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Walter Bettinger, CEO, Charles Schwab – Dottie Story

By March 9, 2016August 10th, 2020No Comments
picture of walter bettinger, ceo of charles schwab, telling his college days story of dottie

Recently I read a great interview in the New York Times, You’ve Got to Open Up to Move Up. The NYT interviewed Walter Bettinger II, President and Chief Executive Officer, Charles Schwab.

Of the many questions, Walter Bettinger answered, this is my favorite. The interviewer, Adam Bryant, asked him, “What about lessons you learned in college?” Bettinger shares a powerful story of relationships and respect from his college days. It is a touching, poignant story that carries a lesson he still follows decades later. I titled his Better Tomorrow Message TM, “Get to Know Dottie.”

“Get to Know Dottie” – A Story from Walter Bettinger

A business strategy course in my senior year stands out. I had maintained a 4.0 average all the way through, and I wanted to graduate with a perfect average. It came down to the final exam, and I had spent many hours studying and memorizing formulas to do calculations for the case studies.

The teacher handed out the final exam, and it was on one piece of paper, which really surprised me because I figured it would be longer than that. Once everyone had their paper, he said, “Go ahead and turn it over.” Both sides were blank.

And the professor said, “I’ve taught you everything I can teach you about business in the last 10 weeks, but the most important message, the most important question, is this: What’s the name of the lady who cleans this building?”

And that had a powerful impact. It was the only test I ever failed, and I got the B I deserved. Her name was Dottie, and I didn’t know Dottie. I’d seen her, but I’d never taken the time to ask her name. I’ve tried to know every Dottie I’ve worked with ever since.

It was just a great reminder of what really matters in life, and that you should never lose sight of people who do the real work.

Walter Bettinger II
President and Chief Executive Officer, Charles Schwab
You’ve Got to Open Up to Move Up
Interview in New York Times

Photography Source:  Charles Schwab site
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Photography Source: Charles Schwab website
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Ira Koretsky

About Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in communication, especially business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after storytelling coach, global speaker, trainer, consultant, communication coach, and public speaking coach.