You’ve Got to Care About People

Beth Mooney is the CEO and Chairman of  KeyCorp, a leading US Bank with 14,000 employees, more than two million clients and $94.2 billion in assets.

Right now, she is the first and only female CEO of a top US bank.  She says, “I hope that when I retire that’s a footnote, not a headline.”

She’s paid her dues, moving nine times in 16 years.  She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas in 1977.  The only job she could get was as a secretary at First City National Bank of Houston.  She said that because she was a woman, the main interview question she got was, “How fast can you type?”

But she turned that into an advantage when she got her chance to become a commercial lender.  “I learned that it’s wonderful think when others underestimate you.  I landed some very big deals.  People were shocked.”

Here are her three best pieces of life and career success advice…

  • Learn to wear your ambition well.
  • When you aspire to become a CEO, it’s a slippery slope — not everyone will get on your side.
  • Care about people.  That’s the balance to ambition.  You have to be values based.

I really like what Ms. Mooney has to say about balancing ambition with caring about people.  Ambitious people are often stereotyped as being ruthless — climbing over people to get what they want.  In my experience, this type of behavior sometimes works in the short term, but never in the long run.  Truly successful people know the value of treating other people with the respect and dignity they deserve as fellow human beings.

Tweet 121 in my career advice book, Success Tweets, says “Get genuinely interested in others. Help bring out the best in everyone you know.  Others will gravitate to you.”

You can’t become a life and career success all on your own. You need to build strong, mutually beneficial relationships with other people. It’s easier to create strong relationships when you bond with others. My friend Judith Glaser calls bonding a “vital instinct” of all human beings. Bonding is based on trust. Build relationships by being a person worthy of others’ trust. Becoming genuinely interested in others is the first step in the trust building process.  Trusting relationships will help you get where you want to go.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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