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George Grody

I'm a 1981 Duke grad originally from West Hartford Ct. After graduating I went to work for Procter & Gamble. They were my lowest $$ offer but I loved the people and the values of the company. I spent 26 years with them before retiring. In those 26 years I had 20 different assignments and 12 moves, lived overseas for 11 years, and spent 5 years managing a global business. When I retired in 2007, I moved to Durham to teach business to Duke undergrads. Right now I'm a teacher, coach, mentor, and friend whose obsessed with adding value to every person and organization I touch.

L's Taken


"Thank you for applying but..."

  • Numerous colleges and jobs


Thing I thought I'd finish but never did

  • Marriage


Everyday L's of life

On the Bright Side


Memories I made when I wasn't working/studying

  • So many friends across the world

  • Protesting foreign governments I disagreed with despite being detained and tear-gassed

  • Traveling (though much of it was tied in to work)


Things I've learned that will still matter in 10 years

  • Very few things are important, try not to give a shit about everything else

  • You can get as much, if not more, joy out of helping people achieve things they might not have without your help

  • Live your life based on your values

  • Don't be boring or mediocre

  • Love your own company

  • Dogs are preferable to people.


TV shows, movies, and books I've enjoyed

  • Moonlighting 

  • House 

  • Blue Bloods 

  • Sound of Music 

  • Mary Poppins 

  • Patton 

  • Big Jake 

  • Godfather 

  • Any books by F Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain, John D McDonald, Robert Parker, Clive Cussler, or William F Buckley


Things I'm proud of that you won't see on my resume

  • All the places I've been and the friends I've made around the world

  • The people/students I've helped

  • I'm "centered"


Unconventional skills

  • Being able to be "at home" wherever I lived

  • Loving the pain of being uncomfortable

  • People feel comfortable sharing things with me

  • I can moderate my moods quickly

  • I can control my actions in my dreams


Quirks that make me who I am

  • Immaturity

  • Sarcasm

  • Caring

  • Abruptness

  • Humor

  • Contrarian

  • Values-based


Small joy in my life

  • Sitting in my backyard in front of my pond with waterfalls, smoking a Fuente cigar with a class of Port. Listening to music, with my dogs at my feet and my koi swimming around. That's a 1-2 hour vacation depending on the length and ring size of the cigar!


Obstacles I have overcome

  • Didn't get into Duke for regular admission and started in the Spring semester

  • Had a kidney removed while I was at Duke and missed a semester

  • Missed a lot of goals at P&G but still got promoted a bunch of times

  • Had a great divorce

  • Retired early (at 48) to teach when it would have made more financial sense to keep working for another 7 years

  • Had a heart attack on campus after class and had no pulse for 8 minutes (chance of survival at that point is 0%) but was resuscitated by Duke EMS students and have had no issues

  • Got put on the kidney transplant list was told it would take 7 years to get a kidney and I'd only last about 5 years on dialysis - got a kidney in 7 months and instead of a 3 month recovery it took 3 weeks and I started teaching classes on time in the Fall of '17 (my sister donated her kidney to someone whose donor donated to me)

  • Probably being the least educated person teaching at Duke - I only have my Duke BS though I earned an RLD (Real Life Doctorate) degree at Procter & Gamble.


Things I've done that pushed me out of my comfort zone

  • Constantly changing assignments and locations, especially overseas where I didn't know the culture, the language, the way business was done, or the people I'd be working with or who would be working for me. 

  • Coming back to teach at Duke and having to develop a syllabus and manage classes.


Failures that seemed like the end of the world back then but don't matter in hindsight

  • I've never failed at anything. I reject the word. It's original meaning has been tainted with so many negative connotations that failure has almost come to mean fatal. I've screwed up, messed up, fouled up, fucked up, made a ton of mistakes and bad decisions, come up short of goals, done the wrong thing, said the wrong thing all more than I can specifically recall. Yet here I am, still alive, having fun, helping people, living the dream. So nope, never failed.


Leaps of Faith

  • Coming to Duke, though I got into other schools, even though they didn't accept me for first semester admission

  • Took the job with P&G even though it was my lowest offer

  • Accepted an overseas assignment with P&G when everyone told me it was a mistake to leave the headquarters then kept on taking overseas assignments when my bosses said they were risky and could hamper my career growth

  • Turning down a promotion because I wouldn't like the work in the new assignment even though it would have meant a better title and more money

  • Retiring at 48 to come back to Duke to teach - a job I didn't exactly know how to do for a lot less money than I had previously made.


Life events that have made me stronger

  • All those obstacles and leaps of faith above

  • Doing what people told me not to do and having those decisions be some of the best I've made in my life

  • Being vulnerable with people


Piece of advice I have for Duke students

  • Figure out your personal brand - your purpose, values, and principles - and live it despite the pressures from the world around you.

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