FAST COMPANY: What quote, lyric or poem inspires you?
GARY BURNISON: What lyrics inspire me? Well I'm going to go old school. I've seen Jersey Boys like 10 times in different cities. And there's a line in there about who loves you, and it's that it's hard to make believe you're happy when you're gray, and that's what leadership is about. You are a mirror for the entire organization, and whatever mood you're in, that's the mood you're going to reflect to the company. So there is no gray day for a leader. You are in the business of making people believe and that's what you have to do, is to empower, inspire, and show that purpose.
What quote, lyric or poem inspires you?
Gary D. Burnison is Chief Executive Officer of Korn/Ferry International, the worldwide leader in executive recruitment and a premier provider of talent management solutions, assisting global organizations to achieve extraordinary outcomes through talent. Korn/Ferry employs more than 2,500 people in 40 countries. He is also a member of the Firm’s Board of Directors.
Under his strategy, Mr. Burnison spearheads the Firm’s transformation as a diversified human capital organization. He brings hands-on experience to his current position, having served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Korn/Ferry from 2003-2007. Mr. Burnison joined Korn/Ferry as Chief Financial Officer in 2002.
Prior to Korn/Ferry, he was principal and chief financial officer of Guidance Solutions, a privately held consulting firm developing and supporting technology solutions, from 1999 to 2001.
Before Guidance Solutions, Mr. Burnison served as a senior executive officer and director of Jefferies & Company, Inc., the principal operating subsidiary of Jeffries Group, Inc., where he worked from 1995 to 1999. Earlier, he served as partner at KPMG Peat Marwick from 1984 to 1995.
In 2011, Mr. Burnison published The New York Times bestseller, No Fear of Failure: Real Stories of How Leaders Deal with Risk and Change – a book offering insightful conversations with some of the world’s top leaders in business, politics, education, and philanthropy. He is also a regular contributor to CNBC, CNN, Fox Business and other international news outlets.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California.