On Jan. 14, 2015, a group of students gathered to learn about Goodwill Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and former Miami Herald publisher and president David Landsberg. Landsberg, a 1980 Gables graduate, was excited to be back at Gables to speak to students about navigating not only the business world, but also life.
“[Being a Cavalier] runs deep,” Landsberg said.
Landsberg went on to speak about the importance of his time at Gables and the high quality of his education not only at Gables, but also at his middle schools, George Washington Carver and Ponce De Leon. After high school, he graduated from the University of Florida (UF). However, a major in finance was not always his ambition and while he cautioned students to have a plan, he emphasized the importance of taking risks in the ladder to success.
“[In high school,] I really loved science… anatomy… biology… [and when I] went to college, I was thinking pre-med… [but when I got to the] second and third term with inorganic chemistry and physics, [I realized] I’m not into it,” Landsberg said.
From UF, Landsberg went directly into a career at the Miami Herald. He said his decision to choose the job lied in the fact that the Herald had a young controller, only 27 years old, at the time. The thought that someone without seniority could elevate to such a high position enticed him and ultimately led him to the job. At the Herald, where Landsberg worked for 30 years, he worked his way up to the role of president and publisher. However, this was not an easy task. Landsberg worked his way from position to position over the years, acquiring new skills along the way. He told students a couple of pieces of advice that should always be at the forefront of your decision making.
“Stay focused and work hard and be curious and also serve your community along the way,” Landsberg said.
Landsberg explained how each mindset guided him through his career path and life. Landsberg worked hard at the Herald and also volunteered for 18 years at Goodwill. Landsberg emphasized the importance of a service mentality and talks about the ‘fate’ that lead him to shift his career to the CEO of Goodwill. After such a long career at the Herald, Landsberg was ready for something new. Coincidently, Goodwill’s former CEO of 34 years happened to be stepping down. Landsberg took the risk and left the Herald for the position which many people on the board he volunteered on suggested would be a perfect fit for him, as it combined the worlds of service and finance. He believes it was thanks to his service mentality that he was lead to his new position as CEO.
“Every interaction is potentially increasing [your] network,” Landsberg said.
However, service is much more to Landsberg than networking. His dedication to service goes back to his high school days in Key Club and continued throughout his life. He has found a perfect career in which he is able to help the thousands of disabled citizens in Miami-Dade and Broward County who are in need of work. Many students were curious as to how he found his way to a job that he loves.
“Search for happiness and try to put yourself in the path of happiness,” Landsberg said.
He warned to not get stuck on a pathway. Risks are important, as is finding a job you can learn to like. All this talk of risks and ventures into the daunting adult world can be overwhelming. Landsberg put it this way:
“Don’t look at the puzzle. Know what’s ahead; [but] focus on the now. Now is when things happen.”
Some students even asked Landsberg questions, worried about the confidence it took to navigate such a lofty path to success.
“Accumulate all victories and make them build confidence,” Landsberg said.
At the end of the chat, students, whether looking forward to a life in finance and business or not, left with invaluable life advice from David Landsberg.