How do you set about earning the high esteem and honor of colleagues and acquaintances, including the president of the Church?
If you follow the Rodney H. Brady example, you set lofty goals early in life. Then you carefully execute those plans, along the way making marked contributions to society, business, family and Church, all the while focusing every day on being a little better in some respect than you were the day before.
That was the clear message at an April 12 luncheon where Brother Brady became the 17th inductee into the David Eccles School of Business Hall of Fame at the University of Utah.
He is president and chief executive officer of Deseret Management Corp., the corporate umbrella for the Church's commercial holdings such as the Deseret News, Bonneville International Corp. and Zion's Securities. He is also an alumnus and supporter of the university and its business school.
President Gordon B. Hinckley was one of three speakers giving tributes to Brother Brady, the other two being Don Gale, former editorial board spokesman for KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, and Spence Eccles, chairman of Wells Fargo Intermountain Banking Region. Jack W. Brittain, business school dean, conducted the presentation.
Addressing a gathering of business, civic and Church leaders, President Hinckley spoke of Brother Brady's early life and outlined his accomplishments.
"At Jordan High [in Sandy, Utah] . . . he was fortunate enough to have a teacher named Phil Goldbranson," the Church president related. "One day, Mr. Goldbranson put his hand on Rod's shoulder and said, 'You can accomplish anything you wish.' He told him he would have to set some goals and then work toward them. He told Rod that if he would thoughtfully write down what he hoped to accomplish in life and then work toward those goals he would realize them."
It would require keen vision, hard work and self-discipline, but the end result was a doctorate in business from Harvard and marriage to a wonderful companion, his wife Mitzi, who has been "the star of his life and is the mother of his three children," President Hinckley said.
The list of goals included public service, he noted, adding that it has come to pass in many ways, including being a captain in the U.S. Air Force, serving on various civic and governmental boards and receiving Scouting's highest honors, the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope and the Silver Buffalo.
A mission to England and service as a bishop and stake president in Los Angeles, Calif., mark his Church service, President Hinckley said.
"He determined he wanted to be a college president. From 1978 to 1985, he presided over Weber State [College, now Weber State University].
Brother Brady's business achievements, President Hinckley said, included vice president of Management Systems Corp. in Cambridge, Mass., member of the executive committee of the aircraft division of Hughes Tool Co. in Los Angeles and a sub-cabinet post in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
President Hinckley became acquainted with him when he was at Weber State and tabbed him to be president and CEO of Bonneville International, of which President Hinckley was then chairman.
"Although broadcasting was foreign to him, it was only a short time before he had his arms around the entire nationwide operation," he said. "He gathered around him a corps of able workers. He taught them, trained them, set goals for them and led them to high achievement."
Later came service on the governing bodies of a number of businesses. "I very seriously doubt that there is anyone else in this city or state who has served on so many boards, committees and councils, all designed to serve the public good," President Hinckley said, adding that the high school list of goals "became more than a wish list; for him it became a mandate; that mandate has been followed."
With self-deprecating humor, Brother Brady began his response saying, "The funeral cortege will proceed down Federal Heights Drive," and said he felt both "very honored and very embarrassed."
As if to be sure those at the luncheon would leave edified, he brought copies of his 15-point list under the heading "What I Have Learned about Professional and Personal Life During Four Decades in Business, Government, Education and Community Service."
He touched on a few of the points, including:
- "A goal-oriented life is far more likely to lead to success than is a life that leaves success to chance."
- "An organized approach to self-improvement, and the wise organization and prioritization of one's time and tasks can add many equivalent years to one's life span."
- "People . . . can greatly enhance their chances for future happiness and success. . . if they, at a time when careful and rational deliberation is possible, will commit themselves to a set of ethical and moral values that they can rely upon as they are faced with life's major decisions."
- "The greatest happiness and the greatest sadness that most people experience in life are directly traceable to how effective they become in their roles as children, husbands, wives and parents."
- "It has been demonstrated by many impressive examples that both individuals and organizations can do well while also doing good."
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