act II we clarify our professional direction and aim to achieve success. And in Act III as the end of our life comes closer than the beginning, we often look to move from success to significance. When Randy [Hetrick] and I spoke before this dinner, he asked a great question, ‘What’s a win for this evening?’ Isn’t that typical of a SEAL? Always competing. As I reflected on this question I decided that a win for this dinner, if you tolerate me preaching for a moment, comes as a challenge to all you veterans in the room who will soon be graduating from Stanford GSB. And it’s simply this: Don’t wait for your Act III to get back to serving. Find time in your Act II.”